In the crowd at Mustafa’s Gaza and Sudan benefit concert

Artists such as King Krule, FKA twigs and Ramy Youssef performed at the poignant London fundraiser on the UK's election day.

For the Artists for Aid London concert, which took place at the Troxy venue last night, the Sudanese-Canadian poet-musician Mustafa and War Child UK assembled an impressive line-up to raise awareness and funds for the humanitarian crises in Gaza and Sudan.

Amidst a living room-like set of lamps, rugs and a wooden sound system, Mustafa – who was wearing a thobe and a press vest that read POET” – opened the show with speech about the importance of home and hope, before singing his recent single Gaza is Calling. Following performances by Blood Orange, Clairo, King Krule, Daniel Caesar, FKA twigs, Earl Sweatshirt, Ramy Youssef and Yasiin Bey, the concert ended with an appearance from FKA twigs, who performed a touching rendition of her ballad cellophane.

Earlier on the day, many of the attendees had cast their votes for the UK’s general election. THE FACE spent some time in the queue to chat to them about music and politics.

Dara, 14, Sudan

What brings you here?

I really wanted to come out to not only see my favourite artists perform, but also to support other people in Palestine and Sudan. It’s a really important topic for me, because I myself have left the war in Sudan. I experienced it firsthand. So seeing what it was like, it’s just heartbreaking and it’s really tough. But it’s really good to see all of these people coming out to come and support this cause.

Amber, 26, grew up between Toronto, Miami and London

Who are you excited to see tonight?

I’m working tonight. But I’m here and Yasiin Bey and Blood Orange are here, and I’m happy that we’re doing this on a deeply intense, political and controversial day. The energy here tonight is very different. Sometimes there’s a K‑pop gig here, sometimes there’s a corporate gig. I can feel that there’s a shift happening right now. I’m seeing Palestinian flags. I’ve never seen any of these people in this area, but it’s beautiful.

Salwa, 28, East London

Did you vote?

I voted Green. My borough is Barking and Dagenham. If I lived in Islington, North, I’d do Jeremy Corbyn – love a bit of Jezza! But yeah, I went Green because a lot of what they actually stand for aligns with my values, standing on things like Palestine. I don’t believe that the Tories, Labour, or the Liberal Democrats align with the values that Muslim, black or brown communities stand for. I think [the election] puts a really big magnifier on humanity, and who aligns with humanity and who doesn’t. Because Labour is really not doing it.

Aya, 25, Syria

What brings you here tonight?

I’m here to see Blood Orange, Clairo, Daniel Caesar and Ramy Youssef – I’m a massive fan of [Youssef], I’ve seen him twice. It’s really nice to be amongst people that support the same causes as you and who are interested in the same music as you.

Nike, 19, London

Did you vote?

I voted for the Green Party. I studied politics, so I think voting behaviour is really important. I’m currently living in a constituency where there’s a Labour safe seat, and I think it’s really important to show people that you don’t always have to vote tactically. It’s time to start voting for minority parties, especially with Labour’s stance on Gaza. It’s time to show the younger generation that the two parties aren’t the only choice. There is a brighter future.

Zein, 22, Sudan

What do you love about Mustafa?

The way he uses his music to stand for a cause. I feel like we really miss that point of art-making these days. I feel like people are just producing art with no real intention. Music is such a big outlet to me, and so I feel I really connect with Mustafa’s music and the message that he spreads overall. He’s really big back home, because he’s Sudanese.

Rayan, 20, Lebanese (born and raised in London)

Why is tonight important to you?

It’s about fundraising. It’s about communicating an important message. There’s been such little concrete action from any real institution. So this is all for a good cause. It’s important to show up. There are also great artists [performing], and it’s super important for them to use their platform.

Lamisa, 28, West London

What brings you here tonight?

I’m here to see good music for a good cause. I think during this time of hardship for our community and ummah, it’s really important to have spaces where there is respite and we can refill our cups so that we can continue fighting the good fight and supporting our brothers and sisters in Sudan and Gaza.

Numair, 20, East London

What brings you here tonight?

I have friends who are both Palestinian and Sudanese. I have been donating to [these causes] but it was nice to see that there was an event dedicated to them. I was really excited to see the artists as well – Clairo and Daniel Caesar, specifically.

Abdelhakim, 28, Brussels

What brings you here?

I think it’s great that Mustafa managed to gather such amazing artists for a noble cause. This kind of event would never happen back in my home city. In Belgium and in France, there [has been] quite a lot of backlash about people just taking the street to protest against what is happening in Palestine. Coming [to London] and seeing that this is happening, it’s just amazing.

Arora, 22, Tylan, 22, London

Did you vote?

[Tylan, right]:
I voted for my local Green MP. I think it was just really important for me, especially as a Black trans person living in this climate. I think really voting from the heart, and how I really feel morally, overpowers just getting the Tories out. So I felt in my right conscience. I liked some of the Green policies. I like their stance on the genocide in Gaza. And I also like their stance on climate change and trans policies.

[Arora, left]: I voted for Jeremy Corbyn, he’s my local MP in Islington North. Honestly, I felt super proud and super blessed! It was so great to see the community out as well. Everyone was active, everyone was out. It was really, really amazing. I cried in the days before [the election] because Jeremy Corbyn is so influential it was just so good.

Junaid, 21, Singapore

What do you respect about Mustafa?

I’m still quite new to his music. this [event] actually got me into him. His new songs like Gaza is Calling and Iman revolve around what’s going on. [I respect] how vocal he is about his values. He brings Muslim values all over the world, to people who might not be Muslim.

Toby, 24, Brighton, and Gloria, 20, London

Did you vote?

Gloria [right]:
I can’t vote, because I’m not a citizen here. But I wish I could. I probably [would have voted] either Labour or Green.

Toby [left]: I was hesitant to vote because I don’t really want a horse in the race. I’m completely bored of even listening about politics at this point, when Labour seems as infuriating to me as the Conservative Party. I’ve felt pretty disillusioned since they destroyed Corbyn. But I voted Green because they seem to have an ideal that I would want, even if it’s probably not likely to happen.

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