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Idris Elba launches campaign against youth violence with Knives Down

Today British actor, musician and advocate for change Idris Elba continued his campaign against serious youth violence with the launch of powerful new single Knives Down.

Produced by Fraser T Smith and FaNaTiX, rapper DB Maz joins Elba to vocalise frustration and anger towards the government for their inaction on knife crime.

The track artwork features a picture of Ronan Kanda, who was killed in 2022, yards from his home in a case of mistaken identity, as a reminder that the issues highlighted through the track result in real victims.

The release also marks the launch of Elba’s Don’t Stop Your Future campaign, which aims to bring the issue of serious youth violence to its rightful place at the top of the political agenda.

This morning, 8th January, Elba’s team filled Parliament Square with neatly folded final outfits from each victim of 2023, highlighting to the government the lives lost. It marks the launch of the Don’t Stop Your Future campaign.

“I can’t stay silent as more young lives are lost to these brutal and heartless crimes”, Idris said. “As school returns, too many young people will not be joining their classmates and too many grieving families have lost a young person they love in recent years. Young people are our future, their potential deserves to be met, not taken away by violence.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Idris Elba (2nd L) stands with Patrick Green (L) CEO Ben Kinsella Trust, Yemi Hughes (2nd R) and Bishop Mark Nicholson (R) in front of an installation of over 200 bundles of clothing representing the lives lost to Knife crime in the UK as he calls on the Government to take immediate action to prevent serious youth violence at Parliament Square on January 08, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Don’t Stop Your Future)


From the press release:

Don’t Stop Your Future’ works with community grassroots organisations to put an end to knife crime and amplifies the voices of marginalised communities and those most affected. The initiative will offer clear and achievable solutions to the government, with Idris specifically calling for Parliament to:

  • Urgently prioritise the long-awaited ban on zombie knives and machetes, and to crack down on the supply chains which bring them to UK streets.
  • Invest in youth services to tackle the underlying causes of serious youth violence and support young people to achieve the bright future they deserve.
  • Convene a Coalition to End Knife Crime, a cross-party, cross-governmental working group that brings together stakeholders who have a role to play in tackling this issue including relevant Government departments, grassroots organisations, sporting bodies and young people.