LumbeRoss – There Are Concentration Camps in Xinjiang [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Art pop rap.

Tell us a few things about your new track

So I was living in China for nearly two years and I returned back to the UK about two months ago. I loved my time there, but I feel a moral duty to speak out against the CCP’s persecution of Turkic minority groups. Because I’m a brown dude with a beard, people in China frequently mistook me for Muslim, which I’m kind of used to, but also sometimes mistook me for Uyghur. For the most part, people were nice, but I occasionally sensed animosity from police, taxi drivers, etc. On one occasion, a taxi driver took me to the police station instead of my home so they could question me, and another time a taxi driver called security on me when I asked to go to The Great Mosque in Xi’an. This was just a tiny glimpse into their suffering.

I wrote this track about a year ago, but I was too scared to release it then. Anonymous sources have previously informed me about cases where their friends have been taken to the concentration camps and tortured, so you can see I was rightfully scared to release it while I lived in China. All funds from this single go towards the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

How important are political statements by music artists? Can music have an impact on politics?

Political statements by artists are very important, as with most art. I feel like most young people nowadays, or maybe I’m just speaking about myself, become passionate about social causes because of art. My introduction to politics was probably System of a Down in my teenage years. Since then, I’ve been a vocal critic of the American prison industry, western imperialism and institutionalised racism. I’m not saying that Nas could release a track that would directly change the American constitution, but a song by him could start discussions that would make people more critical. I think that’s why visual art, music and films are heavily censored in China; good art can be a threat to the status quo.

Tell us something that you loved about China and something that you hated during the period of time you lived there.

Loved: the people. The kindness of the people there was unlike anything I’ve seen before. If you look lost or confused, like 4 or 5 people will come over to try and help you out. So different to the UK.
Hated: Privileged expats that came over to avoid political correctness in the west and to be creeps to local women. My city in China was, for whatever reason, filled with holocaust deniers and borderline sex offenders. I think many come over to Asian countries so they can spew their racist bullshit without repercussions and commit sexual assaults without being punished.

Favourite album of the past year?

Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now.

Favorite film ever?

Oof, difficult. Maybe The Handmaiden by Park Chan Wook.

One last thing we should know about you?

I’m in a political hip hop collective called Lowlives Collective! Check our stuff out if you want to get angry.

Thank you!

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