So Solid Crew’s Megaman has opened up about why he feels the Metropolitan Police’s 696 form is preventing artists (particularly urban artists) from progressing.
Form 696 is a ‘risk assessment’ that requires club promoters to provide the police with information about any events being held in the 21 London boroughs listed, including the names, addresses and phone numbers of the artists and DJs performing and even the type of music being played (although it was announced in 2009 that venues would no longer be asked about music style). These details are said to be important for the police to determine which events attract troublemakers and therefore be able to keep the public safe.
However, there has been a considerable amount of uproar about the fact that form 696 is targeting the type of music that is listened to mostly by black and asian minorities.
So Solid Crew are well aware of form 696 after falling victim to it a decade ago and are still stopped from performing at a number of venues to this day. Megaman shared his views on the subject with Jasmine Dotiwala of The Voice:
If you’ve been affiliated with gangs, then the 696 form will prevent you from performing and moving forwards. That kind of thing leaves many artists disheartened and forces them to return to the negativity they were involved in before… I think they [the police] introduced the form so there’d be a legal way to prevent artists from progressing.
Mega believes the form isn’t allowing artists to do their job:
A lot of corporate [music] companies like Universal, EMI and Warner Bros are signing a lot of these acts; acts that were previously from or have been affiliated with gangs in the past… I’m not sure how lawful it is to prevent artists like that from performing and adhering to their contract.
Although he makes the valid point that football matches are never stopped due to the potential risk of violence, he isn’t completely opposed to the form and doesn’t think ‘the form needs to be abolished totally, but we need to monitor how it’s being used.’
One has to wonder, as Lowkey questioned in The Guardian, does form 696 actually lower violence at musical events? Or does it just highlight subtle racism within the Metropolitan police?