In a bid to drum up more interest in his town, one British gangsta rap fan has launched a campaign to erect a statue of Eazy-E, a member of notorious NWA hip hop group. But his local council says it’s “never heard” of the rapper.
Newhaven resident Guy Stevens’ crusade to have a memorial erected to the “godfather of gangsta rap” began with an appeal to his town council. “Just do it,” he said before suggesting either a statue or plaque could be erected, according to local newspaper the Argus.
Hailing from Compton, California, Eazy-E shot to fame in the early 1990s as the diminutive but dangerous member of gangsta rap outfit NWA, alongside Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Hits included Boyz-n-the-Hood, F*** Tha Police, and Straight Outta Compton. He died in 1995 due to an AIDS-related illness.
A movie about the group was released in 2015 to much fanfare.
Blasting the East Sussex town for having nothing of note and having no interesting landmarks, “except a fort,” to attract outside interest, Stevens laid out his stall for why a memorial to Eazy-E, real name Eric Lynn Wright, would be good for the town.
“I think it would be unique, it would stand out, and would be eccentric,” he said before hailing the genre of gangsta rap as “the greatest music ever anyway.”
“Also he died of AIDS,” Stevens continued, “so on a more personal level it may raise awareness of things like sexual health.”
Despite his impassioned plea, members of the council have remained unconvinced and confused about Stevens’ argument. Deputy Mayor Graham Amy said: “I’ve lived all of my life in Newhaven and I’ve never heard of him, not a clue.”
Expressing his own love of the Beatles, 72-year-old Amy noted he would never request that a statue to them be erected with public money. A dismissive Stevens replied by saying the ‘Fab Four’ “suck.”
Backing up his claim that the people of Newhaven were in support of the idea, Stevens supplied evidence in the form of an online poll he conducted. It gave 60% in favor of a statue to Eazy-E being erected.
However, not all have been convinced. One response said: “He might be a legend but no one I know has heard of him,” before questioning what Eazy-E has ever done for the town to deserve such a memorial.
Another suggested: “If you’re that dedicated then pay for a bench.”
It remains to be seen if Stevens’ controversial campaign will be successful, but it’s not the first time the subject of a statue of a famous foreigner has caused a stir in the town.
In 2013, a bronze statue of Vietnam’s Communist leader Ho Chi Minh was unveiled in Newhaven, provoking some outcry that it glamorized the communist hero. It is said that prior to his stint as a guerrilla icon fighting against Western imperialism, Uncle Ho plied his trade as a pastry chef on board passenger ferries operating between Newhaven and the French port of Dieppe.
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