Afrobeats star Asake paid a tribute to the two people who died as a result of the deadly crowd crush ahead of his show at Brixton Academy in December, 2022 — during his headline show at the O2 Arena last night (August 20).
The tragedy took the lives of 33-year-old mother-of-two and gig attendee Rebecca Ikumelo, and 23 year old security guard Gaby Hutchinson, as well as seriously injuring two other people.
During his first UK performance since the incident, the Nigerian artist welcomed poet Aina More to deliver three minute spoken word piece — with backing performers and Awake dressed in white, holding flowers.
The poem was accompanied by piano music, mixed news coverage of the crush, shots of flowers laid by Brixton Academy and social media videos of the deceased, all of which appeared on screen.
“I know some feel loss and some regret,” a part of the poem read, “We need to hold this moment. I need to hold this moment. They need to hold this moment.”.”
Though many at the concert and those watching via live streaming online commended the act, Rebecca Ikumelo’s sister Rachel, shared a tweet voicing her dissatisfaction with the tribute and the acts of the singer in response to the loss:
“What a sorry excuse of a “tribute” from @asakemusik. My sister lost her life at your show and you haven’t spoken to a single member of my family since. But you can hold another concert in London less than 9 months later and play her videos as a 'tribute'? RIP Rebecca Ikumelo."
At the time of the deaths, Asake posted a statement expressing condolences via Instagram, which revealed that he had spoken to the family. Rachel’s tweets however, suggest that there has been no further contact since this initial message.
Tiffanie Ibe is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Instagram