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Truth AMW- The First Disabled Rapper To Play Bestival

September 8, 2016

Truth AMW will become the first disabled rapper to perform at Bestival at the weekend.

James Ellis, 25, was born with cerebral palsy and has been given a slot at the annual festival on the Isle of Wight.

“Honestly speaking, I never thought it would happen,” he tells Newsbeat as he rehearses from his house in Nottingham.

He was given the opportunity by the founder of the festival, Rob da Bank, after he saw a video of Ellis.

That came when charity Fixers got involved with James and his passion to perform his music more widely.

“I was born with cerebral palsy,” he says. “It means my limbs are quite stiff and it decreases my mobility.

“I’ve never let anything hold me back in life. I went to university and am now pursuing a career in music.”

He says he doesn’t want to be “boastful” but plans to put on a show “that Bestival won’t forget”.

“My lyrics have to be on point I can’t miss a beat. My flow’s going to have to be on point too.”

He’s performing on the Big Top stage, the festival’s second largest.

It means he will be on the bill at Bestival alongside acts like Major Lazer, Wiz Khalifa and Sean Paul.

He says he has one message for people who will go to watch him perform.

“Look at me and think he’s a rapper. Then if they think ‘oh by the way he’s in a wheelchair’ afterwards, then my job is done.”

James Ellis was brought up on a diet of soul music in America by his mother.

He moved to the UK when he was 12 and says Dizzee Rascal’s Boy in da Corner was a massive influence.

“That album gave me an insight into what London life was like. I thought if he could do that in an album, then maybe I could put across what my life was like through music.”

He says Wretch 32, Akala and Tupac Shakur were all big influences on his life too.

James and his girlfriend Sarah had their child together, Amira, in November 2015.

The pair had their baby despite both having cerebral palsy and concern from doctors.

“I was prepared to do it [have a baby] because I felt as though all a child needs is love.

“That was the one thing I knew for sure I could give, regardless of what anyone said.”

He says one of his biggest influences is his family, especially his mother.

She brought him up as a single mother in the 1990s.

“She is the reason why I have to push and be the best that I can be.”

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