A BASINGSTOKE artist commissioned to produce a short film on knife crime wants to humanise victims to stop stabbings becoming "normalised".

In the wake of a double knife attack in South Ham last month (April 26), musician Marcus Balogun said he fears the public will start to find themselves desensitised.

"Knife crime is really turning into an epidemic, I worry that when it becomes a numbers game it strips the victims of their identities. We need to remember that people are losing their lives on the streets. That's someone's son, someone's brother, someone's friend," he told The Gazette.

The 28-year-old mechanical engineer and entrepeneur, of Abbey Road in Popley, is hoping his film, released this week, will spark conversations about how victims are treated.

“I was at uni when I witnessed someone getting stabbed in the eye. I thought he [the victim] was punched in the face to begin with. There was just crowds of people, it was manic. No one knew what was going on. A lot of people were filming it. It was like they were so fascinated by being in the presence [of such an incident], they had forgotten that the person was human, it was an alien experience,” he said.

It is the bystander's fixation on recording rather than helping that will form a central theme in Marcus's film, Blackskin.

"I think people think that they are doing justice by filming. We are so used to using our phones, a lot of us have forgotten how to communicate but there is also that dark side where the person recording is thinking about their likes or the publicity they will get by sharing the video," he said.

"It is disturbing that videos of people dying, getting stabbed or beaten up end up trending," the former BCoT student added.

Another key theme Marcus wishes to draw attention to is how Black victims are treated by police.

“It puzzles me when the police start investigating the victim of a stabbing or someone who has been beaten up. Quite often they will second guess the victim, asking them where they have been or why they were there," he said.

Having moved to Basingstoke from London with his family as a young child, Marcus was one of the only Black boys in the area and encountered numerous incidents of racism.

The former Vyne pupil was 11 when police stopped him and subjected him to a strip search in the middle of the street. An incident that remains fresh in his mind, 17 years later.

On another occasion, he was bundled into a police car on his way to school by three officers who had confused him with another Black child.

"[These experiences] pushed me into writing music. My friends sympathised but they weren't living in my shoes, I became an angry child having to constantly explain myself," he said.

The industrial design graduate, who attended the University of Hertfordshire, ploughed his experiences into his music and has since enjoyed success supporting the likes of Wretch 32 and performing at B Love Festival. Now, he said his goal now is to raise awareness and to be a role model for future generations.

Marcus added: “I’ve been trying to change the narrative in Basingstoke. Basingstoke is a different place to when I grew up. When you walk through Festival Place today you see a multicultured town. A lot of young people end up moving to other places. I want to bring in new narratives and push people to have conversations to help educate others."

You can view Marcus's video in full here