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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delight Brixton as they visit radio station transforming young lives

By John Whelan

On just their second official outing after announcing their engagement, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited a Brixton radio station to a rapturous welcome from waiting crowds. Hundreds of fans poured out into the cold streets to shout “We love you!” The couple were attending as guests of youth-oriented radio station Reprezent FM. Fans packed nearby streets to catch a glimpse of them. The pair could be seen blushing as Meghan shyly waved back to the resounding cheers from the crowd which represented the full diversity of Brixton.

It was a far cry from the troubled Brixton of the early 1980s, reflecting how much change has been brought about by civic leaders, business entrepreneurs and the community. Ahead of the visit, Henrie Kwushua, who presents a morning rap show on Reprezent said, “I absolutely love the royals, it’s ridiculous. The fact that they are coming here, they’re interested in diversity, they’re interested in what we have to say.”

Shane Carey, the founder and chief executive officer of Reprezent, added: “Since the visit was announced there has been massive excitement at the station – much more than I could have expected. We’re having the spotlight shone on us from all the world’s media pretty much, we have never had this attention before.” Venturing into the studio, the royal couple met seventeen-year- old Gloria Beyl, while she was live on air. Gloria said the visit had come as a shock. “For two people who are making headlines to come to a place where there’s usually just a little column in the news about us – I think a lot of people thought those two worlds would never collide.” DJ YV Shells, aged twenty-four, juggles his medical degree with his work at the radio station. He declared Harry and Meghan “so cool, so down to earth”, while Remi Adermi said of an unplanned handshake lesson with Prince Harry, “I just thought it was now or never. Harry’s a cool guy, a sweet guy. And he did it.”

NAINA SETHI, 26, from Brixton Hill, has been presenting a radio show on Reprezent for more than four years. She credits the radio station with helping to make her a success.

She said, “They saw something in me, and, based purely on love, passion and motivation, they offered me a weekly show. About two years ago I got moved to a prime time Friday night slot. It enabled me to really push the show and grow

“Since that progression, I have been playing festivals, did my first Boiler Room and rounded off 2017 by supporting The Prodigy at O2 Academy Brixton.

“Without Reprezent giving me that first opportunity and believing in me, none of this would have happened.”

CESCA IVALDI, 22, said meeting Harry and Meghan during their visit was “quite intense” but “really cool”. They spoke about gentrification and the fear that the cost of living in Brixton was becoming too high.

She added: “Harry and Meghan had really done their homework, and knew what the ethos of the station was like. They were very engaged and I’m very happy they came. They seemed genuinely interested.” Cesca has received training from the station and credits Reprezent, including station manager Adrian Newman, with giving her the leg up she needed to get ahead. She is now a radio producer and presenter with her own drive-time show.

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