Local radio presenter and doco maker asks ‘is your area changing’

Ruby Gregory meets Henrie Kwushue, whose mini-documentary series Is Your Area Changing is getting thousands of views

Henrie Kwushue radio producer and documentary maker with Pape Drop
Henrie interviews Pape Diop of Brixton’s Pape and Camile Hair & Beauty for her documentary

Brixton’s Reprezent Radio is home to Henrie Kwushue, a radio presenter and DJ who has scored a series of exciting projects in recent months.

Henrie, a South Londoner herself, has recently produced her first docuseries, the three-part Is Your Area Changing? It is available to watch on her YouTube channel.

Episodes explore areas in London that have experienced major change and developments in recent years. Each one sees Henrie interview a range of characters on the streets of Brixton, Peckham and Dalston.

Brixton was the first of the series to air and has received more than 42,000 views and counting.

Henrie introduces the Brixton episode by addressing the folding of businesses and housing estates in the area, saying Brixton is redeveloping ‘’fast ahead’’.

A montage of interviews from old and new residents, shopkeepers and partygoers, follows. Individuals offer their opinions about the past, present, and future.

Some responses are brief, while some are passionate about the subject of change.

Each episode was filmed from day through to night. “I wanted to do a juxtaposition of the day time and night time,” says Henrie. She found the contrast between day and nightlife in Brixton to be “really interesting”.

The Brixton episode had a slightly positive tone to it and Henrie was left optimistic. She says: “It’s important to bring a new scope to it”. By “it”, Henrie is referring to how depressing and unavoidable subjects of change can be delivered in a slightly light-hearted manner.

A recurring response that Henrie found was individuals emphasising that these areas have been “gentrified”. She says: “I don’t say the word gentrification at all, you can make up your own mind”.

Henrie did not want the docuseries to be subjective and closed. She leaves it for others to suggest there has been a shift in these areas. “Gentrification is not something we sit down and have conversations about”.

Episodes see people approach the subject of gentrification with maturity and, unsurprisingly, new residents and tourists appear less knowledgeable about changes. Henrie says: “People who have lived in these areas for 10 years – they’ve seen the changes’’.

She and her team produced the series using her own production company, HTK Productions. Establishing an independent production company was important to her: “I wanted my idea to truly stay mine, to have control over what I wanted to do”.

The DJ wants to help others who have a creative idea but are struggling to find a platform. “The whole idea of the production company is to continue with individuals having control over their idea”.

The docuseries has become a channel for Henrie and other young people to question changes in their surroundings. “It’s really important to educate yourself about what’s going on in your area and how it affects you,’’ she says.

There are hopes that a series two will be in production soon.

If you don’t know Henrie’s work, you may soon be familiar with her voice on the air. For now, you can watch Is Your Area Changing? at http://bit.ly/YT-Henrie.

Henrie is on air at Reprezent Radio every Tuesday from 4 to 7pm.

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