Arsenal FC and kit sponsor Adidas have dropped a special-edition shirt as part of the ‘No More Red’ initiative aiming to address the growing numbers of knife-related crimes in London.
During Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Nottingham Forest, the iconic red tones will notably be missing from Arsenal’s strip to symbolize the ambition to eradicate bloodshed on London's streets.
In a hard-hitting supporting film, created with Iris London, we see life-long football fan Idris Elba take viewers through some bleak city scenes with the cutting message that many of tomorrow’s soccer stars won’t be given the chance to realize their dreams due to rising youth violence.
The actor drives home that many young people are worriedly looking over their shoulders instead. ‘It’s blades, its beef, it’s madness’ he states as the camera pans to kids fighting on the street and a group of boys on bicycles.
As the emotive music continues Arsenal legend Ian Wright somberly asks how the situation can be changed while standing alone at the Emirates Stadium. Viewers then see current youthful first-team players Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe walking down the tunnel with Smith-Rowe stating that everyone needs inspiration in their lives. The shot ends on the powerful ‘No More Red’ message.
“It’s emotional for me," said Wright in an Adidas blog post. "Everyone deserves an opportunity. Opportunity to express themselves, the opportunity to exist within a safe environment. Opportunity to live. Loss of life through youth violence should not be a thing that has become ‘normal’ in our city."
It’s a project that’s been three years in the making due to various delays and is the catalyst of a multi-year partnership aiming to support young Londoners. Arsenal and Adidas will work with the ‘Arsenal in the Community' collective to help turn kids’ passions into careers with assistance from experienced creatives including artist Reuben Dangoor and Rinse FM DJ Emerald Lewis.
“Youth violence is a massive issue," said Wright. "This initiative will not solve it, but it is important that something is done. That’s why for me, I don’t want to only use my voice, but dedicate my time and efforts to help where I can. The initiative will empower people who will then go on and empower their local communities. The hope is that positive inspiration can be spread."
The launch film will be promoted across social media platforms as well as being shown on ITV alongside the game on Sunday, with other coverage across print and television press.