JUNO Women's Aid

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A MOVING video created by a Nottingham pastor to highlight the heartbreaking impact of domestic violence is being launched to support a fundraising campaign by city charity Juno Women’s Aid.

Musician and rapper Dave Ellis – who is a pastor at Trent Vineyard Church – has written and directed the track ‘Superheroes’ based partly on his own childhood experience as a witness of domestic abuse.

Produced in collaboration with BAFTA award-winning The Television Workshop – and starring two of its young actors – the video portrays the frustrations of a boy who wishes for superhero skills to save his mum from abusive relationships.

Dave hopes its release will raise awareness of Juno, Nottingham’s largest domestic abuse charity, which is planning a day of activity as part of the annual worldwide 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which starts on 25 November.

It is appealing for local businesses and organisations to back a campaign to help end violence against women and girls as it bids to ‘turn Nottingham orange’ on 27 November. The colour signifies solidarity and hope for a brighter future.

Father-of-four Dave, 49, said: “My mum and dad separated when I was very young and my mum later got into an abusive relationship – I saw the effect it had on her as I was growing up.

“Looking back, I wish I could have done more than I did at the time to help her, but I also realise it wasn’t my responsibility as a child to do that, so you feel many different emotions.

“I think a lot of young people feel like that when they have seen a parent being subjected to domestic abuse – that they wish that they could do something to defend and protect them.”

The video, officially being released on 25 November, features a boy at two stages of his life, dressed as different superhero characters and urging his mum to leave an abusive relationship. Dave’s rapping on the video – which he has directed and appears in – includes the heartbreaking line ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you’.

Dave, who performs under the professional name ‘the | Dave Ellis’ and who has recently released his album, Not Waving, But Drowning, wrote the lyrics during the pandemic. “I heard the instrumental and it spoke to me quite viscerally, making me think of the time when I was growing up,” he said.

“It’s semi-autobiographical, so not completely in line with my experience, but the heart behind the song and video is to raise awareness of domestic abuse, which is such a complex issue.

“I think that children in particular watch superheroes on TV and they want those same abilities to protect the ones they love, to feel invincible.”

Dave, who received funding for the video from a sponsor, added: “My hope is that it could be the motivation needed for someone experiencing abuse to have the strength to change their circumstances. The work that Juno does in this respect is awesome and we are fully on board with supporting the charity.”

Tasarla Larner, Juno’s communications and marketing lead who is co-ordinating the charity’s ‘orange’ campaign, said: “We were amazed when Dave approached us about collaborating on the video. It’s an incredible, moving, piece of work and we hope it will help to communicate our important message about empowering women and children to live a life free from abuse and to create lasting change.”

Juno’s team wants to create a sea of orange across the city and county on 27 November, with people wearing the colour or creating orange displays, then sharing images on social media – and hopefully raising much-needed funds to support its vital work.

Dave’s mum Babeth, originally from Jamaica and a former NHS nurse of the Windrush generation, sadly passed away in 2010. Dave added: “She was a real inspiration to me. She did get out of that relationship and eventually built her own house back in Jamaica.

“She also became a pastor herself, helping a lot of vulnerable women and young people through her experiences, so in some respects I’ve followed in her footsteps.”

Dave’s video features Television Workshop teacher Gail Race and actor brothers Neo and Mycah Richardson. The Workshop’s executive artistic director, Alison Rashley, said: “The Television Workshop is incredibly proud to be a small part of this important video in support of Juno Women’s Aid.

“We hope that the campaign is successful in raising awareness of this important cause and look forward to seeing Nottingham turn orange on the 27th of November.”

The track Superheroes by the | Dave Ellis can be found on Spotify and all music platforms and on Dave’s YouTube page from November 25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNLrGyXOkuE