Asake gave his first UK concert since a fatal hit and run at his Brixton concert last year, and started the show by paying tribute to the two fans who died.
The tragic event happened at their concert at the O2 Academy Brixton in London last December and two fans, Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson, lost their lives after a public riot that happened at the venue.
The Metropolitan Police are still investigating the incident and, following the incident, Lambeth Council reviewed the license of the south London live music venue, which has since closed.
A 21-year-old woman remains in a critical condition in hospital after being involved in the collision, and police are still appealing for information.
Now the Nigerian singer-songwriter and Afrobeats star is back on stage for his first UK live show since the event, paying tribute to the victims.
The comeback concert took place last night (August 20) at the city’s O2 Arena, a venue that has four times the capacity of Brixton. Asake, whose real name is Ahmed Ololade, came on stage about an hour and 20 minutes later than scheduled and started the show with a three-minute tribute poem to Ikumelo and Hutchinson.
Before she came on stage, with flowers, and a poem being recited in the background, performers dressed in white appeared.
“Woke up at 02:30 thinking I might be Gaby Hutchinson,” read the poem (via The Independent). “Rest and be free, rest in peace Rebecca our sister.”
“I know that some feel lost and others regret,” said the poet. “We must seize this moment. I must seize this moment. They must seize this moment.”
According to the media, while reading the poem, images of the news from the time of the accident were also shown, as well as messages from the victims on social networks. Find out below.
At the time of the deaths, Asake shared a statement expressing his condolences on Twitter (X).
“Delighted to learn that Rebecca Ikumelo, who was in a critical condition since Thursday, has passed away,” he wrote. “My deepest condolences to his family at this time. Please keep his family in our prayers. I have spoken to them and will continue to do so.”
At last night’s show, it was also reported that police officers were stationed outside the venue, handing out leaflets and encouraging witnesses to the Brixton show to come forward.
Speaking to BBC News, fans who attended both of Asake’s concerts recall how he felt safer at last night’s event due to increased security. “The organization of that concert, it was not good at all,” he says. “But I see that the security here is going well.”
In June, the families of the victims of the Brixton Academy shooting spoke out six months after the tragedy, saying “We just want justice.”
At the start of the year, the Metropolitan Police claimed they had “lost confidence” in the security of Brixton Academy and demanded it close its doors for good.
An online petition was subsequently launched to combat the closure and a number of artists and industry professionals also spoke out against the possibility of the venue closing.
The Night Industries Association (NTIA) then launched a campaign together with Save Our Scene and Brixton BID to keep the venue open. The Prodigy was one of the most notable artists who shared their support for the ‘Save Brixton Academy’ campaign and urged the public to do the same.