Plan B wants his music & movie to help kids like him

He may have sold more than a million records and be about to release a film he has written and directed, but Plan B – real name Ben Drew — certainly hasn’t forgotten his own tough background growing up in east London.

And last summer’s riots have been weighing heavily on his mind – in fact they have spurred his work on powerful new film iLL Manors — and also his rage.

“I’ll never forget where I come from. I could have been one of those kids on the streets last summer.

“Nothing has changed since then. What’s to stop it happening again?

“I want my music and movie to help kids like me, who have been forgotten about and laughed at. I know it has that power,” he recently told The Sun.

Tottenham MP David Lammy — in whose constituency the riots began — hailed Plan B’s new single, also called iLL Manors, for “reflecting the anger” of a generation of youths who have lost hope.

Plan B said he’s been working flat-out to get the film – which he calls a “hip-hop musical” – out so that these youths’ voices can be heard.

Shot on the same East End estate where the rapper was raised, the flick is heavily inspired by the London riots and features real footage of the torching of the capital.

Fire rages through building in Tottenham during last year's riots

Ben, who won a Brit award for Best Male and three Ivor Novello songwriting gongs last year — said: “We need to know why the riots happened.

“We need to know why there are so many kids in this country that don’t feel they have a future, who don’t give a f*** and don’t care about a criminal record.”

The rapper explained how he doesn’t blame the youths for rioting and said: “Society doesn’t give a f*** about them. They were showing they don’t give a f*** about society. But I know their opinion can be changed.”

Ben could easily have ended up just like the rioters he is desperate to help.

Brought up in Forest Gate, East London his dad Paul Ballance, a former punk rocker, left home when Ben was five months old.

Ben was kicked out of school at 16 for fighting, got into a bar brawl and had to deal with a raid on his home by armed police.

Where he lived was full of drug pushers who forced a girl he knew in to prostitution.

The 28-year-old is also furious that the kids he wants to help are branded “chavs” — because he proudly counts himself one of them.

The hitmaker spat: “You’d better not let me hear you calling me a chav.

“They say it means Council House And Violent. But that’s just casual prejudice. It’s as bad as making fun of someone for their race or sexuality.

“You had better do it behind closed doors away from me, like closet racists, because I ain’t gonna have it any more.

“The ignorant sections of Middle England need to wake up and realise that and stop ridiculing the poor and less fortunate.

“That’s what iLL Manors and its soundtrack are for.”

But the dream of changing society has taken its toll.

Plan B has been existing on a few hours’ kip a night for months as he races to get the final edit of the film done before its May 4 release.

He admitted: “I’m up all night and went crazy over the Christmas period.

“I had those moments where I had forgotten why I was doing it and I could just imagine people saying it’s the worst film ever. Then you wake up in the morning and you feel a bit better.

“You remember it’s for the kids and you remember why you’ve done it.”