An Eazy-E memorial has been erected in a seaside town in East Sussex after a fan campaigned tirelessly to the council
A memorial for the late US rapper Eazy-E has been erected in Newhaven, East Sussex, after a successful campaign by a local resident.
In February, Guy Stevens called on Newhaven Town Council to immortalise the star, hailed by many as the “Godfather of gangsta rap”, in the seaside town by way of a commemorative park bench.
The local authority conceded councillors had “no idea” who Eazy-E was, but advised Mr Stevens find the funds for a tribute.
Mr Stevens managed to raise well in excess of the required £1,177 and the bench was installed on Denton Island, a small patch of land in the north of Newhaven, on Wednesday.
Newhaven Town Council told i: “It’s a lovely, high quality bench in black galvanised steel. The plaque reads, ‘Rest in peace Eric Eazy-E Wright, 1964-1995’.”
In a statement, Newhaven Town Council said it was a little surprised by Mr Stevens’ request and said “a
quick Google of his name revealed no obvious connection to Newhaven”.
Councillors said the campaign aroused a lot of interest on social media. Some of it was hostile; much of it was supportive.
The Mayor of Newhaven, Councillor Graham Amy, said to i in a statement: “Eazy-E appears to have led a rather
colourful life – but if someone contacts us wanting to buy a memorial bench to their aunt, say, we
don’t ask questions about her lifestyle.
“And indeed, Eazy-E is greatly admired in some quarters – there are clearly two sides to his story. The town council has recently erected a bandstand on Denton Island and would very much like to see some additional seating near the bandstand which could be used by people listening to music there”.
Cllr Amy added: “I’d never heard of Gangsta Rap – the Beatles were more my thing. I’d love to see a bench with a plaque to John Lennon.”
Newhaven Town Council said there is plenty of room for more musical benches on Denton Island, which also features a bandstand for live performances.
Mr Stevens said he was elated his campaign had been successful.
He told the Brighton Argus: “I’m just glad I’ve managed to cement myself in hip hop history and have a mention on Eazy E’s Wikipedia page.
“Thanks to everyone who donated, I really do appreciate it and not only have you got the bench, you’ve also helped people living with HIV in the area.”
He said any cash leftover – around £500 to date – will be donated to Sussex-based HIV charities the Sussex Beacon, and the Terrence Higgins Trust. Eazy-E died of health complications brought on by AIDS in 1995.
The project attracted global attention, with donations coming in from as far away as America.
Eazy E’s daughter was reportedly planning to visit the bench in honour of her father, but “didn’t realise Newhaven was in the UK”. She told Mr Stevens she appreciated the gesture.