Hip hop filmmaker takes on unjust care tax

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Kiana Kalantar-Hormozi, 23, is the director and star of a hip hop video campaigning against the so-called care tax. 

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15th August 2017 by TFN Guest 1 Comment

I’m directly affected by the care tax, so this subject is very personal to me.

I was born with spinal muscular atrophy type 2. When I was in the last year of school, maybe 16 to 17 years old, I started getting self-directed support.

It was then that a social worker told me about contribution charges. It didn’t seem like much, but when I started thinking about it I realised it was really underhanded and hypocritical.

I was getting a student loan and employment support allowance, but they were asking me to pay £25 a week for my care. So I was getting benefits and then having to give them back. 

Hip hop filmmaker takes on unjust care taxKiana Kalantar-Hormoz

Hip hop just seemed like a really powerful and creative way to get across what I wanted to say

At that point, I refused to pay the charge. I’m thousands of pounds in debt now, but if they want it back they’ll have to sue me. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel.

The care tax denies people like me my human right to move about, to work, to live my daily life. I made my film, Tax On Me, because I know thousands of other people in Scotland are affected by this injustice the same way as me.

I shouldn’t be taxed for getting out of bed, for going down the street – all these things that other people take for granted.

I’d wanted to do something about it for two or three years. But I was never sure exactly what. It’s a complex topic – a lot of people have heard about the care tax, but aren’t always sure exactly what it is.

My inspiration eventually came from my degree. I studied film and media at Stirling University, and then did a master’s at the Screen Academy in Edinburgh.

Last summer I’d made a documentary about Bigg Taj, who composed the music for my video. I thought his music was really cool. It was then that I started to think about writing a rap. Hip hop just seemed like a really powerful and creative way to get across what I wanted to say.

I’ve done a lot of music and theatre in the past, but I’d never thought about doing hip hop before. It’s something I’m getting a lot more interested in now though. Hip hop makes people sit up and listen.

Taj was great throughout the whole process. He’s always doing community work and helping give people a voice. He was on board from day one.

The process of recording the song and video took about 13 weeks. Over that time I was mentored by Louise Scott from Media co-op in Glasgow.

I’d been in touch with Jeff Adamson and the Scotland Against the Care Tax campaign for a few years, and when I approached them with the idea they got right behind it – they gave me a lot of support and a lot of the organisations in the campaign stepped in to help fund the video.

I really want my film to highlight the work the campaign does. We need to get this message to as many people as possible, get them campaigning against this injustice and get the care tax abolished.

Comments

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16th August 2017 by Anne martin

Well done Kiana. I always knew you would do something like this..you may not remember me by I was a social worker way back when. You always had the potential. Its good that this can be highlighted by someone that it affects and that you have given it a voice. Take care