A long-term lease signed by Sundos and Salam Shaheen, the owners of Brixton supermarket Nour Cash & Carry, is being celebrated as a victory against property developer Taylor McWilliams.
The Texan DJ, who performs individually under the alias Taylor HK and as a member of the group Housekeeping, serves as the director of Hondo Enterprises. The firm bought Brixton Village and Market Row, where Nour is located, for a reported £37.25 in 2018 according to Retail Gazette.
The store’s owners were recently served with a Section 25 notice to vacate by July 22nd. In a statement obtained by Vice, Hondo would later claim that the eviction was necessary to install an electricity substation to prevent power shortages, and that they had been in talks to retain Nour throughout the process. By that time, however, a Change.org petition had amassed tens of thousands of signatures in addition to other forms of online protest.
A recent tweet from the Save Nour Save Brixton account suggests that it was not in vain. “NOUR IS SAVED,” it reads. “We’ve just spoken to the Shaheens and they are so happy. They’ve just signed a SECURE, LONG-TERM lease in Brixton Market at an affordable rent!”
!!! NOUR IS SAVED !!! We’ve just spoken to the Shaheens and they are so happy😭They’ve just signed a SECURE, LONG-TERM lease in Brixton Market at an affordable rent! We are overjoyed! Please read our full statement below. This victory belongs to all of us – all of you ♥️ (1/4) pic.twitter.com/5D19xWpRUJ
— Save Nour Save Brixton (@SaveNour) June 19, 2020
Taylor McWilliams’ controversial business practices were but one component of an incendiary muckraking article on Housekeeping published by The Quietus. Examining each member’s life outside the group, the piece – which just so happened to go live the day after George Floyd‘s tragic murder – portrayed them as a case study in the whitewashing of music rooted in black culture. The group went dark on social media shortly thereafter.
The Nour Cash & Carry ordeal only drove the point home. After fleeing Iran over 20 years ago, the Shaheens opened the store and found a niche among the diverse population of Brixton by selling Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern goods. Those protesting Hondo’s move to have the store evicted accused the firm of attempting to erase its history and culture.
The specific terms of Nour Cash & Carry’s new lease have not been publicly disclosed at the time of writing.