Allow me to start this post by stating the obvious – I am black. I love my skin colour, my culture, the food, the people, etc. I also do like and respect Kanye West and his music. That was just a quick disclaimer before I get some sort of adverse reaction about this post which would insist that I’m some sort of black on black racist.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me say that I was disgusted and embarrassed by Kanye West’s performance last night at the 2015 BRIT Awards. If you’re yet to see it, this performance consisted of Yé, BBK and a crew in all black. Hoods, balaclavas and a flame thrower were also involved with the crew hyping West as he spat the ‘N-word’ in every other sentence. The performance was followed by an online uproar as insults were thrown calling the performers “thugs” and “hooligans”.
All I have to say is – what do you expect?
In Britain, one of the main and most frustrating stereotypes that are attached to the black community is gang culture. The fact that innocent black boys will be stopped and searched and groups of 5 or more are seen as grossly intimidating is enough to show that this label is still alive and continuing to stop our community from progressing. Therefore, the BRIT Awards, possibly the biggest musical platform in the country, being used to outrageously exaggerate this stereotype is irritating.
Some have spoken about the fact that this performance was meant to celebrate the UK grime scene. Apparently, to show how it began and how far it has come. That is NOT what I got from this performance. What I saw was not a ‘celebration’, what I saw was almost satirical and what I saw was a group of successful men being reduced to a stereotype that we have been trying to shake for years.
The song ‘All Day’ itself is impressive. With the addition of the vocals by upcoming Canadian artist, Allan Kingdom, the musical side to the performance was not bad. I simply ask that if we want to celebrate the UK grime scene, we avoid putting heavy focus on our negative labels in front of millions. If you disagree, don’t complain when people continually attach us to them.
© Rex Features / David Fisher
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