Krept & Konan, Big Narstie Weigh In On The BRITs' Diversity
Their views on the #BritsSoWhite debate
Another day, another awards show with a distinct lack of non-white nominees.
#BRITsSoWhite has been causing a stir online lately and rightly so. With just two non-white acts up for gongs, a lot of people are asking, where are all the black artists who have been slaying it this year?
One of these people is grime superstar and Craig David’s bezzie, Big Narstie. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Narstie blasted the BRITs for its lack of inclusion of black artists and in particular, British black artists.
“The only diversity in the BRITs is with the Americans” he said, “I’ve been saying for this for a while; for our country to do good, we need to embrace our country.”
“Years ago when I was sending music in, you [radio stations] would say my stuff is ‘too urban’. But what else am I supposed to make? I come from Brixton.”
Also speaking to Channel 4, Krept & Konan weighed in saying of the BRITs committee who chose the nominees, “They are really out of touch, they need to get up to date with what’s going on as we are really representing UK culture, we are flying the flag for BRITish black music.”
And it’s true. Krept & Konan’s debut album charted at number 2 last year, Stormzy and Lady Leshurr are racking up millions of views on their DIY YouTube videos, Skepta’s playing massive, sold-out shows worldwide and huge mainstream artists like Kanye West and Drake have been championing black UK music for years, so why is nobody taking notice?
When asked if maybe it’s because UK music remains fairly underground, releasing music independently and online rather than through mainstream channels, Krept & Konan replied that they only do this because it’s their only option.
“We are forced to do this independently as we’re not being acknowledged. If you acknowledge us in the first place, we’ll be there! You’d see us at the BRITs if there was an urban category for grime, hip-hop, we’d be at the BRITs! But there isn’t so what do you want us to do?”
With gang violence reportedly on the rise in London, Krept & Konan were also asked about fears over the link between UK grime and this culture, to which they replied:
“Putting us on the TV next to these other acts shows those kids that are growing up that there’s more to life than being in a gang” saying that they want young people to believe that, “if I do certain things I can be on the TV with Skepta”.
In the midst of the #BRITsSoWhite backlash the BRITs have agreed to address the way their committee selects nominees but ensure that that panel is made up of at least 15% minority members.
So no matter what the reason for the exclusions, whether it’s racism or simply the fact that the BRITs are out of touch with Britain’s music culture, in the past year there’s no denying that black music is a part of UK culture.
We can only hope that next year the likes of Krept & Konan, Big Narstie and so many other amazing black artists representing the UKs music scene and culture as a whole are celebrated as much as they deserve to be.
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