Anorak | The BBC Defends Black Music Critcism… And Quite Right Too

The BBC Defends Black Music Critcism… And Quite Right Too

by | 15th, July 2014

RECENTLY, the BBC rated the most influential artists in Radio 1Xtra’s Power List. The “UK’s leading black music station” (their words) gave the top honour to Ed Sheeran, who you might recognise as being absolutely not-black and not really making black music.

Wiley, number 16 in the poll, went nuts, accusing Auntie Beeb of representing a “backwards” music industry in Britain. “We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns he has influenced us… Lol,” he wrote.

That’s called Columbusing.


The top 5 was made up of Sheeran, Disclosure, Tinie Tempah, Sam Smith and Rudimental and Austin Daboh BBC Radio 1Xtra’s music manager defended the list:

“Every single day of the week, every single hour of the day we support black artists and other races that make black music sounds. I think that anyone who wants to bring race into the discussion is probably a little bit misguided.”

But here’s a thing race absolutely plays a part.

Why did 1Xtra become a thing? Well, for a start, when you search for it in Google, it is listed as a “new black music network.” Of course, people who aren’t black can make black music, but there’s something a little depressing about the whole thing: the BBC obviously felt the need to represent black music, PoC and people who enjoy black music, so they set up a dedicated station.

With that, when it comes to heralding the best in black music, you’d hope that the top 5 would be more representative of what’s going on. Sheeran, Disclosure, Sam Smith make music influenced by black music (who doesn’t?), but the BBC wasted an opportunity to shout about the people they felt they needed to represent by setting up a dedicated station for.

The aforementioned are also rotated heavily on Radio 1, so with something that is meant to shine a light on the new, innovative artists that are shaping the music played on 1Xtra, it isn’t so much that

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Posted: 15th, July 2014 | In: Music Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink