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Why there weren't any blacks at the Brits + Kanye thing a bad look?

I wasn't even gonna address this but I had a vibes to so here it is.

Everybody's been asking why there weren't any blacks at the Brits, so I thought I'd give a few answers based on what I see happening out there today. Most of the people asking the questions will happily admit they don't follow what's happening in the national charts. How does that even make sense then? In an ideal world, you should have a little bit of knowledge before speaking on things you don't know. Otherwise, you're just spouting ignorance.

First things first, the Brits is there to celebrate the best of what's happening in the charts for a particular year. How they measure that, I don't know, but that's what it's meant to do. I also don't know the criteria for nominations, but whatever. Black artists accounted for a grand total of two nominations. George The Poet for Brits' Critics Choice and FKA Twigs in the Best Female category. Neither won.

The better question is where are the black Brits in the charts?



As I said, Brits, like most awards are (at least meant to be) a reflection not dictator. We've all got opinions, let's bring some facts: Fuse ODG was the only black act to score more than two entries in the top 40 for the whole of 2014 with his three top 10s "Million Pound Girl" (#5), "Dangerous Love" (#3) and "TINA" (#9). That's it. (I did tell you he was the best black Brit from May last year, I swear? Oh yeah, click here)

Lethal Bizzle had a great year for an independent artist with "The Drop" and "Rari Workout" hitting top twenty. It's a struggle to name black artists with notable chart achievements last year outside of those two. Labrinth's also had two entries, but even he would probably agree that both songs underachieved.

Those were the most successful in singles artists last year. What in the above do you see as "black artists have done enough to be there?" "Dangerous Love" by Fuse ODG featuring Sean Paul (produced by Stephen "Di Genius McGregor and Killbeatz) was 56th best-seller last year. That's the best black and urban music achieved. His dancehall song "Million Pound Girl" was 82nd. Those are the only two entries for black Brits. And Fuse ODG didn't even have his award presented on TV at the MOBO Awards so what does that say?

Wanna know how many black Brits made the best selling albums of 2014? A grand total of 0. Zip. Zilch. Scored nil pois. I think FKA Twigs was probably best seller. But I wouldn't be surprised if Emeli Sande's two year old album outsold it.

So taking all of that into consideration, it could be argued that black Brits overachieved in the nomination stakes. While I'd say Fuse deserved a nomination (Best Single or Best Breakthrough), I know I'm saying that from a subjective standpoint because I like his songs and believe in what he represents.

And this is what we need to understand, these people are massive to us from where we stand, because of the fight it takes to reach a certain level of popularity, however we need to get some perspective. These people on the panel don't take that into consideration and why should they?

Which leads me on to my next point; we're living in some dark times (no pun intended) where black people want inclusion in mainstream awards just because its black. That, to me, is supporting tokenism. Either put me there on merit or not at all. Don't put me there because it looks good for you/meeting ethnic minority quotas. What kinda something is that?

People give awards power not the other way. If we decide it's worthless, don't tune in and don't even talk about it, they mean nothing. We should know, look at most of our awards shows. We don't support them, they don't exist. How about we change the convo and work with our ones? How about we support our artists fiscally and physically instead of chatting about them when it comes to awards time? That means more than awards.

And a next thing re: Kanye's performance. Is it a good look for the scene? Potentially, it depends on how it develops. I tell you who it is great for - Skepta. He's had so much free promotion these two weeks from Drake and Kanye that his album will smash it if it is released next week as planned. The industry loves a co-sign. If it opens doors for him, it can open doors for the rest as a result. We all know grime is on the cusp, this could be exactly what it needs. The credible exposure in the industry's eyes. It's good to see BBK headlining the Radio 1 stage at Reading and Leeds festival this summer. I don't care about charts, just as long as they get festivals, shows and eat nicely, it ain't a bad thing. Big up Red Bull cos them winning the Culture Clash did a lot. (If it takes Kanye and Drake co-sign for you as a regular person from London to rate Skepta and your culture in London, then you're a grade-A speng.)

Couldn't give a damn about the whole "glorifying gang crime" comments on Twitter by some ignorant people. Saying that though, Kanye's new art direction is inspired by the London riots. Also, it did show the levels that our artists are only

We all saw what Kanye did for afrobeats which was another movement on the cusp. People who didn't have a clue about afrobeats started writing in national press/mainstream sites and tweeting about it after he signed D'Banj. He gave it the stamp of approval it needed for people in offices who don't actually know what's happening in the world outside of their bubbles. And indirectly from that, we got our 2014 best-seller, Fuse ODG, who shifted a million records last year.

And let's not get it twisted, none of those guys deserved to be on the Brits stage based on merit. Skepta had to blag his way into the MOBO Awards when he won Best Video. Or do we want a return of the Best Urban award for the likes of Jessie J and Rita Ora to dominate? 'Cos there aren't any other genre-specific awards. There weren't any cutting edge artists up there. None from any of the various forward thinking electronic scenes, no rebellious rock acts, no genre-benders, nothing.

I'm more concerned with the MOBO's. It is their duty to promote and recognise talents within black and urban genres. Instead, they reward those who have already ascended to the highest of heights. MOBO's need to take ownership. Have a panel that decides, not open to people so its a popularity contest. None of the big, credible awards shows are voted for by the public. Charts are there for that. If people disagree, guess what? They disagree. Can't please everyone. Either that or don't nominate those extremely big pop stars.

The industry is a problem not awards shows. Many talented artists don't get the opportunity to learn the tricks you need to chart. But then, many in the industry don't believe in our movements because they don't see the money to be made from it. Why? Because the artists aren't exactly doing big shows or selling records. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook is cool but until you do what Krept & Konan did with their album charting, all that other stuff is interest not fans or supporters. But we live in a world where you can eat without being in the industry, so…

You can be Martin Luther on a "Please judge us the same way you judge yourselves" vibe or you can be Marcus Garvey with an "Emancipate your mind from mental slavery" state of mind. I prefer the latter. That whole world is irrelevant to me. Nobody will care next week. We don't care that Tinie and Dizzee won it, be honest. Dizzee winning the Mercury was much more of a moment.

As I said, perspective, innit. Look beyond YouTube figures and our channels. And remember, nobody judges based on where you came from, its about how high you reach.

Bless up and keep striving for better.

p.s. George Ezra walked away empty handed after four nominations despite having the third best-selling album last year. We made a big deal when Craig David lost to Coldplay, Robbie Williams x2, Fatboy Slim and best breakthrough to A1 (how?) in a year where he was 6th best-seller (albeit 2nd best alive English).

p.p.s. them Royal Blood fellas no one knew had the 22nd best-selling album in 2014

p.p.p.s. I would show you the vid but it isn't available on YouTube. Not sure why the Brits page didn't post it yesterday. Are we in 2015? I swear we are. Song's banging though

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