2017 BRIT Awards Will Be When BME Talent Finally Get Limelight
With the MOBO Awards airing last night, I wrote this in anticipation of the event. enjoy.
There is nothing like a good awards event. You sit down with friends & family and appreciate the great music, film or whatever the talent is being celebrated on that given night.
But I emphasise the word "good" awards event because The BRIT Awards is by far the worst Awards show to watch. I'm not sure how they do it but somehow they get the most embarrassing and faux entertaining hosts. In past years it has been painful to watch. It is even more painful when you notice that the BRIT's are horrible at representing BME talent. (Black & Multicultural Ethnicites)
Now before I go on, this is NOT an indictment on the artists that have dominated the BRIT's in recent years. I love Adele, I don't like Coldplay's or Arctic Monkeys' music but I understand why they've gotten the awards. This is an article celebrating the great British Rap and R&B that have been released by BME artists.
2016 has been sad on many levels but for British music, it has been amazing. I'll admit, i'm not the most qualified when it comes to the British Rap scene. I'm not about that SBTV or LinkUpTV life. But the quality of music that has been coming out this year by BME talent has been unavoidable. Peep this list of BME artists that have or are dropping material the past year.
Lianne La Havas (I know her sophomore ablum "Blood" dropped in 2015 but it's relevant to the argument bear with me)
Krept & Konan
There is most likely some I have missed but these artists are undoubtedly on the higher echelon of BME music in the UK.
Now. The last BME artist to win Album of the Year was Emeli Sande in 2013 with "Our Version of Events". Stunning album, my sister listened to it daily. Nobody else has done that before or since. Before then the only BME artists that you see getting awards are either Tinie Tempah or Dizzee Rascal and they were for singles. Albums? No chance.
It's safe to say that the BRIT's is the British version of the Grammys, funnily enough. That's where i'm going next. The Grammys have notoriously struggled in recognising Hip-Hop for the influence that it has provided over the decades. Sure they have several categories catered for Hip-Hop and that's great. But like Kanye, I as a Hip-Hop fan feel dissapointed that they fail at giving Hip-Hop artists the coveted "Album of the Year". The most recent atrocity was picking Taylor Swift over Kendrick Lamar. No disrespect to Taylor but how can an album that isn't exactly the most groundbreaking body of work beat out to what some people in the Hip-Hop community call "Illmatic 2.0"? The Black Lives Matter use "Alright" as an unofficial anthem for crying out loud! Like Hip-Hop or not you have to recognise the influence and cultural significance that Kendrick provided with "To Pimp a Butterfly".
You're probably asking "Charlie, why are you jawing about Kendrick? We're talking about British Rap and R&B here?". Well let me get to the point. I think that we are entering the golden age of British BME Music. For decades, Grime and British rap has been relatively underground. The only people that have made worldwide waves in the past 20 years have been the aforementioned Tinie Tempah, Emeli Sande & you could make an argument for Dizzee Rascal. We are now at a time where BME artists are able to rise from the underground and make their names mainstream. Similar to how the 90's is usually called the "Golden Age of Hip-Hop", we are entering the "Golden Age of British BME artists". All those artists I have named and more have the opportunity to bring significant diversity to mainstream British music.
So where do the BRIT's come in? Well personally as a fan of Hip-Hop I could care less if they do the smart thing to nominate and give awards to the artists that deserve it. I mean Nas is widely considered top 5 All-Time but he still hasn't got a Grammy. Awards don't effect an artists' legacy but it is always good to see the apparent hierarchy that are award voters, that apparently are all knowing, correctly show representation to the British music scene. There should be A MINIMUM of two MBE artists on the "Album of the Year" nominations.
We have seen Skepta win the Mercury Prize this year, something only Dizzee Rascal has done, it is time for the usually white BRIT Awards to add some colour in 2017.