Rapper Dave vs. OFCOM: the latest attempt to silence the truth

How the British public need to redirect their energy to the people who are actually causing our society harm.

It’s been almost two weeks since the Brit Awards, but it was unlikely that the British public was watching anything else that Tuesday night. Although the lack of female representation at the award show left many celebrities, including Charlie XCX, with a grievance instead of an award, the two who shone the brightest were south London artists, Stormzy and Dave, whose stand out performances were a celebration of black power.

Dave, who won British album of the year, gave a very moving performance of his song ‘Black‘ where he spoke on issues including racism in parliament, Grenfell and the Windrush scandal. 

Dave said:

“We want rehabilitation, now that would be amazing 

but Grenfell victims still need accommodation 

And we still need support for the Windrush generation.”

Although most of the praise for the rapper was nothing short of complimentary, especially from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a few twitter users complained about how the Brit Awards have become too political, at the hands of Stormzy, who won best male artist, because of his performance in 2018. 

Dave went on to say that our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is the “real racist” which he received backlash for, most notably by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who told BBC breakfast;

 “He’s absolutely not a racist, and I’m afraid that is very much a generalisation that has been made by rapper Dave, and I just disagree with it.” 

Dave slammed the Home Secretary when he went on to show many examples that prove his point, including when he [Boris Johnson] used the word ‘piccaninnies’, a slur against African children, in a column no less, for The Daily Telegraph. 

Just when I thought the dust had settled, OFCOM reported that they received over 300 complaints about the artists’ performances, with the majority of the complaints aimed at Dave, labelling him a ‘racist’ for calling out the PM on his, nothing short of a shambolic, attempt at running the country. 

It’s no surprise that this has happened, but that doesn’t make it any less laughable. About to face our third storm of 2020, Storm Jorge that is said to disturb our piece over the weekend, considering the last two did so much damage, you’d think that people had something better to do with their time.

The tension between black and white Britons at the moment is palpable. It comes at a time of the ongoing debate of white privilege that was refuelled by the constant media attention that surrounded Meghan Markle, and the mistreatment she endured by the British public and the British media. 

This constant attack on black Britons in the public eye shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Dave was speaking a truth that many are facing as their reality. 

OFCOM have said: 

“We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”

What is there to investigate? I ask you, where in the rules does it say one is not allowed to speak the truth on television? Why is it a cause for concern when a young black artist decides to talk about the reality of the voiceless and call out the government for their mistakes? There should be a rule about not using your free speech to spread hate like many white male and female, middle-class TV personalities do regularly, that goes unchecked by an authority like OFCOM. Piers Morgan’s endless misogyny and racism, Katie Hopkins very existence, to name a few examples, but like most systems in life, they work for those who work for them, and sadly, that leaves us, black people, off the list. 

The victims of Grenfell are still suffering from an uncertain future that has left them with no permanent place of residence. The Windrush generation, who’ve been UK citizens for years, are being uprooted for the flimsiest of reasons ingrained in racism. Boris Johnson has publicly said racist and derogative comments, yet people still try and deny that they ever happened. None of what Dave said is a falsehood, and if the British public are going to rule this as just another black person trying to cause trouble where there is none, then this tension between races is only going to worsen. 

Who are the 300 people who complained and what it is that our PM has done for you, that you feel the need to come to his aid? During Storm Dennis, Sky News reported a local Welsh man severely affected by the floods Storm Dennis caused who said, “I supported you [Boris Johnson], now it’s time for you to come and support me.” There is a plethora of images of Jeremy Corbyn, knocking on the doors of those affected by the storm, whereas our actual PM disappeared for a week. 

Boris Johnson takes care of himself and people like him, so who is left to raise the issues that are affecting our society in detrimental ways? Don’t want the Brit Awards to be political? Don’t want rappers, actors and artists speaking for those not represented? Then I urge you to challenge your beloved PM to fix these issues, instead of wasting your time trying to silence the only people using their platform to do the work that the government isn’t. 

Author: Sincerely, Saskia

I have a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. I'm a freelance contributor for VoiceMagUK, living in London, who writes about all aspects of our society from my own standpoint.

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