One evening that turned a cliche of the British establishment vs the British people, took a turn last night when we went from watching the British music industry eating cake and sipping champagne at the Brit Awards to suddenly switching to our timelines to watch a different night of Brit music unfold in a small venue in East London.
Watching the tv cameras pan over a sea of a mainly white faces representing our British music industry in the 02 arena at the Brit Awards, it was obvious it was going to take a complete sea change, maybe even a Tidal wave to sweep away the old guard before things could really change. So another year will probably pass by before the diversity debate will undoubtedly roll around again, all the media talk and coverage will die away, advisory groups will fade into the shade and it’ll go back to business as usual. Maybe the industry took a few knocks here and there, but no one actually got bruised last night and just like one year rolls around year after year, we’ll eventually get tired of the same conversations and complaints and before we know it another 20 years will pass by with even more regression.
Who wants to knock that cake trolley, what you complaining about bro, let them eat cake they say, while we sit around watching the same story unfold on repeat. Frankly I just don’t want to get to February 2017 and be writing another article asking about why the Brits so white. I’ve already seen the knock on affect of one article and part of me wishes I’d never bothered, as I saw the cycle go into a modus operandi of certain personalities jumping into the debate without actually offering little to no real change, my frustration just went to boredom.
Watching the Brit Awards to catch the only performance of the night that could otherwise be seen as a scheduling fix to appease the masses, Rihanna took to the stage to perform with Drake in what felt more like a mere interruption of the standard proceedings of the night. The British media had their requisite field day reporting about the racy, steamy performance as eyeballs exploded watching Rihanna patting her punanee and whining up against Drake, predictably the British trash talk Daily Mail headline ran -‘ Rihanna twerks up a storm’.
So the op-ed pieces and commentary about diversity will run on for the next few days, then it will be done, all things will be forgotten and we won’t think about it until the next year. That is until another batch of artists will be feeling left out in the cold, from the self-congratulatory proceedings that only ever seem to result in widely panned ratings falls in standard awards ceremony fodder.
So what do we care, really why the hell do we even care, last night had enough music dinosaurs on our tv screens, pretty much testify to the fact that you’re just not welcome to the party – so what to do? Deliberately timed or not, mandem just decided to take it somewhere else, real Brit music went to the Village Underground and the Section Boyz took to their own stage – and this was not some official afterparty.
The last time it was all about U.K Grime artists was this time last year, when Kanye pulled mandem up on the stage for his performance of ‘All Day”, and a media hype exploded for weeks with every blog that hadn’t noticed Grime before, racing to write about the scene.
While its debatable if any real dent was made in the metal of the music industry since that Kanye performance, the boyz still took it from the endz to the road and went on a full scale assault up and down the country with shows and festivals from Stormzy, Section, Skepta all turning up in and out of the country. Who would have thought another year would turn around where despite having not been invited to the party, UK Rap and Grime would make headlines yet again. This year it was Drake who brought the spotlight on the U.K scene as he jumped on stage with the Section Boyz and stirred up some next level mania.
So just like clockwork, every blog under the sun and every mainstream media outlet from Metro to The Mirror is again reporting on the U.K Rap and Grime scene with profile piece after profile piece already flooding into our timelines. For the next 12 months, British music will continue it’s ascent – mandem will be on the ground but the mainstream will dominate the media and the race won’t be a fair run. Radio will be relegated to the ones who think they know what you want to hear, token gestures will be made to appease you to make you feel you’re being heard. But quite frankly by next year I’m not expecting things to change drastically in the music industry.
Next year, we’ll have some more unsigned, broke and beaten artists, mandem will have the jumpman, artists will break previous chart records for unsigned acts but will it be enough to actually dent the real numbers that are counted? It’s all about the money and frankly while the fans keep buying tickets, downloads and queuing up the streams, if it’s not lining the industry pockets or pushing up ratings – then its gonna stay right where they want it – in the Endz.
I’m bored already, everyone’s talking diversity but who’s doing diversity really? Diversity is about everyone – not just one group, and everyone’s ranting, everyone’s got something to be angry about but it’s not like anyone wants to see a protest on their TV screen. In the end it’s your money they’ll be counting to measure musics worth and last night it was all about the worth of a £10 ticket that had people on Twitter gushing or gutted about how they got Drake, Skepta and Section Boyz in one.
OK SO I BUY A @SectionBoyz_ TICKET FOR £11.50 AND SKEPTA AND DRAKE COME OUT
— Amy (@amylouisecurran) February 24, 2016
Imagine paying £10 for a section boys ticket and Drake comes out
— Jack Mull (@J4CKMULLx) February 25, 2016
COMMON £10 TICKET TO SEE SECTION BOYS AND DRAKE COMES OUT
— ℳ (@makol__) February 24, 2016
If there’s anything that we know for sure, it’s that there’s a generation of young artists and fans, grinding hard, making endz meet, bumping trains, hoping that a tenner might just turn 1 into 3 for the price of 1.
Last night you may not have eaten any cake, but you got the cream!