The BBC has been slated for awarding Ed Sheeran top spot on a black and urban ‘power list’.
In fact, three out of the top four acts on the ‘saddest list in music history’ are white, with second and fourth place going to Disclosure and Guy and Howard Lawrence. In third spot is Tinie Tempah.
While not exclusively named a black and urban list, the 1XtraPowerList was promoted by the BBC as a collection of the “most important UK artists in the black and urban music scene.”
Sheeran, from Framlingham, Suffolk, is the son of an art lecturer. Fifth on the list, Sam Smith, is the son of an ex City Banker.
Grime artist Wiley, who came in at 16 in the 20-strong list, described the list as the ‘saddest’ in music history.
Not taking anything away from Ed…He is sick. But black artists in England, we are getting bumped… We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns he has influenced us.
As reported by The Independent, a BBC spokesman said:
Artists were considered on variables such as sales statistics, quality of music and impact across the wider industry – it is not about the colour of someone’s skin.
Austin Daboh, music manager at 1Xtra, also defended the decision, saying:
We are a station that cares very deeply about black music. From Stylo G to Fekky these are all acts that were played, supported and guided by 1Xrta, often before anyone else card.
There is definitely a wider debate to be had around the mainstream support for black music. Legitimate concerns have been raised around the pressure some artists feel to compete commercially.