Dear, Asian Music Industry
02 Feb. 2011

Dear, Asian Music Industry


Sighs!

Here we go again. It seems my first letter was read but unnoticed [Read Dear, Wiley Here]. I don’t expect some people from the Asian industry to agree or champion what I’m about to write but at this point, enough is enough.

Yesterday while I was looking forward another week, I get news that Wiley will be performing at the Asian Music Awards on March 10th.

First the Asian Network gives him a platform, now the Asian Music Awards? What’s next a cover on Asiana Magazine?

You are supposed to be the pinnacle of Asian Music and you are choosing to give a platform to an artist who openly said on BBC Radio said that he favours his own race above any other. Is it me or does that not sound like Nick Griffin? But put that aside, what was the response from the Asian Music industry? To cuddle Wiley and say “hey, let’s talk, we’ll put you on a stage and you can apologise”.

What? He can’t apologise right now to his 40,000 followers on Twitter? He can’t go on Ustream or issue a statement apologising? You are telling me, the same guy who said to Bobby Friction “I’ll apologise when they do”, is now going to stand up at The Roundhouse, perform in front of cameras and then apologise?

You know what I think of that…

He’s had and continues to have the opportunity to apologise and hasn’t. And quite frankly I don’t want an apology, I want to root out racial ignorance. That is what we should all aim for as people. Racial ignorance gets us nowhere. It divides us and whether it happened in school or not, that’s no justification because it was wrong then and it’s wrong now. As I’ve said previously, we need to educate those younger to us; otherwise we are stuck in a circle of ignorance that is detrimental to everyone’s progression as people.

In the spirit of communication, I called one of the organisers for the Asian Music Awards. Credit to him, we had a frank 30 minute conversation where I was able to give my opinions on the matter and he gave his. I won’t disclose what exactly was said because I’m not that type of person. However, nothing changed from that conversation.

What saddens me is that there are people out there, who agree that “racial banter” happened in schools and therefore making it right. I’m not the brightest guy in the world but are we in school now? Am I sitting at a desk learning about Pythagoras’ therum? NO!

We are in the real world where everyone suffers unnecessary racism. And because it happened in the classroom, DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT!

In a week, in ONE WEEK, Wiley has been given the two biggest Asian Music platforms and what did he do? Hurl back racist abuse at teenagers who apparently “started it”.

From Wiley’s point of view, he’s going “job well done”. While the Asian music industry is saying “we are dealing with the problem?”  NO YOUR NOT!

You first gave it credibility and now you are giving it power!

It’s a different industry but let me digress for just a moment. Richard Keys and Andy Gray (above), two presenters who built Sky Sports’ Football coverage were found guilty of sexism towards a female lineswoman.  Despite the fact that they were at Sky from the start, they got sacked because what they said was terrible. Whether it’s in the public eye or not, you can’t get away with saying stuff at that. Ron Akinkson who once described Marcel Desailly with a horrible racist term. He thought he was saying something off air, that apparently makes it ok? Even if it was private, it’s still wrong.  

Now click the link below and that’s what some of the Asian Music industry have done.

I’ve interviewed Wiley before, he spoke highly of the Bhangra scene. But you know where the Asian Music industry continues to go wrong in this whole fiasco?  They are focusing on who Wiley is and NOT what he said. When you focus and scrutinise what his comments, reactionary or not, then you’ll come to a place where I am.

There is and will be a lot of Asians who will say, “Sumit your going on about this way too much. It’s been blown out of proportion and we know Wiley isn’t a racist, we know him from back in the day, how can he be racist at 32 years old?”

While I value your response, doesn’t mean you are right. Firstly, just because your 32, doesn’t mean you can’t hold views that are racist. Moreover Wiley has proved he’s held these views before he turned 32. He told  (Wiley Voice) ”Bob” Fricition, he’s simply doing what happened at school. And of course, we all know if it happened in school, its has to be oooooooookaaaay (!).

Secondly, this whole incident wasn’t blown out of proportion.  When you tweet a Sikh person and say “Allah is going to kill you”, you are deliberately trying to play on racial tension between Muslims and Sikhs. That isn’t funny. It’s not constructive and that isn’t ethnic banter. It’s pure ignorance and the top tier of the Asian Music industry are now giving it a platform.

 

So essentially what the Asian Music Awards and their “proud” sponsors and media partners are saying, is that it’s ok to take the piss out of Asians because your reward will be to get a spot on the Asian Grammys to apologise,

Well done to Lebara, B4U, The Roundhouse, Media Moguls, Desi Hits, Voodoo Entertianment and the BBC Asian Network. All of your brands are attached to this. You are all credible in your own right and unless you do something, you part of this nonsense. Congrats (!)

By the way, the highlights of the show will be on the red button so you can all watch Wiley redeem himself on TV. I don’t even want to talk about how the hard-working artists who struggle everyday to be at that Award show and dont get invited (that’s another letter).

Let’s deal with Wiley performing though. When he does take to the stage with Mumzy (dude what are you doing?), there will be people booing, it’s inevitable but Wiley will play it smart. He’s going to turn the tables back and say “yo I came to apologise and you’ve booed me”. He will then make it about how he tried to apologise and the Asian community booed him and we then move further move away from the original problem.

Don’t get me wrong I understand why the organisers are asking Wiley to be part of the proceedings on March 10th. I also understand why the Asian Network gave Wiley airtime. It’s business. It’s rating. It’s controversy and that unfortunately sells. I was just hoping for once, the Asian Music industry could put their foot down and say “hey, enough is enough”. 

We had a perfect opportunity to show that racism to anybody should not be tolerated whatsoever. We’ve miss that opportunity.

The Black and Asian men and women who stood up for us against racism, they are being forgotten to our kids because we’ve become so comfortable that we can allow this type of ignorance to slide.

The only reason why I’ve come to this conclusion is because the biggest Asian outlets are giving credence and a platform to someone who was ignorant to whom you represent, that’s the worst thing about it. Surely some of us remember how racist NF members went around wanting the smack the turbans of Skih people’s head? Fast forward to 2011 and when a rapper says it to a teen, we give him radio and award time.

Have we become so comfortable that rather than standing up for your beliefs, you’d rather get ratings and money? Unfortunately that is the sad fact of today’s world.

You are allowing someone who transgressed, a platform. I’m longer pissed at him because now you are rewarding him for saying stupid things. But if that’s the standard of entry, you should get the racist and despicable Asian people who tweeted racist slurs at Wiley as well.

 Personally I feel demoralised and ashamed. Not because of me being Asian but any racism saddens me. The last time I can remember feeling this demoralised is when I saw Michael Richards on stage at the comedy club. Situations like this make me feel like I should give up doing what I do. Then I stop to think about those who don’t have a voice or those so comfortable with ignorance who think what happened is ok. This is bigger than my feelings. It’s deeper than Rap.

Just a sidebar, Wiley was so apologetic that a few days after the incident tweets, he said the way “you lot are going on, I should join the BNP lol”.

And speaking of the BNP, Nick Griffin has publicly said he favours his own race. Sounds familiar anybody?

When you go on BBC radio like Wiley did and say you favour your own race, that’s the same mentality as the BNP. I’m not saying that Wiley is as bad as the BNP because they’ve done some abhorrent things but wants the difference in Wiley saying he favours black people above others and Nick Griffin saying the same thing? There isn’t. They are both ignorant and those views should be stamped out. I don’t believe in just helping your own people, you should help anyone regardless of colour and race. But a question to the BBC Asian Network, Asian Music Awards, Lebara, B4U and Media Moguls PR, why on earth are you choosing to give this a platform?

In the words of Jeru The Damaja, ya all played yourself.

 

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About the author

Sumit
Editor & Owner Of The Hip Hop Chronicle UK


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