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Listen to Clara Amfo’s powerful message on racism, mental health and blackness in culture

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BBC Radio One DJ Clara Amfo delivered a powerful speech on her radio show yesterday (June 2) dealing with racism, mental health, blackness in culture and the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis last Monday (May 25) following an altercation with police officers. Floyd, who was African-American, was killed when a white police officer appeared to kneel on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest. Former police officer Derek Chauvin has since been sacked and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

With protests calling for racial equality taking place across the world and millions taking part in a ‘blackout’ on social media, Amfo delivered an impassioned opening to her BBC Radio One show yesterday explaining how the death of Floyd had left her distraught and unable to attend work the previous day.

“Now, before I get into it, I just want to say that I am fully aware that we are in the middle of this devastating pandemic and I am fully aware that I am not a medical professional or a frontline worker,” she told her listeners. “I am just a woman who does a radio show, but my job is very public-facing so I want to talk to you.

“Now, if you have small children or would rather not hear what I’m about to say, because I am going to discuss race and violence, please check out something else on the BBC Sounds app for the next few minutes. If not, then I really welcome you to stay with me.”

“Now as you know at Radio One, we talk a lot about mental health, and mine was in a really bad way yesterday. In fact, it has been for the past few days in particular in relation to the death of George Floyd.

“George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died whilst being held under arrest. Now I didn’t have the mental strength to face you guys yesterday. To ask, ‘Hi, how was your weekend?’ like I usually do with my happy intention, because I know that my weekend was terrible. I was sat on my sofa crying, angry, confused, and also knowing, stuck at the news of yet another brutalised black body.”

She continued: “Knowing how the world enjoys blackness and seeing what happened to George, we black people get the feeling that people want our culture but they do not want us. In other words, you want my talent but you don’t want me. There is a false idea that racism, and in this case anti-blackness, is just name-calling and physical violence when it’s so much more insidious than that.”

“One of my favourite thinkers is a woman called Amanda Seales and I feel it deeply when she says this: ‘You cannot enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues.’ And I say that with my chest.”

After encouraging listeners to tune in to shows by Annie Mac (dedicated to black artists who have enriched the musical landscape) and Seanie B and Ace (who discussed their experiences as black men in the UK), Amfo concluded: “I want to say to our black listeners that I hope you feel seen and heard today.

“And to those of you that have already, let me know that you are doing the work to be committed to doing better – I see you, so let’s do this. Let’s all be anti-racist.”

Many names from the world of music have spoken out to call for justice for Floyd, as well as for an end to systemic racism in all forms.

For more information or to donate to the Movement For Black Lives visit here, and visit here for anti-racism resources.

The post Listen to Clara Amfo’s powerful message on racism, mental health and blackness in culture appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.

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The Streets’ Mike Skinner says he “shouldn’t have played” Bristol’s Colston Hall

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Mike Skinner, The Streets

The StreetsMike Skinner has said he “shouldn’t have played at” Bristol venue Colston Hall.

The space is named after former slave owner Edward Colston, but is set to be renamed later this year.

Speaking to the Independent, Skinner said he felt “a bit guilty” about performing at the venue. “Massive Attack haven’t been playing there for years,” he said. “At the time, I just thought it was just a name.”

A statue of Colston was recently pulled down by protestors and dumped in Bristol Harbour, which Skinner called a “fantastic moment”. “It was driven as much by white guilt as black power,” he said. “Even Piers Morgan backs it. If he backs it, I’m pretty confident that we’re good to go.”

Bristol’s Colston Hall (Picture: Alamy)

The musician also commented on the recent Black Lives Matter protests around the world, calling them “incredibly moving”. “It’s easy for me to say, but I don’t think racist people are the problem, even though they are being quite vocal on Twitter,” Skinner added.

“I think racist systems are by orders of magnitude more damaging. I think what’s going on at the moment is people are starting to understand the difference between racist people and racist systems.”

The Streets shared their latest new song ‘Falling Down’ last month (June 23) – the latest track to be taken from their upcoming mixtape, ‘None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive’. The record will be released on July 10 and will feature IDLES, Ms Banks, Greentea Peng and more.

Meanwhile, the group are also one of a number of artists who are set to play the UK’s first drive-in gigs this summer. The Utilita Live From The Drive-In series will see artists including The Streets, Kaiser Chiefs and Dizzee Rascal perform across 12 venues as fans watch on from their cars.

The post The Streets’ Mike Skinner says he “shouldn’t have played” Bristol’s Colston Hall appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.

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DaBaby show criticised as social distancing measures don’t appear to be enforced

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DaBaby

Concert promoters have been criticised after footage from DaBaby’s Fourth Of July show appears to show social distancing measures weren’t enforced.

The star performed at Cosmopolitan Premier Lounge in Decatur, Georgia last night (July 4), despite coronavirus cases in the state rapidly increasing.

Ahead of the show, organiser MyDJDre told TMZ that the venue would only be filled to 40 percent of its usual 4,000-person capacity and there would be a no mask, no entry rule in place, with masks required to stay on for the duration of the event. Attendees would also be required to have a temperature check done and answer health screening questions at the door.

DaBaby was also said to only be allowing three people on stage with him. However, video footage from the event shows a row of people stood at the back of the stage, albeit seemingly at a safe distance from the star (although not from each other).

In the crowd, meanwhile, many fans could be seen with no masks on or masks pulled down onto their chins and not adhering to social distancing measures.

 

Fans criticised the promoter of the show on social media, calling holding the event “irresponsible”. “I wouldn’t be bragging that “the whole city came out” in the middle of a pandemic,” commented on Instagram user on one of the promoter’s videos.

Another added: “This is so irresponsible. You should be ashamed.”

On Twitter, more fans expressed their concerns over the show. “I absolutely love Dababy and his music but this is such an awful idea,” wrote one fan. “Risking thousands of lives for a silly ass concert is so foolish. Cancel this ridiculousness.”

Another gig is set to take place at the same venue tonight (July 5) with Moneybagg Yo, Blac Youngsta and Lil Marlo.

DaBaby’s show follows country star Chase Rice performing to a huge crowd of unmasked fans in Tennessee last month (June 27). The musician later responded to criticism in an Instagram video, saying: “I understand that there’s a lot of varying opinions, a lot of different opinions on COVID-19, how it works with live music crowds and what all that looks like.”

He told his fans: “My biggest thing is y’all. Y’all are why I get to write songs, why I get to tour the country, why I get to do live shows and sing you songs and you guys sing them back. You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge, huge priority.”

In the UK, only 13 percent of grassroots venues have said they could reopen with two-metre social distancing rules in place.

The post DaBaby show criticised as social distancing measures don’t appear to be enforced appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.

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Axl Rose says his political tweets come “from a sense of outrage, obligation n’ responsbility”

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Axl Rose, Guns N’ Roses

Axl Rose has defended his politically outspoken tweets in a new post, saying they come “from a sense of outrage, obligation n’ responsibility”.

The Guns N’ Roses frontman has often used his Twitter account to criticise Donald Trump and yesterday (July 4) spoke out against the US Surgeon General.

“My disdain 4 current administration n’ what I perceive as its threat to democracy is no secret,” he tweeted today (July 5). “I’m not all that active w/social media n’ tho I more than appreciate anyone who takes an interest in something I might post I don’t really have an interest in how many followers or retweets etc. I have as my political or social issue posts rn’t about me. They’re about the issues.”

 

He continued: “In general my posts in regard to current events, politics or social issues r usually coming from a sense of outrage, obligation n’ responsibility to say something at times when I feel not to is being complicit (as opposed to a desire for attention or self promotion.)

“I’m nobody, just a citizen that like everyone else has my own opinions n’ believes in my heart that ultimately I want what’s best for not just r country but for humanity, wildlife n’ r environment n’ other’s as opposed to right, left or any other wing fascism r at least in this country free to disagree.”

Rose added that some people might consider his tweets “a lewd or immature response or opinion”, but said he would “voice an opinion” when someone in the government or public eye “says or does something that in my view supports or caters to the irresponsibility of this administration or various issues w/government or law enforcement”.

In his tweets yesterday, the musician called US Surgeon General Jerome Adams a “coward” and a “piece of shit” over comments he had made about Fourth of July celebrations. Rose also urged Adams to resign after he said American citizens “had to look at their individual risk” before attending any Independence Day gatherings.

In May, the frontman became embroiled in a Twitter feud with US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after he criticised the government figure for how he handled the impact of coronavirus on the US economy.

The post Axl Rose says his political tweets come “from a sense of outrage, obligation n’ responsbility” appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.

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