Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke says black British music culture is being eroded

"The people who are reaping the greatest rewards from black music are not black" he writes

Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke has hit out at what he says has been an erosion of black British music culture.

In a piece for Noisey, the Bloc Party frontman argues that the axing of DJS Robbo Ranx and DJ CJ Beatz from 1Xtra reflects a wider problem that black British musical identity is being eroded by a “conscious courting of the mainstream”.

“The question of a cohesive Black British musical identity is more than just a question of sales and demographics, it’s a institutional problem. The UK has an issue with racism that we are unwilling to address – it is reflected in negative attitudes towards Black British music, but also towards Black British culture in general,” he writes.

“This is the narrative that accompanies every popular black art form; it is a cool little underground thing until some major corporation and/or a white audience buys into it. From Miley’s recent approbation of the Dirty South dance move twerking to Sam Smith’s note-for-note pastiche of Atlanta soul. What is the message here? That black culture can only be relevant when it is declawed and can appeal to the masses?”

He also argues that mainstream pop culture, from Justin Bieber to Iggy Azalea and Disclosure are “indebted to black culture”, but that “It seems obvious that in this present climate the people who are reaping the greatest rewards from black music are not black.”

Read the full piece here.