George the Poet turns down MBE over British Empire: “The gesture is deeply appreciated, the wording is not”

George the Poet described the actions of the Empire as "pure evil"

Award-winning spoken word artist George the Poet has turned down an MBE because of what he describes as the “pure evil” of the British Empire.

George the Poet, whose real name is George Mpanga, was born in London and is of Ugandan heritage. Whilst he said he “deeply appreciated” the gesture, he could not accept the award because of “the colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa.”

Speaking on his podcast, ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast?’ he said: “Your forefathers grabbed my motherland, pinned her down and took turns.


“They did that every day for a couple hundred years and then left her to treat her own burns.”

George the Poet

The poet, who was shortlisted for the Critics Choice BRIT award in 2015, said whilst he appreciated the gesture, he couldn’t accept it.

He added: “The gesture is deeply appreciated, the wording is not. It will remain unacceptable to me until Britain takes institutional measures to address inter-generational disruption brought to millions as a result of her colonial exploits.”

“I see myself as student, admirer and friend of Britain…However the colonial trauma inflicted on children of Africa, entrenched across our geopolitical and macroeconomic realities prevents me from accepting the title Member of the British Empire.”

Earlier this year, M.I.A. accepted an MBE after revealing that her mother used to sew the medals for a living.


In an Instagram post M.I.A. wrote: “I’m honoured to have this honour, as it means a lot to my Mother. I want to honour what my mum spent many hours of her life doing!

“She is one of the 2 women in England who hand stitched these medals for the last 30 years. After receiving asylum my mum and cousin took this job in 1986, because it was the only non English speaking manual labour she could find.

“She spent her life in England hand sewing 1000s of medals for the Queen. No matter how I feel or what I think, my Mother was extremely proud of the job she had. It’s a very unique situation for me where I get to honour her most classiest minimum wage job ever.”


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