MPs warn that “continued discrimination” is threatening grime music

"I had a venue cancel on me on the day that I was meant to go there"

Grime artists face “continued discrimination” that could impact the future of the genre, MPs have warned.

A new report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee claims to have “uncovered evidence of persisting prejudice against urban music and grime artists.”

Despite acts such as Stormzy, Wiley and Skepta catapulting the genre to the mainstream, other less established grime acts reportedly face increasing challenges when trying to perform across the UK.

As part of the new investigation, rapper ShaoDow told MPs how he was often rejected from London venues when he attempted to put on shows.

“I had a venue cancel on me on the day that I was meant to go there,” he told the committee, per a BBC report.

Stormzy

Stormzy

“I was booked for a performance in a club and called them ahead of time to say, ‘I am on my way’, and they said, ‘Oh, by the way, we were just listening to your music. You make hip-hop.’

“I said, ‘Yes’, and he said, ‘Oh, we cannot do that here, we will lose our licence.’

It comes after the Metropolitan Police announced in 2017 that they were repealing the controversial 696 live music order form, which was originally introduced to prevent violence at gigs. It frequently drew accusations of being used to unfairly target genres based on the race of their artists.

In the report, the DCMS said it welcomed the scrapping of form 696, but warned that it is “concerning to hear that prejudices against urban acts persist”.

DCMS Committee chairman Damian Collins said: “When it comes to live performance, it’s shocking to hear that grime artists are continuing to face prejudice, which risks hampering the success of one of our most successful musical exports.”

This comes after the same report targeted secondary ticketing site Viagogo – and took the unusual step of warning music fans to not purchase tickets from the firm.

“We believe that Viagogo has yet to prove itself a trustworthy operator given its history of resisting compliance, court orders and parliamentary scrutiny, and flouting consumer law,” it stated.