BBC says it ‘supports black artists’ after 1Xtra Power List criticism

Wiley hit out after Ed Sheeran topped the poll of the most important artists in the UK

The BBC has defended Radio 1Xtra’s Power List, which rates the most influential artists relevant to its readers, after it faced criticism when Ed Sheeran was voted top of the poll.

Wiley, who was Number 16 in the list, was among those to criticise 1Xtra – which describes itself as “the UK’s leading black music station” – accusing it of representing a “backwards” music industry in Britain. “We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns he has influenced us… Lol,” he wrote. Sheeran, who topped the list, was followed by Disclosure, Tinie Tempah, Sam Smith and Rudimental in the top five.

However, Austin Daboh, BBC Radio 1Xtra’s music manager, defended the list, telling BBC Newsbeat: “Every single day of the week, every single hour of the day we support black artists and other races that make black music sounds.”

“I think that anyone who wants to bring race into the discussion is probably a little bit misguided,” he added.

The list was compiled by a panel of DJs on the station, as well as other industry experts, and was chaired by Breakfast Show presenters Twin B and Yasmin Evans, with initial suggestions made by 1Xtra listeners on social media sites.

Daboh also said that 1Xtra is essential in getting acts like Sheeran, whose second LP ‘X’ is this year’s biggest-selling album so far, onto mainstream radio stations. “Ed Sheeran’s another example of who 1Xtra found, we helped nurture,” he said. “Maybe his journey onto eventually the Radio 1 playlist and other big playlists around the world might have been a little bit slower if it wasn’t for 1Xtra’s support.”