BBC Names Ed Sheeran Most Important Figure In Black And Urban Music

Written by Greg Moskovitch on 14th July, 2014

BBC Names Ed Sheeran Most Important Figure In Black And Urban Music

UK grime musician Wiley has criticised a recent list of the “most important UK artists in the scene” released by BBC 1Xtra, which is billed as “the UK’s leading black music station.” The list in question featured several white acts in top positions, including Ed Sheeran, who came in at number one.

Three of the top four acts on the 1Xtra Power List, which is curated by a selection of “industry experts” and lists the most important British artists currently active in the urban music scene, are white, including, in addition to Sheeran, Sam Smith at number four and Disclosure at number two.

Tinie Tempah was the highest-ranking black artist on the list, with Fuse ODG, Naughty Boy, Emeli Sande, and grime duo Krept & Konan all listed in the top ten. According to NME, among those on the voting panel were 1Xtra DJs Twin B, Yasmin Evans, Sarah-Jane Crawford, and DJ Target.

However, the questionable choices of the panel have irked Wiley, who took to Twitter to vent his frustration at their selections. “We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns he has influenced us. England music industry is backwards,” he wrote. “God bless those who try. People think I am mad. I am not mad, I can just see skullduggery from miles away. We have been bumped basically.”

Wiley insisted that he held no animosity towards Sheeran, but was instead dismayed at the situation of “the UK’s leading black music station” declaring a white artist to be number one. “Not taking anything away from Ed, he is sick. But black artist in England, we are getting bumped,” he wrote.

However, as SPIN note, Sam Smith has been the station’s most frequently played artist in 2014 so far, indicating that the list may be more reflective of airtime and the prevailing music tastes in the UK than a reflection of legitimate power and influence held in the country’s urban music scene.

Earlier this week, 1Xtra Music Manager Austin Daboh refuted claims by Kele Okereke that their playlist is dominated by white acts, telling Noisey their “commitment to black music and specifically black British artists will always be the cornerstone of what we do, it’s part of our distinctiveness.”

BBC 1Xtra’s Power List Top 20

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Disclosure
3. Tinie Tempah
4. Sam Smith
5. Rudimental
6. Emeli Sande
7. Naughty Boy
8. Katy B
9. Krept & Konan
10. Fuse ODG
11. Boy Better Know
12. Rita Ora
13. Lethal Bizzle
14. DJ Fresh
15. Jessie J
16. Wiley
17. Giggs
18. Laura Mvula
19. Wretch 32
20. Dizzee Rascal


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