Ed Sheeran's Top Rank On BBC's 'Black Music Station' Causes Contention
    • TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014

    • Posted by: Sarah Kasarsky

    On Friday, July 11th, BBC's 1Xtra radio station released its "Power List" of this past year's 20 most influential artists in the UK. As 1Xtra tags itself on its Twitter page as "The UK's leading black music station," it inevitably stirred up some controversy when Ed Sheeran was rewarded with the number one spot.

    Rapper Wiley, who received the number 16 slot, took Sheeran's crowning placement to heart, tweeting feverishly after the list was announced:

    These initial tweets were largely supported by Wiley's followers and fans, whose retweets and comments echoed that Sheeran, regardless of his musical talent, was misplaced on the list. Fans replied with statements such as, "preach bro," and "it's all gone sick." Yesterday, Wiley's heated tweets continued, and began to address race in a more direct, aggressive way:

    With these more contentious tweets, the initial positive feedback and support from his fans quickly diminished. Responses have included statements such as, "there's no such thing as 'black music,' music is music," "surely music is music no? Not black white green or yellow?" and "[what the] fuck is 'black music? Urban music maybe, but all genres of music are multi-cultural."

    These critical responses to Wiley's opinionated posts, and Sheeran's leading position on the power list, affirm that musical boundaries are ebbing. As music charts and hit stations feature artists of countless ethnicities and cultures daily, the demand for racially and culturally specific stations and lists may be now antiquated. This incident highlights the growing fluidity between musical genres and that it is only on the rise, putting the true necessity of these divisions into question.

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