It was a night when the BRIT Awards had a clear mission to establish its commitment to diversity and social issues. Some might argue that an awards show, whether music or film, has no place being used as a platform for personal views of the artists and winners. But the night was full of references to the lack of female nominees and a succession of performers and winners like Stormzy, Lizzo, Dave and Tyler the Creator who may not be familiar to much of the wider British public. Dave performed his track Black and changed the final verses to include the Prime Minister and Meghan Markle.
He rapped: “It is racist whether or not it feels racist. The truth is our prime minister is a real racist. They say, you should be grateful we’re the least racist. I say, the least racist is still racist.”
Later on, he added: “If you don’t wanna get it, then you’re never gonna get it, how the news treats Kate versus how they treat Meghan.”
This refers to the widely-promoted belief that sections of the media and British public turned on Meghan Markle purely because of her race, not other issues related to her behaviour or the wider situation between members of the Royal Family.
BRITS 2020 winner Dave calls PM Boris Johnson a RACIST
BRITS winner Dave says treatment of Meghan Markle is racist
Dave also paid tribute to the recently murdered young activist Jack Merritt, who was killed in the recent London Bridge terror attack.
Dave rapped: “Rest in peace Jack Merritt, you’re my brother in arms, there’s tears in our eyes and love in our hearts.
“We never had the same background, culture or background, you devoted your life to giving others a chance. And for that, I’m so taken aback, because it gave us all a voice, I have to say it for Jack.”
BRITS winner Dave blasts UK racism
The performance also included a plea for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, many of whom have yet to be permanently rehoused.
The political tirade continued with demands for reparation for the generations who were brought over from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1970 to fill labour shortages after the Second World War.
in 2018 a number of them faced wrongful deportation, incarceration and loss of benefits after being accused of being in the UK illegally. It was estimated up to 57,000 could be affected. The resulting uproar resulted in the resignation of Home Secretay Amber Rudd.
Dave rapped: “We want rehabilitation, that would be amazing, our Grenfell victims still need accommodation. And we still need support for the Windrush generation, reparations for the time our people spent on plantations.”
As well as performing on the night, Dave took home the biggest prize of the night. The Brixton-born star won Album of the Year for Psychodrama, beating out Stormzy, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi and Michael Kiwanuka.
The 21-year-old also made his acting debut last year in Season Three of the Netflix drama Top Boy.
Reactions to his performance tonight were very divided. Although many on social media praised his bold political and social stance, others felt the night was no place for such comments.
One viewer blasted: “Seems to me like Dave is the real racist here. Why try dividing people on skin colour?! It’s nothing to do with that. Calling our PM a racist is out of order. The BRITs should be ashamed at broadcasting this utter bile. Words matter, esp after this week.”
But one countered the argument writing: “Imagine thinking Dave/Stormzy calling out racism on the Brits is racist against whites. Were whites used as slaves & locked in rooms & set on fire? Get f****d, racism towards black people is still so prominent even in the 21st century they’ve got every right to bring attention 2 it.”
Another said: “Wow..what a pile of poop that was. I felt like I was living in Inner-city London. What was the idea of Dave singing about being black? If Lewis Capaldi had sung about being white there would have been uproar! You’re fuelling racism not diffusing it FFS.”
Another added: “Does anyone care what Dave thinks ? Most people are getting fed up of Oscars and Brits being used by people so far up themselves, telling us what they think or giving a lecture. Take your award and sit down. Stick to rapping.”
However another viewer said: “About 4 bars of pure fire from Dave. The idiocracy of celebrating being the ‘least’ racist… take a bow son!!”
And another said: “Can’t get over Dave’s performance at the #Brits yesterday. Seeing a Nigerian rapper making a statement with music makes me proud. Goosebumps yo.”