I reported earlier on that a journalist working for The Metro newspaper faced a wave of criticism today, after he asked UK rapper Bashy if he thought “music was a way out for young black people now, like boxing used to be”, during an interview.

Since then the newspaper has received a wave of complaint emails and reader Susan Younis has kindly forwarded me the response email she received from The Metro’s Feature Editor Kieran Meeke.

Hi Susan

Thank you for your letter and my apologies that you found the question offensive.

The 60secs format is very tight and it is often necessary to ask very complex questions in a shorthand way. Bashy enjoyed this question as it was an opening for him to make exactly some of the points you raise in your note: that there are many more openings now than there used to be.

Part of the reason for the interview was to encourage all teenagers,not just black ones, to get involved in their community and thereby raise their horizons from some of the stereotypes of the past. This was intended as a positive interview with a positive message and I am sorry you have found a negative note in it.

We have heard from Bashy’s team today that they are delighted with the interview.


Kieran Meeke
Features Editor

And in another reply to a complaint email, a by now rattled Kieran issues a veiled threat.

I find that this question is now the subject of a chain complaint – some from people who obviously have not read the entire interview. I find it sad that when Metro interviews someone such as Bashy, the reaction is so negative, with, frankly, the ‘racism’ card being waved so readily. The only possible outcome will be to make minority subject even less likely to be interviewed by our team wary of facing such accusations over seemingly innocent questions. Click here to read full reply.

Well if Bashy didn’t take offence to the question, and both artist/management are delighted with the interview then I guess it’s all alright then Kieran!

But  if we are not alright with it,  then you will ban interviews involving ‘minority subjects’ from the newspaper?   

And do you refer to black people as being ‘minority subjects’ on a daily basis?

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

UPDATE: I just got word that The Metro has now removed the article from their site.

UPDATE: The article is back up and still available to read on The Metro site.

19 replies »

  1. It makes no difference whether they leave it or put it away. All they can do is try and pick themselves up and hope to God they learn from it.

    Same old same old. I do not expect anything better.

  2. He wants us to beg. Real fool honestly. These people do not have people skills.

    The problem with this society is that when people are on their jobs, they operate like machines and have a kind of set fixed rules they follow without any kind of humanness in there. You have questions given to you and you do not know whether they are significant or relevant but you are out there to do a job and that’s all that matters. There’s not much human contact there.

    He is crap at his job.

  3. this guy is like 53 years old, and comes from a generation where they saw Black people this why and it was fine, seems like his mind is still stuck in the 80’s when it comes to the black community…

  4. Maybe I’m just really ignorant, but boxing actually used to be a way out of poverty for our people, no? Why is this being considered racist?

  5. Not that they were good at it like they are at music, no? Give them credit. LOL

  6. I read the Metro UK article, and found no mention of “all” Black people in any context in any of the boxing-related questions…he simply asked [and I copy/paste]:

    “Is music a way out for young black people now, like boxing used to be?”

    Many Black people turned to pugilism as a way to escape the streets. Many of them still do. All he asked was if music has replaced boxing in this context.

    So why is this racist again? Maybe because I’m from the US and not familiar w/this particular journalist, perhaps?

  7. If he was aware of what black people get up to nowadays and their struggles other than music, he would know that that question in the uk is not that relevant, today. What was he going on about the stereotypes and what was that answer Bashy gave about other 40 ways?

    Where does escaping the streets come into, in the uk? There are children on the streets, they get into all sorts of things and certainly music is not the only thing. There are those who aspire to do other things other than music. How many of them are running into music to escape the streets? Haven’t things changed? I do not see the relevance of this question at all now. Did Bashy get into music to escape the streets as well? Where did that question come from?

    Is that all we are good for, music and sports?

  8. Like i said, when you live with people in the society that have no interest in other people, and then all of a sudden pick an interest when they are successsful, this is what you get.

    There will never be a proper representation of minority in the Uk because people do not really know what goes on with them and how they get to where they do. Some have looked after their families through doing odd jobs, many have graduated, but all that is overlooked and all they are interested in is the successful person on the front page who they assume represents everyone.

    He may not have been racist, but him thinking that he is doing us favours by interviewing us, while misrepresenting us is counter productive. Especially in the Metro which is read by thousands.

    For how long have the boxing days been over, how many make it into the music industry now (minority)? The money comes along with it like any other job. Why again music? Is it because Bashy is an artist? Why Music? What century is he in?

    This is why all this celebrity obsession they have has overclouded their judgement and all they know are the “CELEBRITIES” and not the common people out there.

    He has no clue what is going on in the black community and is obviously misrepresenting us. If Bashy is happy with the interview, that is fine with him, for the rest of the black community that are doing other things other than music, it’s not justified.

    These journalists only know celebrities who sell their papers and think they can use them to represent the whole nation or race, even when they are nonsensical. He deserved the backlash.

  9. Sometimes people under estimate the power white journalists have and how manipulative they can be. Even if an error arises, they will easily get off with it.

    Music and sports is the only place they get to have contact and they think they know it all. This society is closed off to eachother and everyone keeps to themselves. People hardly know what goes on with each other and when they come into close contact, they do not know what to say. If he is a trained journalist, he should know better.

    Misrepresentaion is part of their job description as long as it sells thier papers. If he doesn’t want to do the interviews, he can stick it.

    The issue of race in the uk is very sensitive because it is worse than people portray it to be. There’s too much pretence and people will react easily. When people struggle on thier own under difficult situations and discrimination to get to where they do and then are reduced to just music and sports, i am afraid, that is what you get.

    There are several openings and many people have taken them even if when you are a different race, you have to work ten times harder to prove yourself than the white people. When it comes to jobs, they still have the racial priviledge and them summing us into just two things in thier comfort, is not right.

    I cannot even begin to explain how race is a big issue in this society and how it goes by without being acknowledged. There is surpressed hatred and frustrations among people that only one can know if they have gone through it. People smile at you when you turn your back the knives come out. Work places are the best places to find out. They want to keep you below and then misrepresent you at the same time? No thank you.

    Racism will always be there but the angry outbursts are a result of surpressed emotions and frustration and anyone will have it when an opportunity arises.

  10. This system of using artists or actors for good causes sometimes makes me sick. It has got children into a delusional state. They see it as a way to a glamarous lifestyle, not even an escape. Education is not a priority anymore. Everyone wants to be famous for doing all sorts of things. The priorities are mixed up. I cannot stand this celebrity culture.

  11. The children(of all colour) escape on to the streets, into prostitution, theft, drugs, and into care, self harm, anorexia in UK. These are the ones who need first priority. But these are subjects one cannot put into 6o seconds.

    People have got to realise that the children who are suffering are not only black, on and off the streets, in their homes. Why do these journalists attempt to tackle narrowly subjects that are so important ? The future generation are the least important. When they stop looking at colour and realise that this is a national problem, they might get somewhere. It is ridiculous and it is getting out of hand.

    Some of the parents are the worst for examples and sometimes it’s no wonder. They can sit and point fingures at the minority races but they do not notice what is under their noses.

    The celebrity culture especially in UK has run out of hand because they are famous for literally anything. If things fail for these minor celebrities, there’s nothing much to fall back on and then they turn to desperate measures, and this the children do not know. They are left in a trance.

  12. This society is so divided and classed, some places u go 2 u find them concentrated with a particular race. How then can you know what goes on the other side? The integration is on a small scale. Who cares who goes through what? What the media says, sticks, no one will bother to rectify it.

  13. I don’t understand why they are not seen as people who choose to go into music, especially in this era, other than an escapism. Some of these kids are just good at it and would rather pursue it even when they come from stable backgrounds. These days people have choices even under difficult circumstances. Even if it means doing odd jobs.

  14. Give us more info on why dmac. We might be missing something here. Is every uk young artist escaping something eg street, poverty….

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June 2009
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