Northampton rapper defends brandishing Boris Johnson severed head manikin at music awards

Rapper slowthai has defended his actions at last week’s Hyundai Mercury Prize ceremony where, during his performance, he held aloft a manikin’s severed head which depicted Boris Johnson.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 11:43 am
Northampton rapper slowthai has said 'no Boris johnsons were hurt' in his Mercury Music Prize performance

The Northampton rapper missed out on the award to South London rapper Dave, but stole the headlines for his performance of Doorman, during which he also wore a t-shirt depicting the PM in different positions spelling out the same obscenities he shouted during the song.

In a statement, slowthai said: “Last night I held a mirror up to this country and some people didn’t like the reflection.

“Yet this is exactly where we’re been taken, cut off and at all costs.

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“The people in power who are trying to isolate and divide us and aren’t the ones who will feel its effects the hardest.

“They’re not the ones queuing at the food banks, not the ones navigating universal credit and not the ones having to deal with systematic oppression and hate crimes at the hands of privileged politicians who say what they want without fear and consequence.

“We as a people are not being looked after and our best interests are not being served by those in government - this is their job and they’re not doing it well enough.

“This ‘act’ was a metaphor for what this government is doing to our country except what I did was present it in plain sight.

“No Boris Johnson’s were hurt in the making of the slowthai performance. I don’t condone violence in any form.”

The performance at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith was heavily cut by broadcasters BBC4.

Also performing at the ceremony were Idles, Black Midi, Fontaines DC, Anna Calvi and winner Dave.

slowthai was nominated for his acclaimed debut Nothing Great About Britain.

The album went to number 9 in the UK Album Chart when it was released and features guest appearances by Jaykae and Skepta as well as production credits for Kwes Darko and JD Reid.

Upon release it was lauded as one of the most important debut albums in recent years.

The Mercury Prize is awarded each year for the best album released in the UK by a British or Irish act.