Music

Rina Sawayama Speaks Out About Exclusion From the BRIT Awards

“If arts awards are creating their own sort of version of border control around their eligibility, I think that’s really problematic.”

By
346 Hypes

Rina Sawayama Speaks Out About Exclusion From the BRIT Awards

“If arts awards are creating their own sort of version of border control around their eligibility, I think that’s really problematic.”

Rina Sawayama has responded to her exclusion from the BRIT Awards, which barred the British-Japanese artist from submitting her critically acclaimed album, SAWAYAMA, for consideration. When the BRIT Awards announced the shortlist for its Hyundai Mercury Prize, fans and critics alike — including Elton John — pointed out the fact that Sawayama was overlooked.

Sawayama has indefinite leave to remain (ILR), a visa category that grants permanent residency and work rights in the UK. Despite her contributions to music — and the fact that she has lived in the UK since she was a toddler — Sawayama’s ILR status renders her ineligible to enter the Mercury Prize.

“I’ve just lived [in the UK] all my life. I went to summer school in Japan, and that’s literally it,” Sawayama told VICE. ”But feel like I’ve contributed to the UK in a way that I think is worthy of being celebrated, or at least being eligible to be celebrated,” the artist said, adding that the situation makes her question her identity. “[As an immigrant], you get to a level when you don’t have to worry about your nationality and your status and whether you fit into this country. Things like that bring into sharp focus, like, whether I am even British”

Sawayama hopes that, going forward, the BRIT Awards will expand its definition of “Britishness” to include a wider range of people. “If arts awards are creating their own sort of version of border control around their eligibility, I think that’s really problematic,” she said. “It’s up to the award bodies to decide what Britishness really encompasses —  the very things that they celebrate, which is diversity and opportunity.”

BPI, the governing body for the BRIT Awards, issued a statement responding to Sawayama’s concerns: “Both The BRIT Awards and the Hyundai Mercury Prize aim to be as inclusive as possible within their parameters, and their processes and eligibility criteria are constantly reviewed.”

Read Full Article
Source
Vice
Share this article

What to Read Next

Upcoming 'Animal Crossing' Updates Include Fireworks and Interactive Dreams
Tech

Upcoming 'Animal Crossing' Updates Include Fireworks and Interactive Dreams

Nintendo released a sneak peek at the new additions.
614 Hypes

Les Benjamins Introduces Logo Swimwear
Fashion

Les Benjamins Introduces Logo Swimwear

Including bikinis, one-pieces and shorts.
1,444 Hypes

Gucci Stays Home in Fall/Winter 2020 Campaign
Fashion

Gucci Stays Home in Fall/Winter 2020 Campaign

Dubbed “The Ritual.”
1,561 Hypes

The British Fashion Council Re-Opens COVID-19 Crisis Fund Applications
Fashion

The British Fashion Council Re-Opens COVID-19 Crisis Fund Applications

In order to continue supporting British designers impacted by the pandemic.
361 Hypes

Starbucks Japan Taps fragment design to Create Exclusive Tumblers and Tees
Fashion

Starbucks Japan Taps fragment design to Create Exclusive Tumblers and Tees

In celebration of the coffee company’s new location in Rayard Miyashita Park.
7,652 Hypes

Oh Hyuk Fronts UZ's Summer Campaign for "Eye Opening" Liner
Beauty

Oh Hyuk Fronts UZ's Summer Campaign for "Eye Opening" Liner

The Korean indie musician breaks beauty standards.
1,098 Hypes

More ▾