A lot of news sources today have been reporting the accusation that the Live 8 bill for the UK gig is almost exclusively white – with Mariah Carey being the only person with any non-white genes on the stage (Maria is mixed race).
The response from the organisers was to first say that “Bob Geldof approached a number of urban and black artists to participate.” – that’s fair enough.
They went on to say “We look upon Live 8 as one global concert. A number of urban acts in the UK are hugely talented but they are not well known in Paris or Rome.”…
right, let’s have a look at some of the artists playing in the other venues –
Eiffel Tower, Paris includes Yannick Noah, Calo Gero, Kyo, Axelle Red, Johnny Halliday, Renaud – I’ve heard of Johnny Halliday, but there’s no way he can be described as international. He’s huge in France and unknown elsewhere. And he’s shit.
Circus Maximus, Rome includes Irene Grandi, Jovanotti, Nek, Laura Pausini, Vasco Rossi, Zucchero – clearly all big stars in Italy, but international???
So, drop the patronising crap about ‘UK Urban artists’ and represent. There are loads of people that could do it. If they want to reach out to everyone, why not book AR Rahman or Ashe Bhosle, and make the Indian community feel like they are a part of this (and expose the hopeless Sting and Elton John fans to something worth listening to). There are loads of people they could get in there.
I’m really into the idea of the gig, I love the fact that it’s about raising awareness not money, and that it’s going to get millions and millions of people thinking about issues of trade law reform and debt relief instead of just aid, but they’ve got to realise that there are more than enough white rock dinosaurs on the bill, and it needs to be a day for recogising not only Africa’s needs, but Africa’s strength and culture – so get some great African artists on the London show, and ditch one of the 80s losers.by