Monday, February 22, 2016

Brits 2016: James Bay hasn't bothered to check Lily Allen's arguments, but pretty sure they're wrong

James Bay - who clearly is never going to take the hat off, is he? Like a BHS version of Jamiroquai - is caught in war of words with Lily Allen.

Yeah, it's a bit like the European Union Referendum, in that whoever is in the right you're still going to end up in a group that makes you feel uncomfortable.

The story so far is that Allen has looked at the shortlist for this year's awards, and noticed that being white and being nominated appears to correlate quite closely.

James is sad she had to say such things.

He first picks up on Allen's claim that the shortlist could have been put together by Alan Partridge:

“I haven’t seen REO Speedwagon in the nominations, so I don’t know if it’s entirely Partridge."
That sort of pedantic-but-missing-the-point response is, in itself, a perfect Partridge - it's "I've got a hundred and four friends".
It’s varied nominations. It’s about music. I don’t know why she’s had to go down that route.

"I haven’t looked closely into all the nominations but it’s interesting she should bring that up."
James, there, happily claiming the nominations are are varied while admitting that he hasn't "looked closely" at them. It's like claiming all the tracks on Bay's album are wheezy half-baked nursery rhymes without having listened to closely to them.

What's more disappointing though, is that Bay's response to a not unreasonable complaint about a lack of diversity in the nominations is to say "I don't know why she's had to go down that route."

"That route", eh, James? Why's she had to point out that the shortlist seems only interested in what the white kids are doing?

James appears to believe that "it's music" is enough to explain why so very, very few black musicians have been deemed good enough to get a place on the shortlist. That's a very bad look, James. You're effectively saying "hey, if some black acts had managed to make a decent record, their music would have lifted them onto the shortlist". By trying to insist the Brits shortlist is colourblind, you're just dismissing black artists in the same way the Brits panel has done.

Still, James isn't going to get into that - he's going to attack Allen directly instead:
"I can’t think of her last album, when she last released something.”
Yeah, it's true that Allen hasn't released a record in 2015, but she did in 2014, and it went straight to number one. It's not like she's Wendy James.

More importantly, you shouldn't need to have had a hit single in the last twelve months to call the Brits out on this.

And, although Lily hasn't always been above criticism for her actions not meeting her words in the past, if the best response to 'why is this list so white' you can come up with is 'you haven't had an album out in 18 months', you might be better off shutting up.