Priti Patel defends Boris Johnson after rapper Dave brands him 'racist' during Brit Awards performance

Bonnie Christian
BBC

Priti Patel had defended Boris Johnson after he was branded a “racist” by rapper Dave on stage at the 2020 Brit Awards.

The Home Secretary told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday that “in no way” is the Prime Minister a racist, calling the rapper's comments "completely wrong".

“I simply do not subscribe to those comments at all," she said.

"I know the Prime Minister, I’ve worked with the Prime Minister for a long time, for many years, he’s absolutely not a racist.

"He’s absolutely not a racist and I’m afraid that is very much a generalisation that has been made by rapper Dave, and I just disagree with it."

Asked whether she thought it was damaging that the comments had played in a public way she responded: “Artist and entertainers say all sorts of things”

She continued: “I don’t know how much he knows about the Prime Minister and whether he actually has met the Prime Minister or knows the Prime Minister.

"I work with the Prime Minister, I know Boris Johnson very well, no way is he a racist, so I think that is a completely wrong comment and it’s the wrong assertion to make against our Prime Minister.”

South London rapper Dave performed Black , a freestyle track that charts the difficulties of black Britons, at Tuesday night's awards at the O2 Arena in London.

He added a newly-written final verse that included the lines: “It is racist, whether or not it feels racist, the truth is our prime minister’s a real racist / They say – ‘you should be grateful, we’re the least racist’ / I say the least racist is still racist.”

The rapper, 21, who won Album of the Year, insisted that “equality is a right, it doesn’t deserve credit”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared to endorse the message, tweeting lyrics from the song to his 2.3 million followers.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, shadow home secretary Diane Abbot said she had an early night and did not watch Dave's performance.

However, she added: "I think that what Dave said about Boris (Johnson) clearly resonated with people, particularly after this incident in the past few days where Number 10 brought in a policy adviser who thought that black people were inferior intellectually to white people.

“I think Boris has a lot to do to convince the community that he’s not unduly negative about black people and Muslim people.”

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, shared a video of Dave’s performance and wrote: “Santan Dave, take a bow.”

Speaking after picking up his best album prize, Dave said of his performance it is “always important” to convey a message, adding he put “all of my passion and energy into it”.

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