We always do get our politics from pop songs, right?

Dave’s performance of his song Black at the Brit awards marked the moment that grime truly gave full-throated and undeniable voice to the politics of black Britain.

“Things can only get better” worked out so well.

All music is political

“Baby do me one more time” will be the theme track for Hillary’s parachute into the Democratic primaries?

As someone whose political education began with early American hip-hop it is affirming to see the strong emergence of black political voices in British music. Artists such as Public Enemy, KRS-One and Tupac were more important to my intellectual development than any academic text.

Bopping to it as a teenie has its merits, of course. But at some point “Dis is da sound of da police” does need to be replaced by a light scanning of Marx, Mill, Kant possibly, Smith, Hayek maybe? Or not?

Kehinde Andrews is professor of black studies at Birmingham City University.

Ah, no, not.

29 thoughts on “We always do get our politics from pop songs, right?”

  1. Imagine your teenage child expressing a desire to study with him at Birmingham City “University”. That’s when you know you needn’t have bothered.

  2. Surely the time has come to look at the Higher education sector and begin a huge cull of departments and courses. The idea that this halfwit is providing anything useful is risible. Fomenting imaginary grievances and indulging in teenage political gesturing should not be being bankrolled by the taxpayer. Surely MR. Andrews position ought to be where the necessary axe falls first?

  3. …as well as showing a total lack of fear in declaring Britain to be the racist nation it is.

    Wow. Stunning and Brave.

    Yes, it takes real courage to attack white people as we can see from the horrible persecution suffered by Mr Andrews, Afua Hirsch, Gary Younge, Yasmin AliBaba and the whole panoply of non-white commentators. If only they had a platform to tell the world of their suffering…….

    Of course, creatures like Andrews know the solution to their supposed problems would be return to the mother continent but then they’d be nothing special; just one more brown face in an ocean of brown faces.

  4. Kehinde Andrews is professor of black studies at Birmingham City University.

    What!!!! Are we paying for this clown?

    Is there a professor of white studies at Birmingham City University?
    Of course not, how waycist!

  5. “Artists such as Public Enemy, KRS-One and Tupac were more important to my intellectual development than any academic text.”

    Yeah, you might want to look up Louis Farrakhan, who is much quoted by Public Enemy. I mean, their music’s great, but politically terrible.

    What’s that old quote from Peter Cook about all the satire of Berlin cabarets against Hitler? Same could apply to people like Billy Bragg in the 1980s. His stuff had no effect on people voting Conservative for a few more years.

    The other thing with The Brits now is that it’s pretty much an irrelevance, as are most artists you see on the BBC. The old days of kids getting all their music from 3 or 4 sources are long gone. The Brits got 4m viewers last year. It was 6 million a few years ago and back when Mick Fleetwood and Samantha Fox were messing it up, it would have been 10+m.

    Kids are getting a lot of stuff like K-Pop and J-Rock. Probably because those people remember that they get paid to entertain. Thin Korean girls aren’t whining about body shaming. Babymetal aren’t lecturing you about the environment. They dress up nice, look good, sing a catchy pop song, dance a bit and get off the stage.

    To quote Edmund Blackadder. “If I’d wanted a lecture on the rights of man, I’d have gone to bed with Martin Luther”.

  6. The recent (-ish) movement of grime into political commentary has largely been embarrassingly awkward. It’s got all the sophistication of student politics for people who didn’t go to school.

  7. Eldest daughter wants to study forensics at Uni.
    Go to open day at BCU last weekend to check it out.
    Discover that the forensics and criminology courses are part of the “Social Sciences” faculty.
    Much talk about diversity and inclusivity.
    Much less emphasis on academic rigour and job prospects.

    Far less enthusiasm on our side accordingly.

  8. JuliaM,

    “Isn’t there more to ‘the politics of black Britain’ than chippy blame culture to excuse their own failings, then?

    Guess not…”

    The trouble is that “black Britain” isn’t what people think “black Britain” is. My black neighbour works as a carpenter, shopfitter. Works really hard, great dad, speaks English properly, never an “aspiring footballer”, listens to some of the cheesiest 1980s yacht rock and stuff like Springsteen.

  9. In defence of Louis Farrakhan he is a seriously good classical violinist. YouTube can confirm this.

    His earlier incarnation as a calypso singer was also pretty good. YouTube again,

  10. Interesting how different political groups tend to like different music . Liberal often seem to like the worst sort of bilge “World music” or some obscure folk thing . Young Conservatives often like the most basic metal you can think of ACDC at best ( and I `m a bit partial to the old Ack Dack myself on occasion) or ,weirdly thuggy rap. There is a sort of Conservative who likes early opera , Bach and that sort of thing and the standard Conservative Voters is more than happy with Phantom ,Les Miz and so on( and I also can do that happily )Lefties used to like the Clash( yup thats ok by me ) , Democrats like singer song writers
    Few people who like Politics love popular music like I do, that one of the problems with politicos …. they are a bit odd , and badly in need of a …more physical engagement with life..hem hem

  11. You left out a few genres Newmania.

    What about (c)rap/hip-hop.
    Urban, dance, techno.
    Or jazz, or country and western.

    Didn’t Guido Fawkes, who may be considered slightly political, start life as a rave promoter?

  12. In the West, success by group:

    1. Asians
    2. Whites
    3. Hispanics
    4. Blacks

    ‘Kehinde Andrews is professor of black studies’

    How much must you hate blacks to teach them ‘black studies?’

  13. “The problem is that this can create a feedback loop, where it becomes the representation of blackness, reinforcing the link between black people and urban crime”

    yeah sure, take out that urban crime but why oh why Kehindre would you happily replace one association with another i.e.Jeremy Corbyn. Harmony’s most likely when black doesn’t signify much at all except a colour and sure a heritage but not a particular hue of politics. A lyric that deserves far more praise than Dave’s is the one about blank canvasses that could be anything they want to be unconstrained by stereotypes and associations and what have you. This is effectively Kanye’s recent message and is far more attractive than trying to corall people into a type of politics based on their skin.

  14. @Van_Patten February 20, 2020 at 8:24 am

    If he’s a half-wit Prof, what is this Prof?

    The Solution to Climate Change: Extinction of Humanity

    Professor Patricia MacCormack: We should all kill ourselves to save the planet
    “Minority and oppressed people in the west have discovered that there is no liberation to be found in traditional patriarchal, capitalist or religious systems,” says academic, author and Occult “Vulvic Deamonitalia” magic practitioner Professor Patricia MacCormack”


    Forensic Science at Uni is a Uni money-maker driven by children watching Silent Witness, Waking The Dead etc. No demand for them

    “Social Sciences” faculty demonstrates this. Forensics includes teeth, do Dentistry


    and Pols pretending to like football, soaps etc. Oh, and Queen’s speech

  15. As Wyclef Jean summed it up in Election Time!

    ‘Election time is coming!
    But the kids are:
    like we’re Ok
    As long as we got music we can dance all day
    YouTube we will rock all day’

  16. @ Pcar,

    Funny you should mention dentistry.
    When you look at what graduates earn after leaving Uni, dental hygienists / technicians have the highest average earnings, more than any other degree including Engineering, CompSci or Law.
    It is an unfortunate requirement nowadays that access to some jobs needs a Degree qualification.
    I was hoping that when the novelty wears off, eldest daughter would still be left with a decent, science based degree that she could use to pivot into a lab job or something of worth.
    It seems that for many courses, Postgrad employment prospects seem to include a distressingly high (but unsurprising) proportion of Barista / Burger flipping / Service Industry jobs.

  17. @BlokeInBrum

    Dental hygienists, like Dentists, are usually self-employed and receive 40%-55& of their own gross Practice income

    In 2010 when Mrs Pcar was working part-time as mostly NHS Dentist (3 days) she received ~£30k pa, tax & NI on this was low as so many SE tax-deductible* expenses – No “wholly & exclusively”

    Now – confidential

    * tax-deductible: Conference/CPD training week in ‘overseas’


    Karen Templer should have ignored her SJW critics – don’t feed the troll

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