The furious argument over whether Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory should be removed from the last night of the Proms in three weeks' time deepened today as the centuries-old patriotic songs were labeled "racist propaganda".
The BBC is reportedly considering dropping the anthems from the September 12 concert for fear of criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement for its obvious links to colonialism and slavery.
The songs are best known for being a triumphant conclusion to the BBC's coverage of the Proms each year, with thousands of flag-waving "Prommers" normally ending up at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, west London.
Finnish-born conductor Dalia Stasevska, 35, is said to believe this year's no-audience ceremony "is the perfect moment to bring about change," but critics have accused the BBC of turning to political correctness.
During a debate on ITV's Good Morning Britain today, freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman insisted that criticism of the two songs was "absurd" and added that they "bring joy and happiness to many people".
However, Kehinde Andrews, professor of black studies at Birmingham City University, claimed the "Brits must never, never, never be slaves" line of Rule Britannia was "racist propaganda" from the days of the British Empire.
His comments were confirmed by musicians Chi-chi Nwanoku, who formed the first BAME majority orchestra in Europe, and Wasfi Kani, founder of the Grange Park Opera in Surrey, who are also uncomfortable with the line.
It comes as:
- A prime minister's spokesman said: "We need to address the substance of the problem, not the symbols."
- One musician suggested replacing the songs I praised you, My Country or The Beatles' All You Need Is Love;
- Flag throwers will not be present at the Royal Albert Hall during the 125th annual Last Night concert.
- The BBC refused to confirm reports that the songs could be dropped, but said the plans were still in place;
- Live performances begin this Friday with a piece by Hannah Kendall, 36, a black British composer.
Black Studies Professor Kehinde Andrews (bottom right) clashed with Freedom of Speech activist Inaya Folarin Iman (bottom left) over ITV's Good Morning Britain in a debate between Adil Ray (top left) and Charlotte Hawkins (top right) today.
During today's debate on ITV's Good Morning Britain, free speech activist Inaya Folarin Iman said criticism of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory was "absurd" and added that they "brought joy and happiness to many people".
Speaking of Good Morning Britain today, Andrews said he hadn't seen the Proms: “I don't think it's about banning the songs, it's about saying which songs are appropriate.
"The British will never, never, never be slaves" – that is racist propaganda at a time when Britain was the leading slave-trading nation in the world. The idea that we're having this conversation now is a shame. & # 39;
Dalia Stasevska: The direct Finnish conductor of the BBC Proms who has a heavy metal friend and hangs out with rock icons
Dalia Stasevska, who conducted last night
Dalia Stasevska prepares for the biggest night of her career on September 12th when she conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the final night of the Proms.
But apart from music, the 35-year-old, who moved to Finland from her birthplace in Ukraine at the age of five, is known as a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In June, when protests against the death of the Black George Floyd were taking place in Minneapolis, Ms. Stasevska tweeted a picture reading: “I stand for equality. I stand against racism. I stand for love and compassion. & # 39;
Dalia Stasevska is married to the Finnish musician Lauri Porra, who is the bass player in the power metal band Stratovarius
She uses social media to advocate for race and gender equality, and last month encouraged followers to listen to a BBC Radio 3 debate on classical music and race.
Ms. Stasevska is married to the Finnish musician Lauri Porra, who is the bassist of the power metal band Stratovarius and great-grandson of the composer Jean Sibelius.
Speaking to the Guardian in January 2019, she said, "He's the famous one, not me. There's no city or country where he's not recognized!"
Mrs. Stasevska is pictured with the muscular Mr. Lordi, who is the singer of the heavy metal band Lordi
Ms. Stasevska was originally trained as a violinist before developing a love for opera at the age of 13 and then switching to conducting in her 20s.
She told the Guardian, “Opera was kind of punk to me. My friends were listening to the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, but I just wanted opera. "
He added, “The fact that the majority of people think this is okay doesn't mean it is okay. This is due to a deficit in our school system that does not teach the horrors of the British Empire. There is nothing to celebrate.
& # 39; Land of Hope and Glory, a much more reasonable name for the song would have been Land of Racism and Servitude. I understand this isn't a catchy song, but that's the nature of the country we're talking about. & # 39;
But Ms. Iman accused Mr Andrews of having a “one-dimensional view of Britain”, adding, “He sees it as a land of racism and hatred and all of these things that are totally and fundamentally separate from what most people are believe in Britain.
“We recognize that there is a complex story of horror and terror, but also triumphs and things uplifting. I think we need to teach history holistically and not try to teach a narrative about cultural self-loathing which I find very divisive.
“I don't think this will help a single ethnic minority life. I find it very hypocritical that a lot of people have no problem with music that talks about stinging and violence and the N-word this and the N-word that, but a song that brings a lot of joy to the British people is kind of a question the censorship. & # 39;
She also argued, “A lot of things are done on behalf of ethnic minorities to protect them and prevent them from being offended when they just don't feel like that and I am spoken for when his song actually brings joy and happiness to many people .
"The majority of people don't listen to the song and say, 'Oh, we want to reintroduce colonialism and slavery. "Songs can take on a new meaning. They are part of a new story that represents pride."
But Nwanoku, founder of the Chineke! The foundation, which supports aspiring BAME musicians, told The Guardian: "The lyrics are just so offensive. They speak of the 'haughty tyrants' – people we invade their country and call them haughty tyrants – and Britons are never supposed to To be slaves, which implies that it is okay for others to be slaves, but not for us.
“It's so irrelevant to society today. It's been irrelevant for generations and we seem to keep it going. With the BBC talking about Black Lives Matter and their support for the movement, how could you have Rule Britannia as the last concert – in every concert? & # 39;
Ms. Kani also raised concerns about slavery and told BBC Radio 4, “I'm Indian, my parents were from India, I got a wonderful education in the UK, but I don't feel very British when I hear things like That.
"I don't feel very British when people say to me, go home, damn it."
Instead, the musician suggested replacing the songs with I Vow to Thee My Country or The Beatles & # 39; All You Need Is Love.
Ms. Kani, whose parents sought refuge in Britain after the partition of India in 1947, also told the Sunday Times, "I don't stop at Land of Hope and Glory and say, 'Thank God I'm British" – it actually does I feel more alienated.
"Britain raped India and that's what this song celebrates."
There will be no flag throwers present during the 125th annual Last Night of the Proms concert due to the coronavirus outbreak at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Organizers had to change the entire Proms season due to coronavirus restrictions that limit the number of singers and musicians who can perform together.
The live audience has been banned, and this year's conductor for last night, Dalia Stasevska, 35, from Finland, is said to be interested in modernizing the evening's repertoire and reducing its patriotic elements.
A BBC source told the Sunday Times, "Dalia is a huge supporter of Black Lives Matter and believes an unattended ceremony is the perfect time to make change."
A BBC spokesman refused to confirm or disapprove reports that the songs might be dropped, but said plans were still in place for last night.
Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are both popular hymns with the Proms, but there have been previous calls for them to be dropped because of perceived associations with colonialism and slavery.
The songs have become a popular part of the BBC's broadcast for the last night of the Proms, when thousands of flag-wingers typically land at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, west London (September 8, 2012 picture).
Flags are waved during the celebration of the final night of the Proms in Hyde Park, London on September 14, 2019
The songs are best known for being a triumphant conclusion to the BBC's coverage of the Proms each year (file image).
What is the story of Rule, Britannia, and Land of Hope and Glory?
Britannia comes from the poem of the same name by the Scottish poet and playwright James Thomson and was set to music by the English composer Thomas Arne in 1740.
It gained popularity in the UK after it was first played in London in 1745 and became the symbol of the British Empire, most closely linked to the British Navy.
The song was used as part of a number of compositions including Wagner's 1837 Concerto Overture in D major and Beethoven's orchestral work Wellington & # 39; s Victory.
The song has been an integral part of the annual Remembrance Day celebration since 1930 when it was the first song played on The Traditional Music program.
It became popular again at the end of World War II in 1945 after it was played at the ceremonial surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army in Singapore.
As a rule, Britannia is usually played annually during the BBC's Last Night of the Proms.
But its inclusion has sparked controversy in recent years as it was viewed as being too patriotic.
The song & # 39; Land of Hope and Glory & # 39; based on the trio theme from Elgar's Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1, which originally premiered in 1901.
It caught the attention of King Edward VII after being the only piece in the history of the Proms to receive a double encore.
King Edward suggested that this trio make a good song, so Elgar worked it into the final section of his Coronation Ode to be performed at King Edward's Coronation.
Organizers of this year's Proms are said to be considering dropping them after the protests against Black Lives Matter, but have yet to agree on the controversial move, according to the Sunday Times.
Miss Stasevska was on regular Zoom calls with David Pickard, 60, director of the BBC Proms, to discuss the night's program, along with South African soprano Golda Schultz, 36, who will be performing.
Organizers had to reduce the number of musicians on stage due to social distancing requirements.
Rule Britannia is usually performed by 80 members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a 100-piece choir, but this year a much smaller orchestra will play alongside just 18 singers.
Jan Younghusband, head of the BBC's Music Television Commission, confirmed that the addition of Rule Britannia to Last Night's repertoire is still under investigation.
She said, “We have a lot of problems with how many instruments we can have. It's hard to know if it's physically possible to do this.
"Some of the traditional pieces, like Jerusalem, are easier to play … We also don't know if we'll be in a worse situation in two weeks."
Rule Britannia, a poem by the Scottish playwright James Thomson, was set to music by the English composer Thomas Arne in 1740.
But texts like the line "British will never, never, never be slaves" have caused anger given Britain's own role in the slave trade.
Land of Hope and Glory was composed by Edward Elgar and Arthur Benson later added the lyrics in 1902.
The words were reportedly inspired by the colonialist Cecil Rhodes, whose statue was among the statues to be removed by the protests against the Black Lives Matter.
Politicians and activists voiced their anger over steps taken to drop the songs.
International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena, MP for Northeast Hampshire, shared an article on the dispute with followers on Twitter.
He wrote, "What a lot … (sic) This is a chance for BBC bosses to prove that they have ventured outside the M25 and understand the British people, rather than just campaign groups and lobbyists in London."
Conservative MP Paul Bristow tweeted, “Is it time to get the BBC out of its royalty plight? It must be painful when they are funded by millions of people with whom they no longer have anything in common? & # 39;
Protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside Tottenham Police Station in north London on August 8th
Dalia Stasevska (picture with her violin in September 2012 in Peenemünde) conducts the last night
Who is Kehinde Andrews and how did he cause controversy before?
Kehinde Andrews received her PhD in Sociology and Cultural Studies from the University of Birmingham in 2011 and is now Professor of Black Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Birmingham City University.
In 2013, Dr. Andrews wrote and wrote his first book Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century in 2018
The professor has caused anger at Good Morning Britain in the past. In October 2018 he claimed Sir Winston Churchill was a "blatant racist" in a heated debate in which Piers Morgan asked him, "Why do you live in a country you abhor?"
Mr Andrews clashed with Good Morning UK host Piers Morgan when he claimed Britain was "built on racism" and that "everyone involved in it probably has a genuinely racist past".
The scientist also likened the British Prime Minister during the war to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for his treatment of Indians when the country went through famine in 1943. Andrews said British imperialism "ruined" many other parts of the world, including the Caribbean and US Africa.
In January 2019, Dr.The dwarves faced the wrath of British veterans and their families after calling the RAF airmen who bombed Nazi war criminals in Germany. He said the decision to erect tributes like the Bomber Command Memorial was like "justifying terrorism".
He said, “We are talking about a war crime. I think it's a tragedy they died, but we don't need a statue. & # 39;
Meanwhile in August 2019 Kehinde Andrews appeared on Good Morning Britain to argue that the author Enid Blyton was not "worthy" of a commemorative coin.
He said: & # 39; The reason Enid is not worthy … it's just largely inappropriate, she was racist, her books were racist. What the committee said was yes, she's popular, but because of this racism, it's the 21st century. & # 39;
Mr. Andrews added, “If you look at children's books, they are still very conservative. We shouldn't be idolizing Enid Blyton – there are other things to read, just keep going. & # 39;
And Brexit activist Nigel Farage tweeted: “The BBC could remove Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from The Proms because the Finnish conductor is too awake. Why not drop it instead? & # 39;
Headmistress Katharine Birbalsingh, whose father was Indian Guyanese and whose mother was Jamaican, said she "waved flags and sang Rule Britannia" with black friends at the Royal Albert Hall last year.
She said, “The whites in the audience didn't tell us to stop, that the song isn't ours, that we're too black to sing it. So what's the problem? & # 39;
Susan Hall, Conservative Chairwoman for the Greater London Authority, said, “Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are favorites for millions of us.
"Why should so many of us have broken traditions because they are not considered PC ridiculous?"
Former Brexit MEP Alexandra Phillips tweeted: “Do this at your own risk, BBC. If you ban patriotic songs on Last Night of the Proms, the British Broadcasting Corporation name should be repealed.
“They do not represent our nation, culture, or heritage. They represent those who want to destroy it. & # 39;
Former Conservative MP Neil Hamilton said the BBC had "decided to surrender to the Black Lives Matter mob".
Proms host Josie d & # 39; Arby, who is black, said this year's Proms program reflected "respect for the current climate".
She said last night should be inclusive but keep the tradition, adding, "Part of inclusivity involves engaging your traditional audience and die-hard fans."
Live performances at the Royal Albert Hall begin on Friday with a piece by Hannah Kendall, 36, a black British composer.
The live soloists of the Proms include Anoushka Shankar, who will perform on the sitar in honor of her late father Ravi; cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason – who played at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – and his sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason; and the Japanese born pianist Mitsuko Uchida.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We are still finalizing preparations for the last night of the Proms so we can respond to the latest advice regarding Covid-19 and deliver the best possible deal to the audience.
& # 39; We have announced that conductor Dalia Stasevska, soprano Golda Schultz and the BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Last Night of the Proms this year. All details will be announced shortly. & # 39;
Rule, Britannia! text
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
British will never, never, never be slaves.
As Britain first on the orders of Heaven
Arose from the azure main line,
This was the charter of the land
And guardian angels sang this sort:
The nations are not as blessed as you are
Tyrants must fall again
While you are to flourish big and free:
The fear and envy of everyone.
You should rise even more majestically,
More terrible of every stranger's stroke,
Like the loud explosion that tears the sky apart
Only serves to root your native oak.
You haughty tyrants will never tame;
All of their attempts to bend you down
Just wanna awaken your generous flame
But work their suffering and your reputation.
You own the country rulership;
Your cities will shine with commerce;
All yours should be the main theme
And each bank circles it, yours.
The muses, still found with freedom,
Shall mend to your happy shores.
Blest island! crowned with incomparable beauty,
And male hearts to watch over the mass.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
British will never, never, never be slaves
Land of hope and glory lyrics
Land of hope and glory
Mother of the free
How shall we praise you?
Who is born of you
Even wider and wider
Do you want to set your limits?
God who made you mighty
Make yourself even more powerful!
Dear land of hope, your hope is crowned
God make you even more powerful!
On Sov & # 39; ran brows, loved, known
Once more your crown is set
Your same laws won through freedom
I have ruled you well and for a long time;
By gaining freedom, by maintaining truth
Your kingdom should be strong
Your fame is as old as the days
As an ocean big and wide:
A pride that dares and does not praise
A strict and silent pride
Not this false joy that dreams contentedly
With what our fathers won;
The blood given out by a hero father
A hero’s son is still annoying
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Black Lives Matter (t) BBC