Aaradhna just stopped the New Zealand Music Awards in its tracks with an incredible speech in which she declined to accept the Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album prize. This is what she said.
Update, 21 June 2017. The Vodafone NZ Music Awards today announced a number of changes to the categories for this year’s awards, including splitting the Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album prize into two separate categories.
“So my father, his name is Jayanti Patel. He’s from a village, Navsari, in India. My mother’s name is Sia’a Moe, now Sia’a Patel, and she’s from Papa Sataua, Auala, Falealupo, Uta and Savai’i, Samoa.
“And then there’s me. I was born in Porirua, Wellington. And I’m a New Zealander.
“OK. So this song is ‘Brown Girl’, and it speaks so many things. It speaks on racism, and being placed in a box. And for me, I feel like if I was to accept this, I feel like I’m not being truthful in my song.
“And I feel like if you’re putting a singer next to a hip-hop artist, it’s not fair. I’m a singer, I’m not a rapper, I’m not a hip-hop artist. It feels like I’ve been placed in the category of brown people. That’s what it feels like.
“I feel like we need a soul/RnB category. So right now I feel like I want to give this to a hip-hop artist, because I feel like this is the kind of award that is for a hip-hop artist. And I want to give it to SWIDT, because I believe that you guys are the future of hip-hop, if you guys keep going. I want to give this to you guys.”
At which point SWIDT stepped up to the stage and accepted the award: “thank you, sister Rads!”
Read Aaradhna explain her motivations behind the speech in an exclusive interview conducted immediately after the awards here.
Listen to all the music you love on Spotify Premium, it’s free on all Spark’s Pay Monthly Mobile plans. Sign up and start listening today
Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us hire more journalists and carry out more investigations. Or pay $8 a month and get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel!
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.