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!”
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Read Aaradhna explain her motivations behind the speech in an exclusive interview conducted immediately after the awards here.
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