Someone placed Ed at the top of a black and urban music power list, and entered the Trolling Hall of Fame.
It's taken us nearly a full week to recover from BBC Radio 1Xtra's Power List, a collection of artist names that has ruffled some feathers and blown some minds since being released last Friday (July 11). Billed as a list of "the most important U.K. artists on the current black and urban music scene" by BBC Radio's long-running urban music station, the list included established artists like Tinie Tempah, Dizzee Rascal and Laura Mvula, but had three white artists in its Top 4, and Ed Sheeran in the No. 1 spot. Uh.
After 1Xtra completed the act of unprecedented trolling, the backlash was predictably rapid and overwhelming. London-based rapper Wiley, who came in at No. 16 on the Power List, fired off a string of critical tweets, such as "England music industry is backwards. God bless those who try tho." Across the globe, news outlets and web sites processed and poked fun at the list, with the U.K.'s "Newsnight" asking, "How did middle-class white boy Ed Sheeran get named the most important act in black and urban music?," and Grantland concluding that the list was an ordering of "music that black people can hear." Instead of commenting on the dubious achievement, Sheeran has remained mum on the subject. For its part, BBC Radio 1Xtra has not, defending the list and awkwardly clarifying what it should represent.
"Every single day of the week, every single hour of the day we support black artists and other races that make black music sounds," said BBC Radio 1Xtra music manager Austin Daboh. "I think that anyone who wants to bring race into the discussion is probably a little bit misguided." It's almost not worth asking what "black music sounds" are, if we're not allowed to bring race into the discussion.