Last night’s Vodafone Music awards were eventful, to say the least. With a potential world record in the latest Mani-quin challenge fad, great performances from the old and new of New Zealand music and great hosting (far better than last years!) from Jono and Ben, this year’s award ceremony was exciting.
But controversy struck early. Called up to receive the Golden Tui for Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album in 2016, Aaradhna did not accept her award, instead stating that her winning song, Brown Girl, is about racism and prejudice behavior.
“I feel like to accept this award, would not be true to this song, I would be a hypocrite,” she said, later saying “I feel like I’ve been placed in this category, because I’m brown,”. She believed that she is a singer, not a hip-hop artist, and that her award was based on the colour of her skin, not her genre. She then gave the award to SWIDT, a Hip-Hop group, who accepted the award from the singer.
A proud RnB artist, it is debatable if she is right not to accept the award based on her beliefs. Many would say that Rhythm and Blues comes under the ‘Urban’ genre because of the artists of today. I believe she was right not to accept the award, as RnB originated in the 1940s, and was very different to what many people would class as RnB today. Aaradhna has taken a more classical approach to the genre, with modern influence to make her music more appealing to the market of today. Other RnB singers of 2016 include Rihanna, Usher and Drake, and it is easy to see how different the music is to that of Aarahdna. While those other artists will fall under Urban, she does not, making it correct not to accept the award.
From this we must ask if New Zealand society still stands on racial stereotypes. I believe this is just one example of many within New Zealand. So what can we do as a nation to eradicate racism? Of course, there is always going to be those who let us down, but we need to do something. It is time we stopped classing people based on the colour of their skin, like what has been done at this year’s VNZMA’s.
For Aaradhna, you are an inspiration to us all, for standing up to racial prejudice, not once, but multiple times. Your music is based around it, and last night’s stand against the judging panel was incredible. I am very proud that we have musicians and artists within society who stand up for what they believe in, this being one example of many. Now it is just time for the rest of the country to wake up and see the bad in our society.