Saskilla calls out UK music industry for lack of progress

Image by Martin Roach for BBC/Century Films

Renowned grime artist and presenter Saskilla will feature on the latest episode of the BBC’s ongoing documentary series, Do Black Lives Still Matter? The investigative series looks to uncover if any significant change has occurred in various sectors following the surge of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and anti-racist protests last year. Saskilla’s episode will be the final in the series, and will explore this issue in the context of the UK’s music industry. Following the death of George Floyd, a massive outcry was heard globally and the music industry responded with captains such as #TheShowMustBePaused and #BlackoutTuesday, which saw many artists and labels posting black squares on their social media accounts in solidarity. 

In his investigation, the artist reached out to black workers and artists in the industry such as Kid Bookie and Nova Twins. He found that the most common issue was that black people were not being given the opportunity to progress, and a glass ceiling is firmly in place for them. The documentary cites data from the 2020 edition of the Music Diversity Report Survey, which revealed that while there was an increase in the hiring of people of colour at entry level, little had changed in mid to senior level jobs. Speaking to The Guardian, Saskilla says: “meaningful change hasn’t actually happened. What has happened is a lot of conversation in trying to change things… they don’t want to give black people power. Unfortunately, as black people, we are the show, we’re not the business.”

The episode also sees Saskilla comment on the funding that a number of labels had allocated to diversity improvement, with the artist’s opinion highlighting that no one knows where this money is going or if any difference has been made. “This is what the music industry and all these people are doing and why transparency is needed,” he went on to say. 

Do Black Lives Still Matter? has been airing since May, and so far has conducted investigations into the football industry and popular brands who had pledged support and solitary in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Saskilla’s episode will air on June 28th at 10.45pm on BBC One.