RINA SAWAYAMA 'NOT BRITISH ENOUGH' TO ENTER MUSIC AWARDS AND IT'S TIME FOR UK MUSIC ORGANISATIONS TO STEP UP
Text by Charlie Long
JULY 29TH 2020

One of everyone’s favourite pop girls in the game right now, miss Rina Sawayama, is being denied the right to compete at British music awards such as The Brits or The Mercury Prize. Despite living in the UK for 25 years of her life and having indefinite leave to remain, she does not have a British passport, which according to the leading UK music organisations means she is ruled out from competing. 

The London based pop goddess told Vice that she found it ‘othering’ to be denied entry and that “it was heart-breaking, I rarely get upset to the level where I cry and I cried.” Under competition rules, solo artists must have British or Irish citizenship to enter the Mercury Prize. For bands, only 30% of the members need to be officially British or Irish, as long as more than half of them live in the UK. The ridiculousness continues as this system meant, in 2005, New York-based singer Antony and the Johnsons (who now performs under the name Anohni) was able to win the award, despite having been resident in the US for 22 years, yet Sawayama, who has been here for 25 years, somehow is deemed ineligible to compete. 

 

A spokesperson for the BPI, which organises UK music's two biggest awards nights, confirmed to the BBC: "Both The Brit Awards and the Hyundai Mercury Prize aim to be as inclusive as possible within their parameters, and their processes and eligibility criteria are constantly reviewed." – well sis, were waiting, hurry up and review so our girl can rightfully take the album of the year award. 

Sawayama concluded with a powerful statement that "it's up to the award bodies to decide what Britishness really encompasses - the very things that they celebrate, which is diversity and opportunity."

anyways, help Rina by using the hashtag '#SAWAYAMAISBRITISH' and stream album of the year -