By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published September 20, 2019
A British rapper elicited a backlash for holding the artificial "severed head" of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an award show on Thursday.
Performing his song "Doorman" at the 2019 Mercury Prize, Slowthai walked onto the stage holding the fake head and shouted "F--- Boris!"
During the performance, the rapper took off his hoodie, revealing a t-shirt that read "F--- Boris."
“F--- Boris Johnson! F--- everything! And there ain’t nothing great about Britain," Slowthai later told the audience.
Slowthai later released a statement doubling down on his politically charged performance.
"Last night I held a mirror up to this country and some people don’t like its reflection," the rapper began. "Yet this is exactly where we’re being taken, cut off and at all costs. The people in power who are trying to isolate and divide us aren’t the ones who will feel its effects the hardest. They’re not the ones queuing at the food banks, not the ones navigating Universal Credit and not the ones having to deal with systematic oppression and hate crimes at the hands of privileged politicians who say what they want without fear and consequence."
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
"We as a people are not being looked after and our best interests are not being served by those in government – this is their job and they’re not doing it well enough. This ‘act’ was a metaphor for what this government is doing to our country, except what I did was present it in plain sight."
He added: "No Boris Johnsons were hurt in the making of this Slowthai performance. I don’t condone violence in any form."
Johnson has become the face of the "Brexit" movement ever since he took office in July, vowing to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
The incident at the awards has stirred comparisons to the controversial 2017 photoshoot by American comic Kathy Griffin, who held a similar prop facsimile of President Trump's severed head.
Griffin faced swift backlash, including lost endorsements and an end to her yearly hosting gig for CNN's New Year's Eve broadcast. She has since made efforts to salvage her career by launching a comedy tour and releasing a documentary about the experience.