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UK: BBC criticised for ‘tone-deaf’ R&B show presented by former white Girls Aloud singer who was accused of racism

R&B fans are questioning why a Black British artist was not chosen for the role

The BBC has been criticised for its decision to book Girls Aloud singer Cheryl as the presenter of a new BBC Sounds show about R&B. 

Cheryl and the BBC have been hit by major backlash over her new R&B show.

The 38-year-old this week announced her new podcast, after signing a deal with the BBC’s platform BBC Sounds. 

Described as a ‘passionate love letter to the genre’, You, Me & R&B hear Cheryl explore her favorite songs from ‘the greatest music genre there’s ever been with the star saying: ‘I’ve always had an absolute love and passion for R&B and I’m so excited to share my new show with you on BBC Sounds.

Cheryl when she was 19 of launched at a dark-skinned toilet attendant by the name of Miss Amogbokpa and, screaming: ‘You ****ing black bitch. I’ll deal with you.’ The singer punched Miss Amogbokpa, knocking off her glasses and causing her severe bruising. Cheryl was cleared of racism but found guilty of assault in a UK court.

Miss Amogbokpa, a law student and church-goer who earns £25 a night at the club to help pay for her college course, yesterday had blurred vision and an eye so badly swollen she was unable to open it. She said she intended to press charges.

Miss Amogbokpa claimed Cheryl grabbed ‘handfuls’ of sweets without leaving any money and screamed racist abuse at her when she tried to prevent her from leaving the toilets.

In 2010 Cheryl was at the center of another race row after failing to put a black contestant through to the X Factor when she was a judge on the UK version of the show despite admitting that she had an outstanding voice.

Cheryl decided that Gamu Nhengu, who had been one of the favorites to win the ITV talent show, would not go through to the last 12.

After selecting two white contestants who had trouble with their auditions – Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel – Cheryl told the 18-year-old Zimbabwean: ‘You are extremely adorable. You’ve got a great voice. Over 128,000 people have joined the ‘Gamu should have got through’ group on Facebook

However, despite Cheryl’s racist past, the BBC feels that she has a  passion for R&B. There has been criticism of the decision to have the star host the show, with many doubting her credentials to front an R&B podcast. 

The Girls Aloud star trended on Twitter as people pointed out that Cheryl was a member of one of the UK’s biggest pop bands, and largely recorded pop music in her solo career as well.

Others argued that a Black artist or presenter should have been given the gig, with artists including Lemar, Gabrielle, Shola Ama, Jamelia, Beverley Knight, Estelle, DJ Ace, and Craig David suggested as alternatives.

One tweet accused the BBC of being ‘tone-deaf’, while another read: ‘Wow. Who thought it was a good idea to sign this off? And overlooked a wealth of talent in the process.’

London Hughes added that she wasn’t surprised at the booking, tweeting: ‘I’m not sure why some of you are shocked that Cheryl Cole is doing an ‘Rnb’ podcast when the biggest soulful singer that we have in the UK is Adele. White women have always been allowed to take up space in UK ‘Black music’ Word to Rita Ora, Jess Glynne, Jessie J, Joss Stone etc.’

Addressing the criticism, a BBC spokesperson told ‘We feature a wide range of voices spanning different genres across our extensive music output. Many of our shows are fronted by DJs who are experts in their fields, others are hosted by people with a passion for their topic.

‘Cheryl’s You, Me and R&B share personal stories from her youth, soundtracked by her favorite genre.’

Cheryl’s first episode of You, Me & R&B was released this week, and heard the singer play songs from Aaliyah, Brandy, Donell Jones, Blackstreet, and Mary J Blige. 

Out of the one-hour show, the Fight For This Love singer spoke for under five minutes, simply introducing the show and a handful of songs, and discussing the meaning behind Tweet’s Oops (Oh My).

The star, who shares son Bear with Liam Payne, said: ‘That was a cheeky break-out hit for Tweet and Missy Elliott and for years there was speculation about what the song was about. Now it seems pretty obvious to me what it was about but in the past 12 months we finally know Missy’s – I’m going to call – excuse, and she reckons it was always about her appreciating her dark skin, so her loving herself basically.

Girls Aloud
Cheryl made her name in the hugely successful pop band Girls Aloud (Picture: Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

‘It was the listeners that thought it was about sex and just ran with it and she just let the consumer’s mind create what they wanted. So unless we all have our minds in the gutter, someone’s telling fibs.

‘Someone definitely got the wrong end of the stick and I’m going to say Missy… she’s turned that about to be the appropriate meaning. It took them 19 years to clear that up by the way, we’ve all just been sitting singing what we thought was one of the sexiest songs ever. Oh right Missy. Oh right.’

At the end of the show, Cheryl briefly discussed meeting Damage, before introducing the week’s ‘slow jam’, Usher’s Nice and Slow, saying: ‘Every show, I will be dipping into the steamy end of the R&B pool to find the sexiest anthems around. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ll agree there isn’t anything quite like R&B for getting you in the mood of love, of feeling good, of feeling sexy.’

What do you think?

Written by The Editor

warrior dedicated to the cause of fighting the takeover of our culture.


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