Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Diaspora / International news

UK Home Office Block Afrobeats Stars And Denied Them Visas To Perform In Britain

The Voice Newspaper has reported that the UK Home Office has launched what has been described as the “biggest attack on a Black music genre by British authorities, since Dancehall in the 1990s”.


According to the publication, Afrobeats artists are now the subject of scrutiny, as the Home Office has denied dozens of the genre’s stars’ visas to perform in Britain.


The Voice report, which was published today, said that the publication had conducted an investigation which found that the department had stopped at least 20 singers from entering the UK to perform at Afrobeats festivals.


It also said that both singers and producers have warned that “the hostile environment against the world’s fastest-growing music genre risks top names boycotting the UK.”


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The reference to Dancehall which was drawn by The Voice, though, appears to be to the 2000s and 2010s. In 2012, for example, Sizzla Kalonji was banned from performing in the UK, while Beenie Man, Buju Banton and Elephant Man were placed under investigation for lyrics that the authorities thought were inciting violence against homosexuals.


n April 2011, several of Vybz Kartel’s shows which had been set for the UK, were cancelled due to his work visa application being denied by the UK High Commission in Kingston, just days before his schedule European tour. This denial had resulted in a several promoters cancelling shows booked in Germany, Italy, England and France.


In November 2004, the Manchester Evening News had also reported that Government sources had denied Sizzla Kalonji a visa to enter Britain, as his lyrics “are claimed to incite attacks on gays”.


According to the publication, all five of the shows for which the Dry Cry artist was booked “were scrapped after gay rights group Outrage! launched a massive campaign” to have him barred.


Back in July 2006, concerts for which Buju Banton and Beenie Man were booked were canceled in Brighton and Bournemouth after complaints from gay rights groups and a warning from the local authority that it risked losing its license because the performance could endanger public safety.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.


Unlike the Dancehall artists however, The Voice notes that in the case of Afrobeats, “West African artists are treated with more suspicion despite being part of a multi-million dollar industry, and when visas are granted to stars, their dancers have been turned down.”


“Afrobeat stars fume that Britain is the hardest embassy in the world to deal with, and they are routinely given short stays of just two weeks which prevents them from making the most of their visit,” the publication said.


In August last year, the Home Office was also rebuked for what some Britons described as hostility to iconic Roots Reggae band Black Uhuru after the group was forced to cancel their UK tour after the Home Office issued visas with unreasonable time limits.


The Jamaican band, which won the first-ever Grammy Award for a Reggae Recording back in 1985, had been booked to perform at the Jazz Café in Camden, London, on Saturday, September 3, as part of their 50th-anniversary tour. However, the promoters had cancelled the event as the UK Home Office had failed to give group adequate time in the country to allow them to meet the September show date.


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The report also said that numerous artists from the African continent have had their visa applications denied, but are unwilling to speak publicly about it, due to a “stigma attached to visa refusals from Britain, which many believe will tarnish their brand and reputation.”

Written By


You May Also Like...

Video Releases

Acclaimed reggae artist Black Prophet has delighted fans with the release of the official music video for his soul-stirring single “Forgive Us”. The video...


The Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) is advising Ghanaian Dancehall King  Shatta Wale to forbear from mocking colleague musician, Stonebwoy with his...