Ed Sheeran named ‘most important act in black and urban music’

Grime artist Wiley calls it 'the saddest list in music history'

The BBC has been accused of producing “the saddest list in music history” after its black and urban music radio station 1Xtra produced a “power list” in which three out of the top four acts are white.

Topping the 1XtraPowerList – promoted by the BBC as naming the “most important UK artists in the black and urban music scene” – was Ed Sheeran, the white son of an art lecturer, who grew up in rural Framlingham, Suffolk, and whose music has combined elements of folk with hip-hop and grime.

The highest-placed black artist was rapper Tinie Tempah, who came third – behind second-placed Disclosure, the white brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, and just ahead of Sam Smith, the white son of a former City banker.

The list, offered by a radio station describing itself as “the UK’s leading black music station”, was condemned by the Grime artist Wiley, who was placed 16th out of 20. Calling it “the saddest list in music history”, Wiley, 35, whose hits include “Heatwave” and “Wearing My Rolex”, tweeted: “Not taking anything away from Ed. He is sick. But black artists in England, we are getting bumped... We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns he has influenced us.”

He added: “England music industry is backwards.”

Wiley labelled it: “the saddest list in music history” Wiley labelled it: “the saddest list in music history” Wiley’s criticism follows claims that 1Xtra and other radio stations created to showcase black music were instead switching to playing mainstream hits. Kele Okereke, the frontman of the indie band Bloc Party, has criticised 1Xtra for axing the dancehall and RnB DJs Robbo Ranks and CJ Beatz because of “budget cuts”, while keeping more club-oriented presenters. In an article for the Vice website, he said: “The UK has an issue with racism that we are unwilling to address – it is reflected in negative attitudes towards black British music, but also towards black British culture in general.”

Black artists who did make the top 10 of the power list included Fuse ODG and Emeli Sande, picked by a panel of “industry experts” sifting through suggestions made by the station’s listeners.

A BBC spokesman said: “Artists were considered on variables such as sales statistics, quality of music and impact across the wider industry – it is not about the colour of someone’s skin.”

Video: Sheeran on the music industry, America and trying new sounds

Austin Daboh, music manager at 1Xtra, insisted: “We are a station that cares very deeply about black music. From Stylo G to Fekky these are all acts that were played, supported and guided by 1Xtra, often before anyone else cared.”

He added: “There is definitely a wider debate to be had around the mainstream support for black music. Legitimate concerns have been raised around the pressure some artists feel to compete commercially.”

Read more: Why did Ed Sheeran top Radio 1Xtra's power list?

Colour blind? 1xtra’s powerlist

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Disclosure
3. Tinie Tempah
4. Sam Smith
5. Rudimental
6. Emeli Sande
7. Naughty Boy
8. Katy B
9. Krept & Konan
10. Fuse ODG
11. Boy Better Know
12. Rita Ora
13. Lethal Bizzle
14. DJ Fresh
15. Jessie J
16. Wiley
17. Giggs
18. Laura Mvula
19. Wretch 32
20. Dizzee Rascal

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits