DJ criticises Radio 1 chief

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The Independent Online
ANDY KERSHAW, The Independent's radio critic and a long-standing Radio 1 disc-jockey, has criticised the station's controller, Andy Parfitt, for broadcasting violent and gun-related rap records after the shooting of Radio 1 presenter Tim Westwood. Kershaw also accuses Mr Parfitt of being "condescending and insulting" to black Britons.

Westwood, who presents the Radio 1 rap show, was wounded two weeks ago. His place was taken on last week's 11pm Friday show by the New York rap disc-jockey Funkmaster Flex; the show was repeated again last night. "Any hopes that the Funkmaster would be sensitive to Westwood's appalling experience were swiftly dispelled," says Mr Kershaw in his column today. "Over the three hours of the programme he verbally brandished sufficient firepower to seize control of a medium-size central African state."

Kershaw, who has worked for Radio 1 for 15 years, said:"He [Mr Parfitt] says Radio 1 has a duty to reflect the nation's communities ... in this context, Andy Parfitt means, of course, black people.

"It's hard to imagine a more condescending and insulting attitude to the majority within that community than to suggest that these gunslinging, American misogynists are an accurate reflection of black culture in the UK. But Parfitt thinks it's cool to broadcast this stuff."

The records that angered Kershaw were mainly about guns. "By item three in the programme we were already in a hail of hot metal: 'I got the mind capacity of a young Butch Cassidy / Get fly, let 'em defy gravity / Both fire rapidly, lift your chest cavity...' quipped a young rapper," writes Mr Kershaw.

Mr Parfitt argues that it is pointless to take individual lyrics out of context from the rap or song they appear in. He also says Westwood wanted the show to be "business as usual".

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