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Rita Ora and James Blunt join more than 700 stars to slam racism after Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets

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Musicians including Rita Ora and James Blunt have united to stand against racism after rapper Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets.

In an open letter shared online, around 700 artists and label executives called for the British music industry to ‘wipe out racism’ and declared ‘silence is not an option’. 

Others who have signed the powerful statement include Niall Horan, Little Mix, Lewis Capaldi, Labrinth and Chic star Nile Rodgers.

'Silence is not an option': Rita Ora is one of around 700 artists who has signed an open letter calling for racism to be 'wiped out' in the British music industry after Wiley's anti-Semitic rant

‘Silence is not an option’: Rita Ora is one of around 700 artists who has signed an open letter calling for racism to be ‘wiped out’ in the British music industry after Wiley’s anti-Semitic rant

The letter read: ‘We, the British music industry are proudly uniting to amplify our voices, to take responsibility, to speak out and stand together in solidarity. Silence is not an option. 

‘There is a global love for music, irrespective of race, religion, sexuality and gender. Music brings joy and hope and connects us all. 

‘Through music, education and empathy we can find unity. We stand together, to educate and wipe out racism now and for our future generations.’

The letter went on to explain why the high-profile artists have decided to speak out, referencing police brutality in America and anti-Jewish racism shared online. 

Rants: The statement comes after Grime artist Wiley apologised for 'generalising' during a series of tweets in which he appeared to blame 'a community of Jewish lawyers' in the music industry for 'using systemic racism' against black artists

Rants: The statement comes after Grime artist Wiley apologised for ‘generalising’ during a series of tweets in which he appeared to blame ‘a community of Jewish lawyers’ in the music industry for ‘using systemic racism’ against black artists

It read: ‘In recent months through a series of events and incidents, the anti-black racists and antisemites, plus those who advocate islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, have repeatedly demonstrated that they clearly want us all to fail. 

‘Whether it be systemic racism and racial inequality highlighted by continued police brutality in America or anti-Jewish racism promulgated through online attacks, the result is the same: suspicion, hatred and division. 

‘We are at our worst when we attack one another. Minorities from all backgrounds and faiths have struggled and suffered. 

Speaking up: James Blunt (pictured) has also signed the letter, along with artists such as Niall Horan, Little Mix, Lewis Capaldi, Labrinth and Chic star Nile Rodgers

Speaking up: James Blunt (pictured) has also signed the letter, along with artists such as Niall Horan, Little Mix, Lewis Capaldi, Labrinth and Chic star Nile Rodgers

‘From slavery to the Holocaust we have painful collective memories. All forms of racism have the same roots — ignorance, lack of education and scapegoating.’

As well as singers and songwriters, several labels such as Island Records have also signed the open letter and shared it on their social media accounts 

Using the #NoSilenceInMusic, dozens of musicians and music companies have shown their support for the anti-racism movement.  

This is not the first time the music industry has stood together in an attempt to ‘wipe out racism’ and in the 1970s concert Rock Against Racism was staged.

Taking a stand: Nile Rodgers is among those who has signed the open letter and also shared the message to his Twitter account on Sunday

Taking a stand: Nile Rodgers is among those who has signed the open letter and also shared the message to his Twitter account on Sunday

All together: Island Records also shared the powerful statement along with the hashtag No Silence In Music

All together: Island Records also shared the powerful statement along with the hashtag No Silence In Music

United: Girlband Little Mix have also lent their suport and signatures to the movement

United: Girlband Little Mix have also lent their suport and signatures to the movement

Support: Lewis Capaldi is another musician who is supporting the campaign

Support: Lewis Capaldi is another musician who is supporting the campaign

However this move comes after a period of heightened political activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, US.

The black man died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes despite him repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe. 

And in the UK many have condoned grime star Wiley’s recent tweets in which he appeared to blame ‘a community of Jewish lawyers’ in the music industry for ‘using systemic racism’ against black artists. 

Wiley has since apologised for ‘generalising’ during his anti-Semitic social media rants which prompted Twitter to permanently suspend his account.

Throwback: This is not the first time the music industry has stood together in an attempt to 'wipe out racism' and in the 1970s concert Rock Against Racism was staged

Throwback: This is not the first time the music industry has stood together in an attempt to ‘wipe out racism’ and in the 1970s concert Rock Against Racism was staged

Making a difference: The Clash are pictured performing during the Rock Against Racism concert at Victoria Park in Hackney in 1976

Making a difference: The Clash are pictured performing during the Rock Against Racism concert at Victoria Park in Hackney in 1976

The musician, 41, said that the argument should have stayed between himself and his manager, John Woolf.  

‘I just want to apologise for generalising and going outside of the people who I was talking to within the workspace and workplace I work in,’ he said.

‘My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people. I want to apologise for generalising, and I want to apologise for comments that were looked at as anti-Semitic.’ 

Wiley also appeared to try to justify his provocative comments by suggesting ‘the Jewish community is powerful within the music business.’ 

Tweets: Wiley shared a series of anti-Semitic posts on Friday July 24. The comments made on Twitter and Instagram are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police

Tweets: Wiley shared a series of anti-Semitic posts on Friday July 24. The comments made on Twitter and Instagram are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police

The musician, whose real name is Richard Cowie, was widely condemned for a series of anti-Semitic posts he made on social media, including a video shared last Friday telling Jews to ‘crawl out from under your little rocks.’

Twitter said on Wednesday it has permanently suspended him over posts – including one which called Jewish people ‘cowards and snakes’ – and is ‘continuing to assess the situation internally’. He was initially given a temporary ban. 

Wiley has also been banned from Instagram and Facebook after continuing to post inflammatory comments on social media until Tuesday.     

The musician caused further controversy when he claimed his Jewish associates in the music and entertainment industry ‘still see us as slaves’ in an interview with The Voice newspaper.  

Thoughts: Lily Allen admitted she was 'really worried' after reading Grime artist Wiley's anti-Semitic tweets that compared Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan on Friday

Thoughts: Lily Allen admitted she was ‘really worried’ after reading Grime artist Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets that compared Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan on Friday

He said: ‘Without generalising, there is no point saying all [Jews], it is the people I work with in the music and entertainment industry, the Jewish community that I have experienced.

‘The things that need to change is the way that the system was set up, why all of these families are rich, or all of these people have heritage, not just England, like, worldwide. They still see us as slaves.

‘Slavery hasn’t stopped, it’s just dressed-up in a million-pound record deal.’ 

The rapper, known as the Godfather of Grime, was made an MBE for services to music in 2018.

Action: The Campaign Against Antisemitism protested outside Twitter's London office on Tuesday, projecting a message onto the social media company's building

Action: The Campaign Against Antisemitism protested outside Twitter’s London office on Tuesday, projecting a message onto the social media company’s building

However the Campaign Against Antisemitism has said it will contact the Cabinet Office to ask for Wiley’s MBE to be revoked.

Speaking to Sky News, Wiley said he would be willing to give it up as he ‘never wanted it’.

He told the broadcaster: ‘I never felt comfortable going to get it. Just look at Britain’s colonialism history.’ 

The manager, who is Jewish, said he no longer represents Wiley and has cut ties with the rapper.

Wiley’s tweets saw him receive a backlash from the music community and also sparked concern from other artists.

Consequences: Wiley was permanently suspended from Twitter six days after his series of anti-Semitic posts sparked a 48-hour walkout by users in protest (pictured in 2018)

Consequences: Wiley was permanently suspended from Twitter six days after his series of anti-Semitic posts sparked a 48-hour walkout by users in protest (pictured in 2018)

Lily Allen, who has signed the open letter, said she was ‘really worried’ after reading Wiley’s anti Semitic tweets last week.

The singer, 35, took to Instagram to reveal how she felt about the Grime artist’s remarks, and urged people to come together to have a sense of community. 

Speaking from her bed the singer looked sad and upset as she said: ‘So I just had a look at Wiley’s Tweets. Oh dear. 

‘Oh I’m really worried about everyone just going for each other on the Internet and it all being egged on by Big Data and big tech. 

‘Its just really sad watching communities who should be like, coming together helping each other out, turn against each other and I just feel like it’s going to get worse. I hope it doesn’t.’ 

Shocking: In one post on his personal Facebook, Wiley claimed that 'certain people' viewed black people as 'below them' in society (pictured at Wireless Festival in 2018)

Shocking: In one post on his personal Facebook, Wiley claimed that ‘certain people’ viewed black people as ‘below them’ in society (pictured at Wireless Festival in 2018)

#NoSilenceInMusic: The full open letter to ‘wipe out’ racism signed by 700 artists and musicians 

The powerful open letter signed by around 700 artists and members of the British music industry was posted online and shared on social media.

‘We, representatives from the music industry, write to demonstrate and express our determination, that love, unity and friendship, not division and hatred, must and will always be our common cause.

‘In recent months through a series of events and incidents, the anti-black racists and antisemites, plus those who advocate islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, have repeatedly demonstrated that they clearly want us all to fail. 

‘Whether it be systemic racism and racial inequality highlighted by continued police brutality in America or anti-Jewish racism promulgated through online attacks, the result is the same: suspicion, hatred and division. We are at our worst when we attack one another.

‘Minorities from all backgrounds and faiths have struggled and suffered. From slavery to the Holocaust we have painful collective memories. All forms of racism have the same roots — ignorance, lack of education and scapegoating. 

‘We, the British music industry are proudly uniting to amplify our voices, to take responsibility, to speak out and stand together in solidarity. Silence is not an option.

‘There is a global love for music, irrespective of race, religion, sexuality and gender. Music brings joy and hope and connects us all. Through music, education and empathy we can find unity. We stand together, to educate and wipe out racism now and for our future generations.’

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