The British hitmaker, real name Ben Drew, was criticised for wearing the neo-Nazi band’s shirt for a recent Shortlist cover shoot, but he has been quick to respond to rising Internet sentiment, insisting he was “ignorant” to the band and its music and he had no idea the image would provoke such a strong reaction.
In a statement released on Sunday (22Jul12), he writes, “I don’t listen to music like that so I wouldn’t know the names of bands that make that music. I was wearing a T-shirt I created using a photograph from the photographer Gavin Watson’s book Skins. I asked him if I could print shots from his book on to T-shirts. I made a number of these T-shirts.
“Gavin’s photos (of skinheads) are relevant to me because they represent the demonised youth of the past. Just like my generation of young people are demonised in the media to all be hoodie wearing thugs and chavs (British colloquial term) so were the skinheads in the 80′s.
“Not all of them were racist but, because some of them were, the rest were all tarred with the same brush. That is why I feel the images of the skinheads represented in Gavin’s work are relevant to me and this generation. Gavin is a friend and the people he took photos of were his friends who listened to reggae and ska music.
“Gavin did not know I had printed that image on a T-shirt and I was not aware of the significance of it. The minute I found out what the words on the T-shirt meant I was angry with myself for not questioning them. The T-shirt is not official nor is it on sale anywhere. It was of my own doing and therefore it is my mistake, but that is all it is.”
The rapper has also hit back at reports suggesting the image on his T-shirt in the picture features violent neo-Nazi Nicky Crane.
He states, “The boy on the image (sic) is Neville Watson. Neville is Gavin Watson’s brother.”Share on Facebook