Musician George The Poet has revealed he turned down an MBE because of the "pure evil" actions by the British empire.

The British-born spoken word artist, whose parents are Ugandan, says he was offered the accolade in May this year, but rejected it as a result of the UK's history of colonialism in Africa.

George spoke of the topic on his podcast Have You Heard George's Podcast?. He said: “I turned down an MBE. A friend asked me if I would accept it, I just saw my parents’ faces and without thinking I said ‘yes’ and then I took a minute and reflected, reflected on my status and I felt a burning sensation in my chest."

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He went on to describe that he changed his mind due to the actions the British empire's "colonial exploits" in Africa and how it effected "millions" and brought "intergenerational disruption" to the continent.

“Your forefathers grabbed my motherland, pinned her down and took turns. They did that every day for a couple hundred years and then left her to treat her own burns. Now all of her children are born with a set of unique concerns and gaps in the information that we really do need to learn and none of us know why, why we got absorbed by a ‘higher entity’, why I have to fight for my identity.

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“George – people know me as this – the name of some old colonialist and you are so conceited it doesn’t even occur to you how lonely this is. What they did was pure evil and you can’t see it because that was your people.”

“I see myself as student, admirer and friend of Britain. However, the colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa, entrenched across our geopolitical and macroeconomic realities, prevents me from accepting the title Member of the British Empire." He added the "gesture is deeply appreciated, the wording is not."

He later tweeted: "I don’t think the whole empire is pure evil, I just think rape is, and that’s what the British empire did to my motherland."

George The Poet has worked with Chase & Status, Bodhi and Steel Banglez in the past.

[Via: the Guardian]

Dave Turner is Mixmag's Commercial Content Editor, follow him on Twitter

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