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Supporting Sheku Kanneh-Mason

25th January 2024

Music Mark is deeply saddened to read of the online racist abuse being directed at the internationally renowned cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason following his interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Talking about the song ‘Rule Britannia’ being performed as part of the last night of the BBC Proms, he rightly points out that there are many other songs which could provide a more inclusive celebration of Britain’s music and musicians.

Sheku and his family are an inspiration to many children and young people. They are talented musicians each developing and sustaining careers as performers, and we are proud to call Dr Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason a Music Mark Champion who advocates for Music Education as a parent.

To build a more inclusive Music Education we need to listen to those who question current practice, to understand alternative perspectives. Music contributes to society by bringing people together with a common emotional language, so we must understand where repertoire divides and alienates, and we need to hear where that is the case. As a society we must not allow those who raise opinions to be subject to racist abuse for identifying things which are alienating. To respond with hatred and vitriol, perpetuates and magnifies the lack of equity and inclusion in our society.

Music Mark respects and values the comments Sheku has made, which demonstrate that repertoire choices need to be made which ensure everyone can be part of musical celebrations such as the Last Night of the Proms.