On Thursday night British rapper slowthai performed at the Mercury Prize ceremony in London. During his rendition of "Doorman," he brandished an an effigy of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decapitated head and repeatedly shouted "Fuck Boris" into the microphone.
Early on Friday, following a wave of negative reaction from MPs and Britain's tabloid press, slowthai issued a statement in which he stressed that he doesn't condone violence but wanted to make a statement about Johnson and "the people in power who are trying to isolate and divide us." See the statement below.
Conservative Party and right-wing politicians have rushed to condemn Slowthai for his performance. Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh, told The Sun: "I have never heard of Mr slowthai, but clearly he would never win many points in an etiquette contest." Nigel Farage, meanwhile, labelled him "absolutely disgusting."
The performance was filmed for broadcast on TV channel BBC4, though the camera panned away from the stage for the moments with the mannequin's head. You can see the performance below.
slowthai performed in a "Fuck Boris" t-shirt at the Mercury Prize. The shirts, which feature a cartoon PM performing a sex act on the U.K. on the reverse, were made available to purchase from Slowthai's website straight after the ceremony.
slowthai’s debut album Nothing Great About Britain was nominated for the Mercury Prize, but he missed out when the judges chose to award Dave and his debut, Psychodrama.
Thumbnail via Jeff Spicer/Getty.