Soul singer Aaradhna has been making headlines around the world after refusing an award at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.
After being announced as the winner of the ‘Best Urban/Hip Hop Artist’ category, Aaradhna took to the stage and said she couldn’t accept the award.
She explained, “OK. So this song is ‘Brown Girl’, and it speaks so many things. It speaks on racism, and being placed in a box. And for me, I feel like if I was to accept this [award], I feel like I’m not being truthful in my song. And I feel like if you’re putting a singer next to a hip-hop artist, it’s not fair. I’m a singer, I’m not a rapper, I’m not a hip-hop artist. It feels like I’ve been placed in the category of brown people. That’s what it feels like."
“I feel like we need a ‘Soul/RnB’ category. So right now I feel like I want to give this to a hip-hop artist, because I feel like this
is the kind of award that is for a hip-hop artist.”
The singer then offered her award to hip hop act SWIDT; a move which has been praised from a number of other Kiwi artists including Bic Runga, Savage, Che Fu and P Money.
Damian Vaughn, CEO of Recorded Music NZ, says he disagrees with the racism claim.
"There's no intention whatsoever that that is the case. The category has existed for some time [and] 'urban' is a description used for radio stations here locally," said Vaughan. However, he said the category would be looked at before next year’s ceremony.
Listen to Aaradhna’s song ‘Brown Girl’ below.