Inequality & Underrepresentation in Music: A discussion with Chiedu Oraka, Kofi Smiles & Bacary Mundoba

Art & Culture

In recent months there has been widespread focus and attention targeted towards inequality and racism across the spectrum of society. This is no new issue, it’s a story old as humanity itself and yet it remains a sickening, unseemly plight upon our society, one of which we are all far too guilty of ignoring. 

Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of American police officers in May earlier this year there has been widespread protest, unrest and rightful anger directed to societal structures and institutions which have chosen to uphold or ignore racism and inequality within their organisations. These range from media outlets to clothing manufacturers, public services to politicians, entertainment franchises to technology providers and beyond. This unrest and anger is justified, warranted and rightfully so. It’s a battle cry against systemic racism, inequality, privilege and power which has brought shame upon the human race.

Black lives matter, Black voices matter and they damned as hell deserve to be heard. 

The music industry is no exception. Far too often we have seen Black music and culture profited upon whilst Black voices are swept beneath the rug. The following podcast tells the story behind this, exploring in granular detail the experiences of three Black men from the North of England. 

Chiedu Oraka is a rapper from Kingston upon Hull. A city and heritage of which he is proud. He channels this in his own music through his Northern accent, tone of expression and storytelling. 

Kofi Smiles is a BBC Radio presenter and reporter. His charismatic personality and charming demeanour stands him in as greater stead as his encyclopaedic knowledge of underground and upcoming music.

Bacary Mundoba is a singer and musician who fronts the band Bud Sugar, an indie come Afro-Pop crossover group who have received critical acclaim and praise following the release of several albums and international appearances. 

All three of these men are representative of the Black “British” narrative, note the inverted comas as the podcast will reveal. In this interview we spoke about underrepresentation and inequality in the music industry, racism in the UK, politics, identity and progression. They speak humbly, honestly and with passion. Their experiences represent a narrative which is far too common and must be eradicated. Racism is not for debate, each and every one of us must play our part and their words demonstrate the need for greater, intrinsic change both on a personal and societal level.