Tyler, the Creator calls out Theresa May in BRIT Awards acceptance speech
He thanked the former U.K. Prime Minister, who banned him from performing in the country five years ago.
On Tuesday (Feb. 18), Tyler, the Creator was honored at the United Kingdom’s 2020 BRIT Awards, taking home the Best International Male Award. It was only five years ago that the IGOR rapper was banned from performing in England, and during his award acceptance speech he reflected on the ban — specifically calling out former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Shoutout to all the British funk from the ‘80s that I try to copy. Shoutout Sony and Columbia for always having my back, thank you,” he began his speech. “Shoutout to all the U.K. boys that keep this place fun for me at night.”
“I want to give a special shoutout to someone who I hold dear to my heart, who made it where I couldn’t come to this country five years ago,” he continued. “I know she’s at home pissed off. Thank you, Theresa May.”
Back in August of 2015, Tyler had been barred from carrying out his U.K. tour, after the country’s Parliament and May ruled his albums Bastard and Goblin too violent and homophobic for British audiences. At the time, Tyler’s manager Christian Clancy had revealed the ban in a statement made to fans.
“Tyler has been banned from entering the U.K. for somewhere between three to five years, per a letter from the secretary of state for the home department of the United Kingdom,” Clancy said. “Highlights from the letter include that his work ‘Encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality’ and ‘Fosters hatred with views thats seek to provoke others to terrorist acts.’”
“Coming to the U.K. is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values,” May’s office had also stated at the time.
Tyler was scheduled to make his return to the U.K. last May. However, his London concert was ultimately canceled, due to the venue reportedly being overpacked and impossible for the Metropolitan Police Department to control.
This year has seen several feats for the genre-blending artist, including a Grammys win for Best Rap Album and TIME’s Music Innovator of the Year.
Watch Tyler get the last laugh during his BRIT Awards speech below.
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