The rapper Slowthai has insisted he doesn’t condone violence in any form after pulling out a fake severed head of Boris Johnson during his performance at the Mercury Prize.
In a somewhat flippant statement defending the stunt, the 24-year-old quipped: “No Boris Johnsons were hurt in the making of this Slowthai performance.”
Slowthai – whose real name is Tyron Kaymone Frampton – claimed his act “was a metaphor for what this government is doing to our country, except what I did was present it in plain sight”.
After stripping to the waist during an energetic rendition of his track Doorman, the rapper had grabbed the fake head from the floor and held it aloft, shouting: “F*** Boris Johnson. F*** everything.”
Although there were huge cheers as he left the stage, awards host Lauren Laverne quickly addressed the incident, saying: “Slowthai, with his own views there.”
In a Twitter statement on Friday, the rapper wrote: “[On Thursday] night I held up a mirror to this country and some people didn’t like the reflection.
“The people who isolate and divide us aren’t the ones who will feel its effects the hardest.
“They’re not the ones queuing at food banks, not the ones navigating Universal Credit and not the ones having to deal with systematic oppression and hate crime at the hands of privileged politicians who say what they want without fear and consequence.
“We as a people are not being looked after and our best interests are not being served by those in government – this is their job and they’re not doing it well enough.”