Czech Republic: More musicians criticize popularity of xenophobic band
Criticism of the Czech Nightingale (Český slavík) popular music survey has begun to increase after the xenophobic band Ortel came in second place. Romani musician Radek Banga, whose stage name is Gipsy, is being joined by other performers who are criticizing the results of the survey.
Ben Cristovao won the award for "Most-Streamed Song of the Year" as part of Saturday's gala awards ceremony but did not personally attend because of the right-wing extremists in Ortel. "The only reason I allowed Lukáš Rychtařík, on behalf of my management team, Championship Music and The Glowsticks, to receive the Slavík award for me is that it's a prize that comes purely from those of you who listen to our music and it doesn't have anything to do with the position of the contest or its voting process - I didn't want to deny my team the opportunity to express themselves. I have already expressed my opinion in my song 'IronBen'. I don't need Slavíky or any other 'wings', the numbers speak for me. People who are capable of expressing their appreciation for Fascism are distasteful to me and I have no respect for them," Cristovao posted to his Instagram profile.
"We had to deal with whether to go pick up the award or not, the contest just basically took statistical data from the IFPI [International Federation of the Phonographic Industry] and created a new category out of it. On the other hand, it is an appreciation that has arisen because of the actual interest in Ben's music from fans, and that should not be ignored. In any event, if a music survey supports controversial artists who play around with extremism and incite hatred in society, and if a band like that receives their award from the director of the survey himself, then we cannot continue in any way whatsoever to be associated with the activities of the Český slavík Mattoni prize," Rychtařík of Championship Music told news server ireport.cz.
Radek Banga was supported in his protest against Ortel during the gala ceremony itself by Iva Pazderková, Filip Smid, Petr Štolba (better known under his stage name Pekař) and Jan Tuna. "Evil must be named and opposed. When a singer with complexes promotes Nazism and hatred against a group of people, i.e., even against children or women, people who have done nothing to deserve such hatred, then I believe one must make one's position clear and not stay silent," moderator Jan Tuna said in an interview for news server Seznam.cz.
"I regret there were not more such people [protesting]. I am sorry that Lucie Bílá, who talks about how much she loves everybody everywhere she goes, remained in that theater without telling her fans that it's not normal to incite hatred against a group of people," Tuna said.
Other performers spoke up after the results were announced. "Yesterday evening I had a good time, I liked it. I was sitting in the front row, so it was a new experience for me. Today, however, I have also learned something, and that is how to disagree with something. I appreciate the bravery of Radek Banga, that he was able to do what he did. I stand with him," singer Marta Jandová told the news server Prásk.tv.
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