Students’ Union venues such as Drapers and The Griff Inn are now prohibited from playing songs by R Kelly, Chris Brown, Cee-Lo Green and other artists accused of sexual violence.
The Student Council motion, put forward by QMSU’s VP Welfare Ella Harvey, proposed that music created by any artist accused of rape, paedophilia, and other illegal forms of sexual violence should not be played at outlets. The motion passed with 19 For and 3 abstentions.
Student Council members queried whether this ban would only concern those artists who had been found guilty, or include those who had been accused. Commercial Services Officer, Joe Vinson, explained that it will be up to students to decide which artists should be included.
A last-minute amendment was added to the motion which would allow any student to submit proposals to add to or amend the list of prohibited artists. The proposals will be considered and voted on by the Welfare Zone Committee.
It was hinted in the meeting that in the future the list might also include artists who use homophobic or transphobic language.
Robin Thicke was banned from being played in Students’ Union venues in 2013 after a petition garnered over 200 student signatures in protest of the song ‘Blurred Lines’. Stevie Rankin, Mile End Women’s Officer at the time, said: “’Blurred Lines’ is the quintessential song of the moment that normalises sexual harassment and condones rape culture”.
Since the passing of the motion at Student Council on February 26, Michael Jackson has been added to the list of excluded artists following allegations of child sex abuse resurfacing.
As for the impact of this ban, Harvey says: “It will demonstrate that, as a Union, we don’t condone sexual violence and do not want to support those that commit it”.
The list of excluded musical artists can be found on the Students’ Union website here: https://www.qmsu.org/news/article/7562/List-of-Excluded-Musical-Artists-Zero-Tolerance/