Racism row mars Norwegian music awards

Racism row mars Norwegian music awards
Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/Scanpix
Norwegian singer Lars Erik Blokkhus angered audience members and TV viewers on Saturday night with an ill-judged remark he made while picking up an award from two black artists at the national music awards.

Blokkhus and his band, Plumbo, took to the stage to accept the Hit of the Year award for their hit song Møkkamann, or ‘dirty man’, at Saturday night’s Spellemann awards.

Receiving the prize from hip-hop duo Madcon, Blokkhus said, “When I look at you two, the song suddenly gets a new name: Mokkamann [mocha man].”

The clear reference to Tshawe Baqwa and Yosef Wolde-Mariam’s skin colour first caused the pair to laugh, before the joke seemed to sink in and they walked off stage in disgust.

The ill-advised one-liner prompted a furious reaction. Audience members booed the Plumbo singer, another band’s guitarist poured beer on his head, while comments flooded in on Twitter and Facebook from politicians, artists and members of the public.

After the show, Tshawe Baqwa labelled Blokkhus a "fittehøl", an extremely vulgar expression describing the female genitalia. His choice of insult further fanned the flames of a dispute that already had the internet overheating.   

Once tempers had cooled down, the bands apologized to each other for their comments and said the dispute was already forgotten. 

Broadcaster NRK accepted Plumbo’s climb-down and said the band would be permitted to participate in the national qualifiers for the Eurovision Song Contest as planned. 

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