George The Poet Turns Down MBE Over Pure Evil Of British Empire | Politics
The spoken word artist George the Poet has turned down an MBE, feeling that he cannot accept it due to the “pure evil” of the British Empire.
This was revealed to audiences during the final episode of his BBC Sounds series Have You Heard George’s Podcast? while discussing the legacies of colonialism. To accept an MBE is to become a Member of the Order of the British Empire, something that London-born George Mpanga, who is of Ugandan heritage, was unable to do because of the “colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa”.
He stressed that he sees himself as a “student, admirer and friend of Britain”, and that he loves the country, but loves it “with transparency”. He went on to say that while the “gesture is deeply appreciated, the wording is not”.
Listeners heard that he had initially told a friend that he would accept an MBE if nominated, but when he was formally offered one, he felt an unprecedented “burning sensation” in his chest. Apologising to the friend who nominated him upon his assurances that he would accept, George the Poet admitted, “I didn’t know I would feel this way”.
The spoken word artist assured his listeners that he did not take issue with other black people who had accepted this honour, stating that he “encouraged variety of thought across our society and within my community.” However, he wanted to “encourage future generations to seek the relevant information to make an informed decision”. He asked his listeners, “What do the words British Empire mean to you?”
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