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Music

Sir Lenny Henry "always surprised" by the lack of Black people at Glastonbury

Celebrated comedian Sir Lenny Henry has recently opened up on his feelings towards the lack of diversity at UK music festivals, making some incisive comments about the racial landscape at our most prominent festival, Glastonbury. 

The Chef! star revealed that he is “always surprised” by the lack of Black representation at music festivals in the UK. As the conversation turned to Glastonbury, Henry also opined that it is “interesting” that he never sees any Black people in the audience. 

Glastonbury kicks off this week at its lifelong home, Worthy Farm in Somerset. This year promises to be the best one yet after two years out due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that it is finally getting to celebrate its 50th birthday after the delays. Marking a stellar return, the organisers have covered all bases regarding the headliners, with Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, and Kendrick Lamar bringing their act to the iconic Pyramid Stage.

Deep in a conversation about diversity and the environments where different ethnic groups don’t mix, Henry expressed: “It’s interesting to watch Glastonbury and look at the audience and not see any black people there.” He continued, “I’m always surprised by the lack of black and brown faces at festivals. I think, ‘Wow, that’s still very much a dominant culture thing’.”

Henry was speaking to the Radio Times about his latest show when he made his comments. His new documentary, Lenny Henry’s Caribbean Britain, examines the introduction and proliferation of Caribbean culture in the UK, speaking to a host of prominent figures from the community such as Levi Roots, Judy Love, and Billy Ocean. 

Afterwards, Henry turned his attention to Clive Myrie, becoming the first Black host of the BBC’s Mastermind. He said: “It’s great to have David Olusoga on television talking about black British history that goes back to Hadrian’s Wall.”

“Somewhere, the gatekeepers have changed, because now we’re allowed to have you on Mastermind. But how long did that take?” he concluded. “We still want more representation because we deserve it. We are British citizens, we are colonials.”

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