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‘Woke’ rap ‘broke’ two-minute Remembrance Day silence – visitors walked out of museum

Strictly dancers mark Remembrance Sunday with performance

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Horrified members of the public walked out of Imperial War Museum during a performance described as “a vile attack on Winston Churchill and a rant about race” on November 14. The artists in charge belong to a youth music group funded by the Arts Council.

The taxpayer-supported museum, in Southwark, south London, was heavily criticised for the incident on Remembrance Sunday, when the nation honoured those who lost their lives to the war.

Taking to Twitter to complain about the event, Mark Whitford wrote: “The ⁦
Imperial War Museum⁩ should be thoroughly ashamed by allowing The Midi Music Company⁩ to show their total disrespect to our greatest Briton of the 20th century & to all our glorious dead from the UK & the Commonwealth in two World Wars.”

A user under the name @PJDarran200 said: “Your job is to preserve, not destroy & shame our historical past.”

Viney Wade added: “I used to visit Imperial War Museum a couple of times a year but I’d rather support an institution that respects and upholds British values instead of shitting all over them.”

And Greer Grant asked: “What the hell is wrong with you?

“Did nobody see a rehearsal and realise the breathtaking inappropriateness?”

On Tripadvisor, a review from user The Savill family read: “The entire event became horrendous with the inclusion of a rap which was nothing more than a vile attack on (among others) Churchill and a rant about race.”

They continued: “Both are legitimate subjects for debate, but NOT on Remembrance Sunday.

“My wife, who served in the RAF, was deeply upset by such a disrespectful charade.

“We spoke to a member of the staff who was clearly as shocked as we were and said they would pass on our reactions.

“We left without viewing the exhibition.

“The whole episode making us question the wisdom of the organisers.”

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The rap, named Breaking the Silence, was labelled by the museum as a “spoken word piece with musical accompaniment from young music lovers” in collaboration with The Midi Music Company.

The museum intended to “share different perspectives, helping both participants and visitors to explore their own views on Remembrance”.

The event’s agenda read: “With creative support from MC Angel and producer Ahmad Dayes, the group will premiere their newly created piece of music exploring what remembrance means to them today.”

MC Angel is described on the IWM’s website as “a talented wordsmith, performing as a spoken word artist and hip-hop emcee as well as writing page poetry”. Ahmad Dayes has been working as “an engineer, producer and musician for twenty years”.

The museum said in a statement: “For four years, we have offered a platform for the voices of 11–18-year-olds to engage with our collections and share their perspectives on war and conflict.

“Presenting the cause, course and consequence of war from the First World War to the present day, IWM’s challenging remit attracts multiple viewpoints and opinions.

“We do, however, recognise that Remembrance Sunday at IWM London, with the meaning it holds for different people, was not the moment to share this particular iteration of Breaking the Silence.

“We apologise to anyone who attended who was offended or upset by the performance in any way.”

The Midi Music Company has been contacted for comment.

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