Singer Jamelia has spoken out against what she views as racist and classist newspaper coverage.
On December 16 Jamelia, whose hits include “Thank You” and “Beware of the Dog”, published a blog on her website rebuking newspaper coverage that had been published over the weekend. The articles linked Jamelia to the arrest of her step brother on drugs charges. She described them as “being flung out by every national newspaper in the country, linking me to a 2015 ‘gangland’ killing”.
My mother had a relationship (never married) with the offender’s father when I was 2 years old - I’ll be 38 in January.
I have never dismissed or denied my connections, but I find the fact that I am always used as the peg or promotional tool for these stories to be both damaging and careless.
I have played no part in [these crimes] whatsoever, other than to have been the “stepdaughter” (and that is in the loosest of terms) of someone for 2 years of my life, almost 35 years ago, and who I have not laid eyes on for decades, gets me on the digital front page, and prominent coverage in national papers. I am not a criminal
Jamelia then went on to describe the impact that this type of press has on her daughters, her mental health, her relationships and her personal finances.
Following the publishing of the blog, Jamelia was interviewed by Cathy Newman for Channel 4 News. In the interview she described that this type of press, which sensationally links her to crime, has been going on for her entire career.
People need to understand that when someone from the inner city makes a success of themselves that is an extraordinary feat.
When we are in the public eye we are a representation of a dream coming true. The constant and never-ending abuse inflicted on us by the media is unfair and disgusting.
We don’t deserve these kind of links being made.
Jamelia then went on to describe that the media’s obsession with linking her to crime means she has to work even harder to undo the “damage” that they do.
I have to come here and state my face and fight for things I shouldn’t have to be fighting for. Particularly when my white counterparts don’t get this kind of abuse. Why are we such easy targets?
Finally, she mentioned the lack of diversity within the journalism industry, which she views as a contributory factor to the coverage of her.
I’m not just talking about race, I’m talking about socio-economic status and religion. If you don’t have that represented in the newsrooms, then we don’t stand a chance.