Everything Dave said in *that* incredible BRIT Awards performance last night

‘The truth is our Prime Minister’s a real racist’

Last night saw Dave perform one of the most powerful performances ever at the BRITs 2020.

He performed his single “Black” before going into a freestyle verse calling out racism, whilst paying tribute to London Bridge victim Jack Merritt and reminding everyone that Grenfell victims are still to be rehoused.

The performance blew everyone away, with some calling it “the most important performance in the history of the BRITs”. 

Watch the full performance Dave gave at the BRIT Awards 2020 here:

The lyrics to the main song, ‘Black’ are:

“Look, black is beautiful, black is excellent. Black is pain, black is joy, black is evident. It’s workin’ twice as hard as the people you know you’re better than. ‘Cause you need to do double what they do so you can level them. Black is so much deeper than just African-American. Our heritage been severed, you never got to experiment. With family trees, ’cause they teach you ’bout famine and greed. And show you pictures of our fam on their knees. Tell us we used to be barbaric, we had actual queens. Black is watchin’ child soldiers gettin’ killed by other children. Feelin’ sick, like, ‘Oh shit, this could have happened to me’. Your mummy watchin’ tellin’ stories ’bout your dad and your niece. Listen, the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice. A kid dies, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news. And if he’s white you give him a chance, he’s ill and confused. If he’s black he’s probably armed, you see him and shoot.

“Look, black is growin’ up around the barbershop. Mummy sayin’, ‘Stay away from trouble, you’re in yard a lot’. Studying for ages, appreciatin’ the chance you got. ‘Cause black is in your blood, and you ain’t even got the heart to stop. Black is steppin’ in for your brothers because your father’s gone. And standin’ by your children when you haven’t proven karma wrong. Black is doin’ all of the above then goin’ corner shoppin’. Tryna help a lady cross the road to have her walkin’ off. Black is growin’ up around your family and makin’ it. Then being forced to leave the place you love because there’s hate in it. People say you faking it, never stayed to change the shit. But black is bein’ jealous, you’d be dead if you had stayed in it. Black is strugglin’ to find your history or trace the shit. You don’t know the truth about your race ’cause they erasin’ it. Black has got a sour flavour, here’s a taste of it. But black is all I know, there ain’t a thing that I would change in it.

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“Look, black ain’t just a single colour, man there’s shades to it. Her hair’s straight and thick but mine’s got waves in it. Black is not divisive, they been lyin’ and I hate the shit. Black has never been a competition, we don’t make this shit. Black is deadly. Black is when you’re freezin’ in your home and you can’t get sleep but never feelin’ empty. ‘Cause you got 20 cousins in your country living stress-free. Walkin’ for their water, daughter wrapped inside a bed sheet. Black is distant, it’s representin’ countries that never even existed while your grandmother was livin’.

“Black is my Ghanaian brother readin’ into scriptures. Doin’ research on his lineage, findin’ out that he’s Egyptian. Black is people namin’ your countries on what they trade most – Coast of Ivory, Gold Coast, and the Grain Coast. But most importantly to show how deep all this pain goes, West Africa, Benin, they called it slave coast.

“Black is so confusin’, ’cause the culture? They’re in love with it. They take our features when they want and have their fun with it. Never seem to help with all the things we know would come with it. Loud in our laughter, silent in our sufferin’. Black is bein’ strong inside and facing defeat. Poverty made me a beast, I battled the law in the streets. We all struggled, but your struggle ain’t a struggle like me. Well how could it be when your people gave us the odds that we beat?. I mean, bloody hell, what about our brothers that are stuck in jail? That couldn’t bust a bell, they held a bird and gotta live with it. Black is bein’ guilty until proven that you’re innocent. Black is sayin’, ‘Free my people stuck inside in prison cells’. They think it’s funny, we ain’t got nothin’ to say to them. Unconditional love is strange to them; it’s amazin’ ’em. Black is like the sweetest fuckin’ flavour, here’s a taste of it.
But black is all I know, there ain’t a thing that I would change in it.”

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And here’s *that* incredible extra verse:

After the performance of the song, he went on to perform a powerful freestyle verse where he said: “It is racist whether or not it feels racist. The truth is our Prime Minister’s a real racist. They say, ‘you should be grateful we’re the least racist’, I say the least racist is still racist. And if somebody hasn’t said it, equality’s a right, it doesn’t deserve credit. Now if you don’t wanna care then you’re never gonna care. How the news treats Kate versus how they treat Meghan.

“Rest in peace Jack Merritt you’re my brother in arms there’s tears in our eyes and love in our hearts – we never had the same background, culture, colour or past but you devoted your life to giving others a chance. And for that, I’m so taken aback. Because he gave us all a voice, I have to say it for Jack as a young black man to see in paper and crack. Real sentences it’s just paper and cracks. All he would want is unity, funding for communities, equal opportunities, people under scrutiny, no more immunity, way less scrutiny, more conservation, less deforestation, we want rehabilitation. Now that would be amazing. But Grenfell victims still need accommodation and we still need support for the Windrush generation, reparations for the time our people spent on plantations. I’m done.”

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Jack was killed in the London Bridge terror attack

Everyone in the room and watching at home was left completely speechless. Dave had just completely stolen the night.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘He believed in redemption, not revenge’: Tributes to London Bridge victims

Jack Merritt’s dad calls out Boris Johnson for using his son’s death for political gain

‘You’re fit for a black girl’: What we learned being black at Cambridge