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Stormzy: Skunk Anansie don't want to 'throw shade'

Skin headlining Glastonbury Festival with Skunk Anansie in 1999 Image copyright Getty Images

Skin, from the band Skunk Anansie, says she doesn't want to "throw shade" on Stormzy - despite pointing out he's not actually the first black British artist to headline Glastonbury.

The rapper made the claim in the build up to his Pyramid Stage slot last week - though he swiftly corrected it.

Skin had, in fact, topped the bill 20 years earlier.

But she's told Radio 1 Newsbeat that Stormzy's set was still a "wonderful moment for black culture".

Image copyright Getty Images

Stormzy's original tweet went out on the day of his performance.

Afterwards, though, he was quick to correct himself.

And Skin says it's not the first time she's been overlooked.

"It's one of those things - Beyonce said she was the first black female and I didn't really say anything then.

"I love Stormzy, it's all come from a place of love, but I did feel like I had to point out that we did it."

Image caption Skunk Anansie in 1995

"At the end of the day - and I don't want to offend any Keith Flint fans out there - but you could argue Maxim was a frontman of the Prodigy.

"And they beat us to it in 1997!"

Going back even further, there are bands like UB40 who had several black members and headlined in 1983.

Their lead singer was white, though - so it really comes down to how you define a "black headliner".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maxim from the Prodigy could also claim to be the first black British artist to headline Glastonbury

Skunk Anansie formed in 1994, headlined Glastonbury in 1999, split up in 2001 and reformed in 2008.

They're still touring today.

But Skin says when they played Worthy Farm her race was never explicitly mentioned.

"It wasn't a conversation that was being had whether we were the first or I was the first black woman or anything like that."

Image copyright Getty Images

But she thinks, under the surface, it was on people's minds.

"Glastonbury had a certain face at that time and it was white rock artists and not many women either.

"So there were a lot of articles and newspapers that were asking 'Why Skunk Anansie?', in the same way that, when he did it, people were asking 'Why Jay-Z?'

"Because there's a black face at the front of the band maybe people thought it wasn't rock enough - that it wasn't the right face for Glastonbury festival."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stormzy used his set to talk about everything from politics to knife crime

But she thinks attitudes have now changed.

"Twenty years later Stormzy is there and it's just amazing to see," she says.

"To be honest I think 20 years is a bit too long. There could have been many black artists in that 20 years that could have had that slot and absolutely nailed it, from Dizzee Rascal to Goldie.

"But me and Maxim from the Prodigy are good friends and we're just really proud for this next generation and bigging up Stormzy.

"None of us want to put even a hint of shade on his amazing success. We're really delighted for him."

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