- 02 Dec 21
Read R&B artist Alicia Raye's thoughts and experiences on racism in Ireland below.
I feel like since I relocated to Belfast, I’ve woken up again to racism. I moved there in December, to an area I didn’t know was predominantly Protestant. The racial abuse got so bad that the PSNI were in my house at least twice a month. On one occasion, they came to my door and asked, “Is there any entertainment going on in the house?”
And I went, “No, I make music, but what do you mean?” He replied, “Well, the locals have reported, saying that there’s a lot of black men coming in and out of your house at ungodly hours.” They were insinuating that I was a prostitute because my housemate and boyfriend were around. And it all started with, “Go back to fucking Dublin, you’ll be put out, you’re Irish.
”I just thought it was because I was black, but it was more than me being black. It was the fact that I was from Dublin. It was just horrible that I came to Belfast for work. I got relocated to work as a sales consultant, so I was excited thinking, “Yay, go me, this is great.”
In the music industry in Ireland, there is covert racism. I went from not getting any gigs or shows to being paid, and I thought “They must really love my talent,” until I took a step back and I looked at the bigger picture. I realised they just wanted to tick the box and say that they’ve got a Black female artist, performing on their show to make them look great.
Every single Black artist or multicultural artist, deep down, we see it. It makes artists want to leave Ireland, go to the UK, put on a UK accent, because they feel like they’ll be more accepted elsewhere, regardless of the fact they’ve been here their whole life.
Even radio stations, it’s like: why are you playing Cardi B and Doja Cat and you can’t play my music? It’s the same stuff. I’m not going to make urban pop music to suit the Irish audience who don’t even want to support my music. You almost feel like you’re chasing your tail, but you can never see the tail.
This contribution featured in Part 2 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism. Read the current issue of Hot Press below:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.