Singer Kelis has launched a Twitter rant against the “disgusting” racial issues in the UK after she was called a “slave” and a “disgusting Nigerian” at a London airport.

As Kelis and her two year-old son were waiting in the passport control queue at Heathrow airport a fellow passenger who thought she cut the line apparently started calling her a “slave” and told her to refer to him as sir and that the singer, who is of African-American, Puerto Rican and Chinese ethnic origin, was probably a “disgusting Nigerian”.

In her tweet she said, “He called me Kunta Kinte, and ranted and raved some more. The man behind the passport desk laughed, shook his head in agreement I guess, and said Kunta Kinte.”


Kelis at the Jeans for Genes launch party last week

She also added that the other 50 passengers said nothing about the incident.

Kelis who spends a lot of her time in the UK kept her peace during the England riots but used the “fat, sweaty, red-faced” man’s insults to declare that “racial issue in the UK are disgusting”.

‘It’s racially decades behind progression because everything is swept under the rug. People don’t talk about it. People don’t fight about it. Not mentioning a problem doesn’t make it go away,” she tweeted.

But she was quick to acknowledge that her own country had racial problems too, she added, “I bring it up now because as an American it is abundantly clear that my country has a Smorgasbord of disgusting racial problems. We are the poster child for racial inequality even still with a black president. But its NO SECRET! And that I can fight against. I can try to prepare and teach my son. Because its out there. But you can’t fight for or against something no one is willing to talk about or even admit exist.”

Kelis performing at Bestival at the Isle of Wight last weekend


The UK’s leading independent race equality group disagreed with Kelis and said that the UK does not have much to learn from the US as people in the UK are struggling “with the same racism as the US”.

They told the news website Where the News gets the News (W.E.N.N) that although the UK is not a racial paradise it still fights back against racism citing  ventures like the UpRise music festival.

I don’t think the UK is “decades behind” the US but I do think that the UK still has a lot to learn. I’m not sure if there’ll ever be  day where you see a black prime minister not because the UK is more racist but just because people in the UK are less likely to fight against it than in the States. I do agree with Kelis in that for the most part racial issues are swept under the rug and people just tend to accept it as their fate. Look at the fact not one of the 50 passengers said anything and maybe some of them were black. The man behind the passport desk didn’t even react to the fact that a customer was being abused this is a just a clear illustration of how people in the UK just choose to keep their head down. But sadly, in doing that it just allows room for more of these incidents to happen.


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2 Responses

  1. Nicola

    wow how shocking.. its disgusting that the man behind the passport desk fount it amusing..
    alot people do accept racial remarks made to them here.. ive done it.. but why?.. it is seemed the ‘norm’ here?.. we live in a multicultural society and things do need to change!


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