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Skepta Acknowledges Concerns and Removes Artwork Amid Holocaust Imagery Criticism

U.K. rapper Skepta issues an apology and removes single artwork following criticism for its perceived reference to the Holocaust.

Skepta, responding to concerns about the imagery for his upcoming track “Gas Me Up (Diligent),” acknowledged that the artwork, featuring individuals with shaved heads and the phrase “gas me up,” drew parallels to the Holocaust. The slang expression “gas somebody up” is intended to mean hyping or praising them.

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The grime star, also known as Joseph Adenuga Jr., clarified that the image was inspired by the 1980s when his parents migrated to the U.K., but he had not intended to cause offense. In light of the criticism, Skepta promptly removed the artwork from the X platform and expressed regret, promising to be more mindful in the future. He shared a mood board of images that influenced the artwork to provide context.

Skepta, winner of the 2016 Mercury Prize, explained that the artwork was part of his album rollout, exploring themes of his parents’ migration, skinhead culture, and football in the 1980s. He emphasized that the offensive interpretation was unintended, and he strives to be more considerate in his artistic expressions moving forward.

Despite the controversy, Skepta affirmed that the single “Gas Me Up (Diligent)” is scheduled for release on January 26, as originally planned. The track is the lead single from his first album in five years, titled “Knife And Fork,” announced on New Year’s Day.

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