British rapper Plan B has issued a statement following outrage this weekend at the musician being photographed in a t-shirt seemingly promoting neo-Nazi outfit Skrewdriver.
The image, which features in the latest issue of Shortlist magazine, was pointed out by The Quietus, who asked questions on how this came to be.
But now Ben Drew has released an extended statement apologising for any offence caused and revealing that he wasn’t previously aware of the punk group’s existence.
The statement reads in full:
“I was ignorant to the existence of the band Skrewdriver. I don’t listen to music like that so I wouldn’t know the names of bands that make that music. I was wearing a t-shirt I created using a photograph from the photographer Gavin Watson’s book Skins. I asked him if I could print shots from his book on to t-shirts. I made a number of these t-shirts. Gavin’s photos are relevant to me because they represent the demonised youth of the past. Just like my generation of young people are demonised in the media to all be hoodie wearing thugs and chavs so were the skinheads in the 80′s.
Not all of them were racist but because some of them were, the rest were all tarred with the same brush. That is why I feel the images of the skinheads represented in Gavin’s work are relevant to me and this generation. Gavin is a friend and the people he took photos of were his friends who listened to reggae and ska music. He documented life in those times, some of the people he shot may have been racists but his family and close friends weren’t.
Most of the t-shirts I had made were of his brother. The boy on the image is Neville Watson. Neville is Gavin Watson’s brother. The graffiti behind him is graffiti. Neither Gavin or Neville put it there, it was already there when Gavin took the photo. Gavin did not know I had printed that image on a t-shirt and I was not aware of the significance of it. The minute I found out what the words on the t-shirt meant I was angry with myself for not questioning them. The t-shirt is not official nor is it on sale anywhere. It was of my own doing and therefore it is my mistake, but that is all it is.”
The Quietus have also apologised for suggesting the T shirt contained an image of Nicky Crane, a well-known violent neo-Nazi and friend of the band.