Skepta apologises after Holocaust backlash over new single artwork but won't let art be 'policed'

Skepta won't let his art be "policed" after he apologised following backlash over the 'Gas Me Up (Diligent)' artwork.


Skepta won't let his art be "policed" after backlash over the 'Gas Me Up (Diligent)' artwork.

The 41-year-old rapper has apologised and promised to be "more mindful" after the cover art for the song featured a group of men with shaved heads, with one having a tattoo with the words "Gas Me Up" on his head.

The image prompted fierce backlash as people saw parallels between the photograph and the Holocaust, which saw the deaths of Jewish people in gas chambers at the hands of the Nazis during World War Two.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Skepta said: "I’ve been waiting to drop 'Gas Me Up (Diligent)' since teasing it April last year, worked hard getting the artwork right for my album rollout which is about my parents coming to the UK in the 80’s, Skinhead, Football culture and it has been taken offensively by many and I can promise you that was definitely not our plan so I have removed it and I vow to be more mindful going forward."

He later confirmed the release will go ahead "as planned", as he shared images of 1990s Skinhead culture and explained while he can appreciate why it could be "deemed offensive", it wasn't his goal.

He wrote: "I can honestly see how my single artwork without context can be deemed offensive, especially in a time like this but again that was not my intention.

"But after some thought I don’t feel like I could continue being the artist you all know and love if my art is policed, I have to quit if I can’t express my art as I see it.

"So to help with context here are some pictures from our mood board for the 1980’s UK story for my album ‘Knife Fork’.

"'Gas Me Up (DILIGENT)' will be out January 26th as planned."

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