Just in: Daniel Barenboim joins ECHO anger

The Berlin Staatsoper chief is now the fourth conductor – after Luisi, Jansons and Thielemann – to return his ECHO award in protest at this year’s choice of an Auschwitz-joke rapper duo.

Barenboim said:

Als Jude, der seit vielen Jahren gerne in Deutschland lebt und Freiheit in der Kunst als ein hohes Gut ansieht, hat mich die Debatte besonders beschäftigt und ich habe auch abgewartet, ob seitens der Verantwortlichen eine adäquate Reaktion hierauf erfolgen wird. Meinungsfreiheit und Freiheit in der Kunst gehörten zu den wichtigsten Errungenschaften und Werten einer demokratischen Gesellschaft. Mit jeder Freiheit kommt aber auch eine Verantwortung: unsere Verantwortung, die errungenen Freiheiten so zu nutzen, dass auch die Freiheit eines jeden anderen Menschen und Andersdenkenden bestehen kann – ebenso wie die Verantwortung, andere Menschen in ihrer Würde zu achten und zu respektieren. Diese Überzeugung ist seit vielen Jahren Kern meines Denkens als Mensch und meiner Arbeit als Künstler. Antisemitismus, Frauenfeindlichkeit, Homophobie und die offene Verachtung von vermeintlich Schwächeren und Minderheiten sind ein Missbrauch von Freiheit, den wir als Gesellschaft niemals tolerieren dürfen. Wir müssen uns geschlossen gegen solche Stimmen erheben und dürfen sie nicht auch noch dadurch bestärken, dass wir sie mit Preisen auszeichnen und dadurch legitimieren.

‘As a Jew who has enjoyed living in Germany for many years and values freedom of the arts, the debate has particularly occupied my mind and I waited to see whether responsible persons would react adequately. Freedom of expression and art are among the most important achievements and values ​​of a democratic society, but with each freedom comes a responsibility: our responsibility to use the freedoms that have been gained so that the freedom of every other human being is respected. This conviction has long been at the heart of my thinking as a human being and of my work as an artist: anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, and the open contempt of allegedly weaker and more discriminating minorities are an abuse of freedom that we as a society can never tolerate, and we must stand united against such voices and not encourage them by giving them prizes and legitimising them.’

 

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  • John Borstlap says:

    Excellent formulation by Barenboim. That is how it is.

  • lavy hollender says:

    bravo mr. barenboim, congratulation

  • Anon says:

    It is so strange, that by now there is apparently no statement by the ECHO administration. Or have we missed it? Are they not interested in damage control? Is ECHO already dead? No more ECHO galas?

    • Max Grimm says:

      There are statements but I don’t know what the extent of English-language media reporting on the matter is and if any of the statements have been translated into English by any other outlets so far.
      Here are two statements by the BVMI (the Federal Music Industry Association, on of the organizations that awards the ECHO) and of Florian Drücke, the chairman of the board of the BVMI.
      (Google Translate will have to do for the non-German-speakers/readers here, as I presently don’t have the time to translate the statements into English)

      STATEMENT
      STATEMENT DES BUNDESVERBANDES MUSIKINDUSTRIE ZUM ECHO
      16.04.2018
      „Wenn im Zuge der aktuellen Diskussion Künstler entscheiden, ihren ECHO zurückzugeben, bedauern wir das zutiefst, müssen diese Entscheidung aber natürlich respektieren. Wir hoffen, dass die Künstler trotzdem die Debatte mit uns weiter führen, in der es um mehr als um diesen Musikpreis geht.

      Der Bundesverband Musikindustrie lehnt als Verband und als Veranstalter des ECHO jede Art von Antisemitismus, Fremdenfeindlichkeit, Frauenfeindlichkeit, Homophobie und Gewaltverherrlichung ab. Die Art und Weise der öffentlichen Befassung mit der Auszeichnung des Albums JBG3 von Kollegah & Farid Bang führte zu einer Welle der Betroffenheit, die uns sehr bestürzt und die den Preis überhöht und zugleich überfordert (Link zum Statement vom 15. April 2018).

      Der ECHO war seit seiner Entstehung ein Publikumspreis, das war stets die DNA des ECHO. Er unterschied sich insofern deutlich vom ECHO JAZZ und ECHO KLASSIK, die im Gegensatz zum ECHO nicht auf Verkaufszahlen basieren sondern bei denen jeweils eine 11- bzw. 12-köpfige Jury aus den beim Bundesverband Musikindustrie eingegangenen Bewerbungen die Nominierten bzw. Preisträger ermittelt. Beim ECHO kamen bisher die in den Charts erfolgreichsten Produktionen automatisch auf die Shortlist und wurden dadurch in der jeweiligen Kategorie nominiert. Im nächsten Schritt konnten die Fachjury-Mitglieder aus den Nominierten ihren Favoriten wählen. Chartspositionen und Fachjurystimmen wurden gleichberechtigt addiert und so der Gewinner ermittelt. In Zweifelsfällen konnte der Vorstand des BVMI den unabhängigen ECHO-Beirat einschalten. Das bisherige Prozedere wurde für den ECHO 2018 unter dem Link echocalling-facts.echopop.de ausführlich erläutert.

      Dieses Grundprinzip des ECHO sowie alle mit der Nominierung und Preisvergabe zusammenhängenden Mechanismen werden wir nach den Erfahrungen aus diesem Jahr, die uns getroffen und erschüttert haben, in allen Details umfassend analysieren, entsprechende Konsequenzen daraus ziehen und ein neues, solides Fundament schaffen.

      Der Bundesverband Musikindustrie wird neben der grundsätzlichen Überarbeitung des ECHO die vom ECHO-Beirat angeregte Diskussion um die Kunstfreiheit und ihre Grenzen mit den verschiedenen Beteiligten innerhalb und außerhalb der Branche weiterführen. Gefragt sind Künstler, Labels, Handelspartner, Journalisten, Politiker, Eltern, Lehrer, Fans und jeder einzelne Bürger. Die mediale Befassung und die Vielfalt der Betroffenheit hat auf besondere Weise verdeutlicht, wie tief das Thema gesellschaftlich sitzt und wie wichtig die ehrliche Auseinandersetzung damit ist, die über Schlagzeilen hinausgeht.”

      STATEMENT
      DR. FLORIAN DRÜCKE, VORSTANDSVORSITZENDER DES DES BUNDESVERBANDES MUSIKINDUSTRIE (BVMI)
      15.04.2018
      „Der Publikumspreis ECHO ist – bis auf ausgewählte Kategorien, wie beispielsweise das Lebenswerk und der Preis für soziales Engagement – das Ergebnis von Verkäufen und einer darauf folgenden Juryabstimmung. In strittigen Themen rufen wir den unabhängigen ECHO-Beirat an, der sich im aktuellen Fall mehrheitlich gegen einen Ausschluss entschieden hat.

      Im Zuge der aktuellen Debatte mussten wir erkennen, dass wir uns in einem Umfeld wiederfinden, das den Preis in ein falsches Licht rückt. Das darf nicht ohne Konsequenzen bleiben. Wir möchten an dieser Stelle in aller Deutlichkeit sagen, dass auch wir als Verband und Veranstalter des ECHO jede Art von Antisemitismus, Fremdenfeindlichkeit, Frauenfeindlichkeit, Homophobie und Gewaltverherrlichung ablehnen. Die Art und Weise der öffentlichen Befassung mit der Auszeichnung des Albums führte zu einer Welle der Betroffenheit, die uns sehr bestürzt und die den Preis überhöht und zugleich überfordert.

      Als Konsequenz daraus wird der Preis auf Entscheidung des Vorstandes vom heutigen Tag nun überarbeitet werden, was die umfassende Analyse und die Erneuerung der mit der Nominierung und Preisvergabe zusammenhängenden Mechanismen einschließt.

      Davon ungeachtet wird der Verband die vom ECHO-Beirat angeregte Diskussion um die Kunstfreiheit und ihre Grenzen mit den verschiedenen Beteiligten innerhalb und außerhalb der Branche, ganz gleich ob Künstler, Label, Handelspartner, Journalisten, Politiker, Eltern, Lehrer, Fans oder aber Ausrichter eines Preises, wie angekündigt weiterführen. Dies in der Überzeugung, dass die mediale Befassung und die Vielfalt der Betroffenheit auf besondere Weise verdeutlicht hat, wie tief das Thema gesellschaftlich sitzt.”

      • Max Grimm says:

        Small correction to the second paragraph of my initial post…
        “Here are two statements by the BVMI (the Federal Music Industry Association, **one** of the organizations that awards the ECHO) and of Florian Drücke, the chairman of the board of the BVMI.”

    • Patrick Gillot says:

      yes clearly ECHO KLASSIK at least is dead

  • william osborne says:

    And meanwhile in the USA, talk of ho-assed bitches wins a Pulitzer: “…If I gotta slap a pussy ass nigga, I’ma make it look sexy/ If I gotta go hard on a bitch, I’ma make it look sexy…” Nevermind, degrading women is just “vernacular language” as the committee put it. So that’s where we’re at in Trumpland. “Grab’em by the pussy…”

    • Jeff Hollander says:

      I do not see the connection with Trump. We were at it already in Obama-land in which the BLM community has been proud of their pussy grabbing rappers. These German rappers should go live in Sweden where they belong.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        I agree. The Trump presidency is a tragedy at many levels, but I can’t see any connection with Pullitzer Prizes. Maybe Reuductio ad Trumpum is the new Reductio ad Hitlerum.

        • Sue says:

          These execrable rappers were invited into the White House to shoot the breeze with the Obamas. One of the terrible consequences of identity politics. But watch the Clinton supporters try to shove all this over to the opposing team. LOL. A classic case of “Ooooh; look over there”!!

          • jim says:

            Wow, what an amazingly ignorant statement. Can you please tell me what your specific problem with any of the rappers that have performed at the White House is, or are you just prejudiced against all hip hop artists, or black people more generally?

          • Petros Linardos says:

            When?

    • Jim says:

      Did you actually listen to that whole song? If so, perhaps you need to listen again as you are clearly not understanding the meaning (hint: nothing to do with your Trump quote). Or are you just copying a snippet of lyrics that you saw online without actually looking at the context?

    • Dave I. says:

      ^^for someone so critical of today’s America, this is quite an ignorant comment^^

      Your failure to understand one’s manner of speaking does not make them any less deserving of merit. Point out where Kendrick degraded women, because your example shows none of this.
      Bravo Barenboim, but double bravo to Kendrick—he’s doing much more significant work than you apparently grasp at this point, and has done far more to combat Trump-esque mentalities than you ever will.

    • Richard says:

      It does not seem to me these are analogous situations. I don’t think the sentiments of Kollegah and Farid Bang are along the lines of those being expressed by Kendrick Lamar. The latter is not approving of the sentiments he is voicing; rather, he is noting their origins. But it is certainly possible many of his fans do not “get” this. Also, the Echo award is partly a sales-based thing. I do not think the Pulitzers are meant to be, and it is disappointing to see them go to commercially successful work that has already gotten a lot of attention.

    • Patrick Gillot says:

      Nothing to do with Trump. A lot to do with the “cool” antisemites who voted Clinton.

    • william osborne says:

      In response to various comments here, my point is exactly that Trump is a manifestation of long-term cultural trends dating back decades. Trump did not come from nowhere. The appearance of such a Presidency was in many respects a cultural and political inevitability. And more specifically, language about hos-assed bitches, going hard on bitches, grabbing pussies, and on and on endlessly, is part of the larger fabric of American society and an increasingly acceptable backlash misogyny whose existence many are reluctant to acknowledge. No amount of irony justifies the frequency of this language about women. But this is not a forum in which I’m interested in discussing this.

      • Dave says:

        So profanity in art should be considered in the same breath as an adminission of sexual misconduct by a politician?!?!?

        To lump these things in together is wayyyyy offbase, and still not understanding of Kendrick’s lyrics at all here.

        ‘Hoe-ass’ refers to a person’s behavior. There are tons of hoe-ass people and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying that in a song. It should only offend people who embody that description. Same with ‘bitch’. If you’re a bitch, you’re a bitch. This is not gender-specific, and again, is nowhere near the arena of what trump has engaged in.
        Profanity belongs in art. Kendrick has been deservedly rewarded for far more than this, and it’s shameful that it even needs to be pointed out.

        Say what you want about the state of America and the reinforcement of racism and wreckless behavior from celebrities, but leave Kendrick out of this.

        Including him in your argument makes you look foolish and uninformed.

        • william osborne says:

          We’re to believe that it’s just a coincidence that hoe and bitches are gendered words.

          • Dave says:

            Gendered by whom? And the origin of the word hoe is not merely gendered, but also racist. So are you saying now that Kendrick is racist against his own people, because he has chosen to reclaim and revise the meaning of a racist AND misogynist term? Or perhaps, like countless artists before him, and in the minority communities as a whole, these words have taken on different meanings—meanings that have existed now for decades. None of this is new.

            It’s sad that on a page where we applaud one artist’s stand for his community, we’re so quick to jump on another’s.

            These closed-minded, anti-rapper sentiments in the comments on this page show just how far we as a society still have to go.

          • jim says:

            The anti-rapper sentiments are especially unfortunate in the comments section of a blog devoted to a type of music inextricably linked to white male supremacy. The anti-rappers should look in their own back yard before criticizing works of art that they apparently haven’t made the slightest effort to get to know or understand.

          • william osborne says:

            Rap has long been known for its misogyny. There are a number of articles on the web that discussion the issue. And several like the one below that lists some lines that are notable examples:

            https://www.elitedaily.com/music/music-news/the-20-most-misogynist-lines-in-rap-history

            Little point in discussing the issue though. Americans have become so adept at denying what is staring them in the face. And the power of the pop-music-industrial-complex too great.

          • william osborne says:

            For those interested, the Wiki article about misogyny in rap music provides a good overview of some of the major trends and issues. Its 88 footnotes provide a lot of additional reading ranging from the journalistic to the academic.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny_in_rap_music

            No amount of evidence or reason will change some of the views in this forum, so forgive me if I simply ignore superficial responses.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        OK, you have a point. I would also add that Trump had an edge over his Republican opponents by sounding authentically racist and bigoted.

  • Nik says:

    Meanwhile, in Britain a woman has been found guilty of a “hate crime” for quoting rap lyrics on social media.
    https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/woman-who-posted-rap-lyrics-14543694

  • Don Hohoho says:

    It’s ironic, given his moronic support for “Palestinians.”

    • V.Lind says:

      Your comment is the moronic one, starting with your offensive use of the quotation marks around the word Palestinians. Get over it, you ignorant clown: Palestinians DO exist. And did so for a long time in a place historically known as Palestine.

      And to have contempt for someone who is trying, in his own niche way, to add a little humanity to the ongoing struggle to bring the Palestinians and Israelis to peaceful coexistence is the mark of a very low life form. You can think what you may of Daniel Barenboim as a musician and of his efforts to bring a little light to a troubled situation, but whatever else he may be he is not and never has been “moronic.”

      You, on the other hand…

    • Anon says:

      Most anti-semitic comment ever.

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        Not an anti-semitic comment, but an astute one. Barenboim is trying to do something positive in one of the many troubled areas of our planet, is he not? Isn’t bringing Palestinian and Jewish kids together to play music, a far more positive activity than to simply marginalize Palestinians more and more?

        What would be next, put “Palestianians” into concentration camps? Move on top of them to the point where they simply don’t exist any longer? Cut them off from any of their own religious activities within Jerusalem? . . . I ask you. What’s your final solution?

        Get a clue.

  • Dave says:

    So.Much.Ignorance.Here!

    Keep bashing an entire culture because you can find some negative examples that came from it (many of which are actually misinterpreted by the article linked above, but that’s beside the point). That stance makes you no better than what you’re so quick to speak out against.

    Do you really want to do that? In a classical music forum, no less??? Perhaps we should trash all of it because plenty of composers were into some astoundingly vile behavior.

    Matter of fact, let’s burn all the classic paintings and texts that depict any people in a demeaning manner—clearly they are what’s ruining this planet, right?

    Kendrick cursing on a track to make a point is in no way reflective of a politician being an actual horrible person, nor is it even similar to the misogyny or prejudice found in other works of art.

    The eagerness here to generalize is unevolved, and leads to people getting hurt. It’s the same exact mentality that Barenboim is against!

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