Topic: NZ Music

Māori artists support Aaradhna and call for separate R&B category at VNZMAs

By Semi Holland
  • Auckland

Māori singers Ria Hall and Rob Ruha have come out in support of Aaradhna who refused to accept her Tui award at the Vodafone Music Awards, after being placed in what she called a category for 'brown' artists.

Hall says “I think that Aaradhna’s made a really valid point. Just because we’re brown you don’t lump us in the one category.”

“I thought it was a very powerful gesture with powerful intent. What I hope it does is encourage artists to be themselves.” Rob Ruha said.

Aaradhna Jayan Patel won Best Urban/Hip Hop album for “Brown Girl” at the Vodafone Music Awards in Auckland last night.

During her acceptance speech, she said she felt she couldn’t be compared to the other finalists, Onehunga rap crew SWIDT and veteran PNC, because she was a singer.

“So this song is Brown Girl and it speaks on many things, it speaks on racism and being placed in a box and for me, I feel like if I was to accept this, I would feel like I’m not being truthful in my song.”

Ria Hall agrees and says “you can’t judge a singer against a rapper, it’s immeasurable, it’s actually a bit ridiculous.”

“VNZMA people do an awesome job but there’s room for improvement. She highlighted a place that needs improving.  I think it’s awesome for someone like her to stand up and say you can be you be the artist you want to be and that’s ok,” Ruha adds. 

Te Kaea contacted the VNZMAs owners Recorded Music NZ Limited for comment. They are yet to respond.