The Imperial War Museum has apologised for a ‘woke’ Remembrance Sunday rap performance that allegedly insulted Winston Churchill.
The Borough museum holds an annual programme called Breaking the Silence, which is aimed at “exploring the relevance of Remembrance” today. Breaking the Silence gives 11-18 year-olds a chance to “share their perspectives on war and conflict.”
This year the performance was run by a Deptford organisation called the Midi Music Group. The group said on their website that their young people were to “premiere brand-new performances exploring what contemporary Remembrance means to them” at the end of a two-minute silence.
But not everyone appreciated the new perspective on what is usually a solemn and formal occasion to remember and celebrate people who made sacrifices in war, no matter their background.
One commenter on the museum’s TripAdvisor account said they would not be coming back after the performance. They said: “Sad event at the war museum. Was supposed to be remembering the fallen yet the museum made it woke, disgraceful disrespect to who was once a great leader, Churchill.”
Another added: “The entire event became horrendous with the inclusion of a Rap which was nothing more than a vile attack on (among others) Churchill and a rant about race. Both are legitimate subjects for debate, but NOT on Remembrance Sunday. My wife who served in the RAF was deeply upset by such a disrespectful charade.”
A spokesperson for the museum said: “Presenting the cause, course and consequence of war from the First World War to the present day, IWM’s challenging remit attracts multiple view points and opinions. We do, however, recognise that Remembrance Sunday at IWM London, with the meaning it holds for different people, was not the moment to share this particular iteration of Breaking the Silence. We apologise to anyone who attended who was offended or upset by the performance in any way.
“As an organisation founded during the First World War, IWM has always dealt with difficult subjects relating to war and conflict, and we continue to do so to this day. By working with young people on performances like Breaking the Silence, we ensure that different perspectives on Remembrance are shared, helping both participants and visitors to explore their own attitudes towards Remembrance today. By offering this prominent platform to young people we hope to remove and reduce barriers to make the museum, and the important stories it holds, open to everyone.
“We will continue to ensure that IWM remains a space where important debates and discussions can take place, and we continue to be committed to sharing perspectives, as well as hearing different viewpoints from multiple voices.”
Midi Music Group has been approached for comment.