BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo breaks down in powerful speech about death of George Floyd

"We – black people – get the feeling that people want our culture but do not want us. In other words, you want my talent but you don't want me."

Clara Amfo

BBC Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo has been praised on social media after emotionally discussing the impact of George Floyd’s death on her mental health.

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Speaking during her mid-morning show on Radio 1 today, Clara said that she’d been struggling mentally since hearing about the death of George Floyd in the US, who was died whilst being arrested by a white police officer on 25th May.

“As you know at Radio 1, we talk a lot about mental health and mine was in a really, really bad way yesterday, in fact it has been, for the past few days in particular in relation to the death of George Floyd – an unarmed black man who died whilst being held under arrest,” she said.

“Now I didn’t have the mental strength to face you guys yesterday, to ask ‘Hi how’s your weekend’ like I usually do with my happy intention because I know that my weekend was terrible,” she continued.

“I was sat on my sofa, crying, angry, confused and also knowing stuck at the news of yet another brutalised black body,” she said, audibly upset.

“Knowing how the world enjoys blackness and seeing what happened to George, we – black people – get the feeling that people want our culture but do not want us. In other words, you want my talent but you don’t want me.”

“There is a false idea that racism and, in this case, anti-blackness is just name calling and physical violence when it is so much more insidious than that,” she said.

Clara, who has presented on Radio 1 since 2015, added that one of her favourite thinkers is actress Amanda Seales. “I feel it deeply when she says, ‘You cannot enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues.’ And I say that with my chest.”

Clara finished the speech by asking listeners to tune into Annie Mac’s show this evening, which is dedicated to black artists, and Seani B and Ace on BBC Radio 1Xtra who are speaking about “their experiences as black me in this country”.

“I want to say to our black listeners, I hope you feel seen and heard today,” she added.

Many listeners took to Twitter to praise Clara’s speech, with one user writing, “Very brave for discussing racism in such a raw and heartbreaking way.”

Clara’s fellow BBC DJs also praised her speech, with Radio 1 presenter Chris Stark calling it “one of the most incredible, powerful, moving bits of radio ever”.

The death of George Floyd and the delayed arrest of the police officer responsible has led to five-day protests across America and the rest of the world.

The BBC radio stations, predominantly BBC Radio 1Xtra, have scheduled a whole day of programming dedicated to discussion of racism, Floyd and the celebration of the black community.

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Clara Amfo’s BBC Radio 1 show is available to listen to on BBC Sounds.