Rina Sawayama has replied to her exclusion from the BRIT Awards, which barred the British-Japanese artist from submitting for consideration her critically acclaimed album, SAWAYAMA. Fans and critics alike — like Elton John — pointed out the fact that Sawayama was ignored when the BRIT Awards revealed the shortlist for its Hyundai Mercury Prize.
Sawayama has indefinite leave to remain (ILR), a form of visas that provides permanent residence and job rights in the UK. Notwithstanding her contributions to music — and the fact that she has been living in the UK since she was a kid — the ILR status of Sawayama makes her unable to win the Mercury Prize.
“I have just spent my entire life [in the UK]. I went to Japan’s summer school and that’s it, basically, “Rina Sawayama told VICE. “Still feel like I’ve contributed to the UK in a way I consider worth celebrating, or at least deserving to be celebrated,” the artist said, adding that the situation is making her doubt her identity. “[As an immigrant], you ‘re getting to a point where you don’t have to think about your nationality and status and whether you’re fitting in. Stuff like that bring sharp focus, like, whether I’m still British.