British rapper Slowthai held up the severed head of a mannequin resembling UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson whilst shouting "F-- Boris" in the opening scenes of a performance at the prestigious Mercury Music Awards in London Thursday.
One of 12 nominees for the annual award, the 24-year-old from Northampton was one of the last few acts to perform on stage at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, west London, before the victor was announced.
The rapper's Instagram account later posted a photo of him posing with the faux effigy in a "F*** Boris" T-shirt, which he is now selling via his online store. "F*** everything! And there ain't nothing Great about Britain", in reference to his award-nominated album "Nothing Great about Britain".
Performing his song "Doorman" at the 2019 Mercury Prize, Slowthai walked onto the stage holding the fake head and shouted "F-- Boris!"
There were huge cheers as he left the stage, and awards host Lauren Laverne addressed the incident, saying: Slowthai, with his own views there. "This "act" was a metaphor for what this government is doing to our country, except what I did was present it in plain sight".
Slowthai's album "Nothing Great about Britain" was nominated for the award but lost to the 21-year-old rapper Dave's album "Psychodrama".
"No Boris Johnson's were hurt in the making of this performance. I don't condone violence in any form".
Early on Friday, following a wave of negative reaction from MPs and Britain's tabloid press, slowthai issued a statement in which he stressed that he doesn't condone violence but wanted to make a statement about Johnson and "the people in power who are trying to isolate and divide us".
"We as a people are not being looked after and our best interests are not being served by those in government- this is their job and they're not doing it well enough".
The prestigious prize was eventually picked up by rapper Dave for his album Psychodrama.
Stormzy was among the judges who decided the winning album.