A Coronation message from Bob Vylan

Ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III, Bobby Vylan looks at what the royal family actually represent in 2023.

A Coronation message from Bob Vylan
Bobby Vylan
Esmé Surfleet

The Coronation is just a big waste of time. It’s a very British thing to do: to make a parade where one is not warranted. The money could be spent almost anywhere else – it's just nonsense. Realistically the money would be better spent helping families and individuals that are having a hard time paying their bills and buying food, traveling to work and traveling to school, and paying for necessities that we have in life. They should allocate that money to the bottom, but instead a song and dance must be made, and so a song and dance will be displayed.

Who cares if there's a new king? Why should we care? It doesn't benefit anybody. That's the main issue because rich or poor, it doesn't benefit anybody – it benefits the family. We have to ask that if it doesn't benefit anybody – but is costing us so much money – well, then what is the point of it? This noise is not benefiting me. It's not benefiting my neighbour. It doesn't benefit the person in the mansion any more than it benefits the person in the council flat.

The Coronation does not represent what it tells us it represents. My father and his mother and father, and their mother and father, were brought to an island in the Caribbean against their will. I could call myself a Jamaican, or I could say I have Jamaican heritage when really, we are of African heritage. None of my ancestors willingly volunteered, none of them volunteered to go to Jamaica, to the Caribbean, to work for free. These people were taken – and taken by order of the crown. The same way the diamonds of Pakistan or India were taken by order of the crown. The monarchy has never served me; it's never served my family. I don't know who it has served other than the family itself. Obviously, people like to imagine it serves them because they want to feel some sense of national identity. But it is just tradition at this point and not all parts of tradition are helpful in culture – not in this day and age.

I have a sense of nothingness towards Charles, towards them and the whole institution. I am so far removed from being born into a life of such privilege and wealth. I am so far removed from that, and it is impossible for me to even see myself in them. I think that's possibly why older white people love the monarchy; some of them don’t feel as far removed. The impact the institution has had on my life, my father's life and his parents’ life is still felt today. Whether they choose to accept it or not, that is something that they will have to answer for one day, but until then, I suppose they're going to wave their flags and try to convince the people that their place in society is right where they should be, behind those big gates and walls.

Bob Vylan play Download Festival on June 10

READ THIS: Bob Vylan: “The music industry is the wild west… it’s a dangerous place with dangerous people”

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