In response to the controversy surrounding the Lux Style Awards 2019, Sufi rock band The Sketches is the first group of male artistes to withdraw their nominations, following model Eman Suleman, Fashion label Generation, makeup artist Saima Bargfrede and singer Meesha Shafi. Eigth nominees have withdrawn from their respective categories so far.
The band has been nominated in four different music categories namely Best Song (Raat), Singer of the year (Saif Samejo for Raat), Best Original Soundtrack (Naulakha), Best Playback Singer (The Sketches and Natasha Baig for Meri Dunya in Cake). The band has decided to turn down all four nominations and hence issued a press statement to announce it on Tuesday night.
The Sketches thanked the LSA jury for recognizing their creative contributions even though they are rooted far away from the mainstream culture, however, they have unanimously decided to withdraw from the said categories.
“Our reason is simply based on our values and principles, which, we will not bend for any award,” the band said in its statement.
The band further spoke about their desire to support Pakistan’s #MeToo movement and they want to stand in solidarity with the survivors of sexual harassment.
“What started as just one voice, has now become a wave. Women all around the world have been standing up to build a peaceful world free of toxic masculinity, sexism, and sexual harassment. Even after being silenced, threatened, mistreated, and judged, women in Pakistan are rising too. They are stepping down from LSA because they stand with survivors of sexual harassment. Without passing judgment on any individual’s character, the band considers it our responsibility to applaud & encourage these brave women to speak and be heard,” the statement read.
The Sketches has always been a voice for the subjugated as fans have witnessed from their songs like Meena, Bhora Marham, Raat and An Ode to a Liberated Woman. “Today, we have become a voice for the marginalised, especially of victims of sexual harassment, and we stand in support of all survivors of gender based violence,” it said.
The Sketches further criticized the selection of an alleged sexual harasser in the LSA nominees. “We will collectively stand together to challenge the current social norm that sexual abuse and misconduct can be swept under the carpet for an award or a few minutes of fame. The moment stands as a question mark for all individuals and organisations to decide whether they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor.
“As artists and more so human beings, we strive through our art, to build a more respectful and just society. We cannot do this if we put our conscience aside for cash or credits. We hold no personal grudge or bias against LSA and its attendees,” it added.
Read the band’s full press statement here: