Jonathan Butler was the first Black artist to be prominently featured on White radio stations during apartheid in South Africa. In a new interview with EBONY, the musician details his life at the time of the achievement, saying that while it was a proud moment that brought about notoriety, he still lived in a “shack” and faced discrimination on a regular basis.
“Every establishment I played in was ‘Whites only,’ ‘Blacks only,’ Colored only,’ ‘Indian only.’ When I won the Grammy in South Africa, it was blacked out from the radio, it was blacked out from the media, it was blacked out from television,” he said.
“Being famous and having gold records and a Grammy, but you still have to go live in your shack in your segregated townships … started to affect me in ways I didn’t even realize.”
Butler admitted that South Africa is incredibly different today than it was during his formative years, but he said those experiences will always be with him.
“No matter how much the country changes, I’m still very aware of where I am.”
Check out the clip above.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.