Last Night Of The Proms might be facing a few changes, with producers considering the removal of favourites ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’.
According to The Sunday Times, BBC producers are currently in discussions about removing the two anthems from the setlist because of their perceived association with colonialism and slavery.
The discussion comes in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been heightened in recent months following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed in Minneapolis in May after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
Dalia Stasevska, who is conducting this year’s Last Night Of The Proms, is keen to modernise the evening’s repertoire and reduce the patriotic elements.
“Dalia is a big supporter of Black Lives Matter and thinks a ceremony without an audience is the perfect moment to bring change,” a BBC source told The Sunday Times.
Described by one insider as the “Black Lives Matter Proms”, this year’s proms will open with a piece written by Hannah Kendall, 36, a Black British composer, and will close with South African soprano Golda Schultz.
Founded in 1895, the annual celebration is normally watched live by more than 6,000 fans (over 1,000 of them standing shoulder to shoulder) – but the coronavirus means this year it will take place without an audience.
“We are still finalising arrangements for the Last Night of the Proms so that we are able to respond to the latest advice in regards to COVID-19 and deliver the best offering possible for audiences,” a spokeswoman for the Proms told Sky News.
She added: “Full details will be announced nearer the time of the concert.”
Last Night Of The Proms takes place on September 12.
Last year, Lily Allen faced a barrage of criticism after calling for ‘Rule Britannia’ to be banned.
The ‘Smile’ singer dissected the lyrics of the traditional anthem, which was first penned in 1740, in a series of posts on her Instagram stories.
“Sorry what? Britannia rule the waves… I think we should not read this song anymore,” Allen said.