BBC’s Joelah Noble blasts Glastonbury’s lack of diversity

Since 2010, just four female headliners have performed at Glastonbury Festival, while the top headlining acts on this year’s main stage will all be male. The stir has left Lana Del Rey threatening to pull out altogether – and BBC Radio 1Xtra’s brand new host, Joelah Noble, has exclusively spoken to with her feelings on the topic.

“In this day and age, it’s a big mistake to make,” she told us.

“It should be obvious that women should be part of the headlining acts, for sure.”

The award-winning R&B radio host added: “Balance is really important and that [line-up] obviously doesn’t reflect that. There are so many females that could grace that stage and do a great headlining job.”

Asked who her top pick would be, Joelah didn’t hesitate before nominating Beyonce.

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“I would always choose Beyonce… obviously I want Beyonce to headline everything all the time,” she enthused.

The Break My Soul songstress was one of just four female acts to have made it to the top slot at Glastonbury in previous years, and she put on a stellar performance one Sunday evening in 2011.

Her set included a medley of cover versions, where she belted out Prince’s ‘The Beautiful Ones’ and Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’.

She joined acts including U2 and Coldplay, who headlined the festival’s Friday and Saturday nights respectively.

Meanwhile, when music fans were feeling miserable during the height of 2020’s coronavirus pandemic, the cancelled festival was replaced by re-runs of previous headlining sets on BBC Two, including Beyonce as a major highlight.

Yet this year, some fans have debated the reason that an all-male trio is dominating the headlining slots – Arctic Monkeys, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Elton John.

Lana Del Rey reportedly threatened to pull out, explaining on Instagram: “Well, I’m actually headlining the 2nd stage. But since there was no consideration for announcing that, we’ll see.”

Organiser Emily Eavis has vowed that there will be two female headliners next year as a response.

She blamed a “pipeline problem” in the industry for the current imbalance, telling the Guardian: “I can shout as loud as I like but we need to get everyone on board.”

Meanwhile, Joelah is the new female talent in the radio industry, following the announcement that she will be taking over from Lady Leshurr every Saturday afternoon on BBC 1Xtra.

Besides that, she will team up with co-host Keke between Monday and Thursday for a special 1Xtra Throwback Party, celebrating some of the best in R&B and hip-hop tunes from over the years.

Joelah promises she’ll be taking listeners back in time to the 90s and 00s, to relive all of their nostalgic memories from a bygone era.

“BBC 1Xtra is the one station I wanted to be out of so many others, so to be able to have that Saturday slot every week, I’m loving it,” Joelah enthused to us.

Meanwhile, the TV and radio host has revealed some of her biggest inspirations in the music industry – Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and American rapper Eve.

If Joelah gets her way, she may even appear on the radio with her.

“She was my biggest inspiration for wanting to be a rapper. Any opportunity I get, I like to put out that I’d really like to interview Eve!” she exclaimed.

Catch Joelah Noble on BBC 1Xtra on Saturdays between 13:00 and 16:00, on the 1Xtra Throwback Party between Monday and Thursday during drivetime. A longer version is available on BBC Sounds called 1Xtra Throwbacks.

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