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Craig David Felt "Bullied" By Leigh Francis' Bo Selecta Impression

Craig David has said that he felt "bullied" by Leigh Francis' impersonation of him on Channel 4 show Bo Selecta!.

The character Leigh Francis was portrayed by comedian Keith Lemon in the show between 2002 and 2009. On the show, Lemon impersonated the likes of Elton John, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Trisha Goddard, along with David.

Craig David often felt that Lemon's portrayal of him, led to his decrease in popularity during the 2000s. He felt that it played a part in the criticism he received for his song 'Rewind'. 

“When the Bo’ Selecta! show was out, that period of time was hard processing for me", David said in a recent interview. “I didn’t know why a song like ‘Rewind’ – which was a cultural song that broke the ice for so many artists to come through – was now being ridiculed". 

“I didn’t know why a song like ‘Rewind’ – which was a cultural song that broke the ice for so many artists to come through – was now being ridiculed". 

“That was one thing, that I placed it as a music thing. But actually what [Francis] was doing was slowly bullying not only myself but Mel B [and] Trisha, and I felt there was no real accountability at that time", the singer added. 

“And I was young, between a rock and a hard place. [I was like], ‘Do we lean in [to it]’ …defence mechanism. ‘Let’s laugh it off – come on, let’s do a show together’. It didn’t work. Or, ‘[Should we] play the victim, and go there’". 

While he does not have an axe to grind where Leigh Francis aks Keith Lemon is concerned personally, Craig David insists that the comedian must be "accountable". 

 “It’s just [about] having accountability. I have no grudge with Leigh, genuinely. It’s more the fact of: you need to be accountable", he said. 

David On Lemon's Apology

Back in 2020, Keith Lemon issued an apology for the way the show had portrayed black celebrities in the 2000s.

“I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused, whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people that I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey", Lemon said during a video message. “Back then, I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything. I’m not going to blame it on other people. I’ve been talking to some people and I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then and I just want to apologise". 

“Following recent events, I’ve done a lot of talking and learning […] I’m on a constant journey of knowledge and just wanted to say I’m deeply sorry. #blacklivesmatter". 

Craig subsequently questioned the sincerity of this apology from Lemon.

“It just feels a bit of a coincidence that it happened to come at a time when George Floyd has been killed in broad daylight in America. To then have the Black Lives Matter movement… protests around the world", David said. 

“And then [Francis’ apology] comes as a reaction to something that really should never have gone there, in terms of ever putting a rubber mask on that’s blackface, which it was". 

“And it’s just being accountable for that. I think that, ultimately, I never really spoke about that. And the coincidence of it just felt too timely. I feel emotional speaking about it, because I just felt like I was talking on behalf of so many people who’ve been bullied and experienced that". 

Craig David has opened up about this issue in his forthcoming book 'Whats Your Vibe?'. He called this experience "healing" and "empowering". The book is to be released on October 6. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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