Viktoria Modesta sitting in a chair

Where are the disabled pop stars?

This weekend is the X Factor final – a night millions of us have been looking forward to.

But this year’s final comes with an exciting twist! Channel 4 is hijacking the occasion to launch Viktoria Modesta, a disabled pop artist.

On Sunday night, Viktoria’s promo video, Prototype, premiers to millions of people during one of the ad breaks of the X Factor final.
It’s rare to see a disabled musician singing to millions of people on one of TV’s biggest nights of the year – but Viktoria is planning to change that by bringing the disability factor to the masses.

(Warning: video contains adult themes)

Viktoria wears a prosthetic leg as the result of a long term health condition. At the age of 20, she took the radical decision to undergo a below-the-knee amputation to improve her mobility.

She views her amputeeism as empowering and part of her artistic expression. She believes it can thrill and influence her work and is not something which demands sympathy.

Viktoria famously performed at the 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony but has faced many challenges breaking into the music industry, due to the fact she is an amputee.

The singer wants to use the launch of her promo video as a platform to challenge attitudes about disabled people and shine a light on the stigma that many people like her face when trying to make it in the music business.

Earlier this year, Scope launched End the Awkward, a campaign which highlighted that many British people feel awkward about disability.

Scope research shows that 9 in 10 disabled people believe that more disabled people in the media would improve attitudes to disability – highlighting the importance of increased exposure of disabled people in the creative industries, including the music business.

What do you think of Viktoria’s new video?  Should the music industry be doing more to represent disabled people? 

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9 thoughts on “Where are the disabled pop stars?”

  1. In a perfect world this would not even be news-worthy, it would simply happen in the natural course of events – the publicity would revolve around her talents as a performer, and not have to point out her disability as setting her in some way ‘apart’ from the norm.
    From what I have heard here, Viktoria is a young lady with an excellent voice, and I wish her well in her ambition.
    I would just prefer that her publicity concentrated on her singing talents. Concentrating on, or indeed even mentioning, her disability is shallow reporting, and is not conducive to promoting inclusivity or acceptance, as it is in fact saying “despite her disability….”, which I consider to be extremely patronising.

    1. Well said. As far as I’m concerned, all this “not represented” clap trap does more harm than good. Whether you’re gay, female, black or disabled we should all be judged on our ABILITIES not our minorities. Nobody should queue jump because they are any of the above! P.S. I speak as a disabled lady!

  2. There is no question that a disabled person can perform as well as anybody in this sphere. I considered the sexualisation issue, and decided that it is now the norm. I personally didn’t like the song, but each to their own. It certainly illustrates well that a disability is not a barrier.

  3. Good Luck with it, but I agree with Geoff’s words above.
    I also thing we should not be called disabled people or person.
    We should be call people with disabilities, mean people 1st disability 2nd.

  4. It so great to see the music industry finally allowing disabled musicians back into the fold, after so long. The last disabled popstar was Ian Dury really, and that was back in my teenage years. I tried for decades to break into the music world but the industry just wasn’t ready. Couldn’t accept that the public would buy anything by a guy in a wheelchair. Click on this link to see a video of a track recorded by the BBC in 1991, which led to Our Price Records getting so many pre-orders it would have charted. Sadly the industry wouldn’t go for it even then! So good luck Viktoria, show what we can do!

  5. Stupid bloody Youtube. This is the link to the music video mentioned above.

    Ignore the ranting about access, although it’s damn hard to be a popstar and play live if at least half the venues aren’t accessible. But it didn’t stop me in my youth, crawling up flights of stairs to perform!

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