On June 1st 2018 at 8:06, Channel AKA ( Formally Channel U) announced that it’s residency on Sky 373 was coming to an end.
ANNOUNCEMENT! That’s it – Channel AKA is no more! We’ve pioneered grime & UK urban with Channel U & AKA giving first play to many homegrown acts. But today our friends Massive R&B take over Sky373 & we say thanks for all YOUR support over the last 15 years! Love always AKA.
— Channel AKA TV (@channelAKA385) June 1, 2018
The music channel, which focused on highlighting underground UK music was arguably a huge spring board for the success of artists like Tinie Tempah, Giggs, Skepta, Chip and Many More.
It was a sombre morning ride into the work on Thursday. Everything seemed to pause for a moment as twitter processed to news which was eventually met with both sadness and gratitude for everything the channel had done.
Channel AKA was on the front line pushing the scene forward at a time when many Black British Artists were not being recognised or supported by mainstream labels or radio stations.
Like many I can remember rushing home from school to watch everyone from the Choong family to Young Nate and being filled with excitement when harry from down the road would dedicate ‘wifey riddem’ to Charlotte. Being able to see what your favourite MCs looked like made them accessible, connecting them to fans in a way that hadn’t been done before.
The ambience of raw unpolished music videos only amplified the realities potrayed in grime music, which in many ways allowed the genre to develop and reach the masses while remaining authentic.
Some fans blamed the success of YouTube, while others suggested that Channel AKA, upload the videos from their database which can’t be accessed anywhere else.
While of course met with criticism along the way, I am sure that we can all agree that Channel AKA has been monumental for the culture showcasing a plethora of underground flavours to the wider population.
So whether you’re drinking, Orange Juice, Coke or Kool Aid, lets raise our glasses to what will remain a landmark of urban music as we say – goodbye Channel AKA and thank you!