13 January 2024

Amol Rajan on viral remix moment: Social media can be kind

13 January 2024

Amol Rajan has said that social media can have “kindness and creativity rather than conspiracy and contempt” after going viral for a moment on University Challenge.

The presenter and journalist, 40, was sampled for music following a question on the popular BBC quiz.

During a Monday episode, Rajan asked: “What name is given to the genre of dance music that developed in the UK in the early 1990s out of the rave scene and reggae sound system culture associated with acts such as A Guy Called Gerald and Goldie?”

When the team from the University of Aberdeen team got the answer wrong, he replied saying: “I can’t accept Drum and Bass. We need Jungle, I’m afraid”.

Bath Spa University researcher, Nathan Filer, then posted on X, formerly Twitter, encouraging people to “sample” Rajan’s response, which is when it took off.

According to Rajan, his answer led to him being invited to play at festivals, being played on BBC Radio 1, “acquire a cult following in the jungle scene” and even a response from Goldie who said he would look at sampling the sentence.

The music form, Jungle, came to popularity in the 1990s and blends reggae and hip hop with dance music and is seen as the forefather to drum and bass.

In a BBC blog, Rajan wrote: “For six years, as media editor for BBC News, I reported on the threat social media posed to Western civilisation. Doubtless, it is profound, and my recent experience of Twitter/X has been dreadful.

“But then I work in the media, at the BBC, and cover politics, in an era of toxic culture wars.

“This week reminded me of the original vision of social media, which was more social and less media.

“Those of us in my trade should remember it can generate communities and pullulate with kindness and creativity rather than conspiracy and contempt.”

Rajan, also a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said with four children, he does not have time for rave in the same way but the post allowed him to reconnect with his “younger self”.

He also wrote: “I can confirm, however, that jungle is massive. I note Filer has updated his profile to say: ‘Unexpected player in a junglist revival’. Me too, boss, and I’m grateful for the precision with which you used the term. Because I can’t accept drum ‘n’ bass.

“We need jungle, I’m afraid.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox