Slaves have announced their return to music and they're kicking it off by changing their band name and issuing an apology to the people they've offended.
The English dictionary defines the word 'slave' as follows: "A person who is forced to work for and obey another and is considered to be their property; an enslaved person."
But given the historical relevance of the word and the band members' white backgrounds, they have faced accusations of racism over the years.
Formed in 2012, the British group consists of Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent, who have staunchly defended the name in the past.
In 2015, Vincent told NME: "If you pick up an Oxford dictionary and look up the word 'slaves', there is no mention of any racial context.
"A slave is a person who is owned by another person and forced to work for free.
"In that manner, people who deem you a racist are being incredibly small minded because slavery has happened to every single creed, race and religion and it’s not a racist term."
He added: "There are days when we think, 'Oh man, why did we pick this name?' But now I look at it, it’s important.
"It says a lot about the time we live in that freedom of speech is so over analysed that you can’t even use words."
However, the world has changed a lot since then and it looks like their thoughts on the matter have too.
Say goodbye to Slaves and hello to Soft Play.
In a post shared today, the band, who haven't released new music as a duo since 2019, explained their change of heart and issued an apology to those they've upset.
They started off by explaining that 'life-changing events' left them on a hiatus, adding that they weren't sure if they'd ever step foot on stage together again.
"However, we feel that the time has now come to pick up where we left off," they said, but before that, they wanted to address 'something important'.
The pair continued: "When we called our band Slaves, it was intended solely as a reference to the grind of day to day life.
"As younger men, we responded to criticism of the name from a place of fear and defensiveness.
"Feeling backed into a corner, our own pride caused us to fight for a name we weren’t even sure we wanted anymore.
"It felt at times as if our band name had defined us and we were scared of what might happen if we changed it.
"However, we now recognise that our original intent doesn’t change the fact that the name Slaves is an issue.
"In this day and age we believe it is very important that people change and make improvements no matter how far down the line they are.
"The name doesn’t represent who we are as people or what our music stands for any longer. We want to sincerely apologise to anyone we’ve offended."
Holman and Vincent went on to say that they hope their fans won't 'continue the argument' amongst themselves and will accept the name change.
They concluded by saying: "Our music is for anyone and everyone. With that being said, we are very happy to be back together again and are excited for what the future holds.
"Our new name is 'SOFT PLAY'."
Featured Image Credit: Christian Bertrand / Alamy Stuart Westwood / Alamy
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