A DJ from Hackney said he felt 'conflicted' after receiving a British Empire Medal (BEM) at the New Year Honours 2023.

DJ Spoony, also known as Johnathan Joseph, received the medal for services to charities through music during Covid-19.

He said that it was "the use of the word Empire in the honours" that made him uncomfortable, but that he would take the medal "on behalf of everybody that stuck together" during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Hackney DJ dedicates British Empire Medal to community and mum who 'gave me rhythm'

DJ Spoony hosted regular live streams on Instagram and Twitch during the pandemic, using his equipment at home to play a variety for music to help people "connect" and to eventually raise £20,000 for the NHS and various charities.

He said: "I’ve got emotional on air a couple of times because of some of the messages people have sent, saying it was a very tricky time for a lot of us, and the community really came together."

He continued: "I think if I look at the nation as a whole, if everybody does their bit, for their community, whilst respecting other communities as well, we actually end up with a beautiful nation.

"And I know that’s quite romantic, but I see this award as much as for our community as for me.

"And that’s largely why I’m accepting it, because I’m a little bit conflicted with the whole thing. But I’m going to take this on behalf of everybody that stuck together and made those afternoons and evenings streaming so pleasant."


DJ Spoony's streams saw hours of garage, club classics, disco, soul and R&B. 

For his birthday, he celebrated 50 Years of BBE, to shine a light on "people who have displayed black British excellence" during his lifetime.

DJ Spoony hosted the live event with contributions from celebrities and influential figures including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, Baroness Lawrence and Tinie Tempah.

He added that he was dedicating his BEM to his late mother, as well as his community, who "supported me every step of the way" and "gave me rhythm".

DJ Spoony said: "Even though, like I said, personally I’m a bit conflicted with the honours and the use of the word Empire in the honours – and I most probably would feel a lot more comfortable if that wasn’t in there – what I also accept is the journey that my people, especially my mum, went on, and sacrifices that my mum made so that I can be in this position."