Why does Dj Semtex have one arm? Brit Awards viewers wonder what happened

Leigh McManus May 12, 2021
Why does Dj Semtex have one arm? Brit Awards viewers wonder what happened
Photo by JMEnternational/JMEnternational for BRIT Awards/Getty Images


Why does Dj Semtex have one arm? People started asking the question after the former 1Xtra Dj accepted the Best Male Artist award on behalf on rapper J Hus at the Brit Awards last night.

Who is Dj Semtex?

Born John Fairbanks in 1974, Semtex is a famous Dj who made his name presenting BBC Radio 1Xtra’s weekly hip-hop show from 2002 to 2018.

After 15 years with the BBC, Semtex announced he had joined Capital XTRA in October 2018. The 46-year-old Manchester-native is also presenter of Spotify‘s Who We Be podcast.

Prior to his stint with the BBC Semtex promoted parties in Manchester while playing at the city’s music venues, including The Hacienda. He was also “involved behind the scenes” at labels including Sony, Universal and Def Jam, according to Blues And Soul.

The Dj is popular among hip hop artists and, as an interviewer, he has gained exclusive access to them. For example, he conducted the only UK interview with Skepta upon the release of his gold certified album Konnichiwa.

Why does Dj Semtex have one arm?

Last night at the Brit Awards Dj Semtex took to the stage to accept an award on behalf of rap artist J Hus. People noticed his prosthetic right arm and began to wonder what happened.

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When he was 16, Fairbanks contracted Lymphangioma, a congenital tumour of the lymphatic system. He then underwent surgery and had his arm amputated, he didn’t discuss the topic until he released his book Hip Hop Raised Me.

He told Vice that he resonated with Kanye West as the Chicago artist nearly lost his life in a motor accident but managed to turn it into a positive force, he said: “I’m a massive Kanye West fan and in Through the Wire he talks about the car crash that nearly killed him. He says, ‘I turned tragedy to triumph’. That line has always resonated with me.”

The Dj added: “I thought about taking 10 really inspiring stories from 10 big names and really going into the details of how they turned their lives around, in the same way I was forced to after losing my arm.”

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After joking that “I’m better than DJs with two arms,” Semtex discussed his reasons for opening up on the illness that changed his appearance.

“The reason I’ve never spoken about my arm before, is because no one ever asked — probably about 30 people throughout my life have ever asked,” he said.

“I wanted to talk about it in the book because I wanted to give it a context; I wanted to show how I turned something into nothing, a negative into a positive.”

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Leigh is a 26-year-old journalist from the north of Ireland. He studied International Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, where he earned a 2:1 grade. He has worked for Mail Online and has experience with the Liverpool Echo, Irish Mirror and SWNS. Leigh is also a huge music fan and has his own show on a community radio station.