The BBC has defended its seemingly inexplicable decision to name Ed Sheeran as the most influential artist within black and urban music. The tax funded Broadcasting Corporation was criticised for being severely out of touch with the 1Xtra audience, for which the list was compiled.

Ed SheeranEd Sheeran performs on NBC's 'Today' (Getty 2014/Jemal Countess)

Austin Daboh BBC Radio 1Xtra's music manager said: "Every single day of the week, every single hour of the day we support black artists and other races that make black music sounds. I think that anyone who wants to bring race into the discussion is probably a little bit misguided."

More: BBC Faces Backlash After Whitewashed 1XtraPowerList Names Ed Sheeran Most Influential In Black And Urban Music

In a statement 1Xtra said it continues to be committed to supporting new black and urban music. Austin added: "The top 20 changed numerous times during the three and a half hours that we were locked in that room together. At one point there was debate about whether Tinie Tempah should be number one, there was talk about Emile Sande, should Lethal B [Lethal Bizzle] be higher up the list?"

Whatever the process (the list was actually voted for by listeners, with professionals from the music industry deciding the final order, hence Sheeran landing the top spot) The BBC and 1Xtra have dented their efforts to provide a specialist service for black and urban music; Sheeran, Disclosure and Sam Smith – who all feature in the top 4 – can be heard on most radio stations in the U.K and around the world. 

Daboh, though said that without 1Xtra, those acts wouldn't make it to mainstream stations. "Ed Sheeran's another example of who 1Xtra found, we helped nurture," he added. "Maybe his journey onto eventually the Radio 1 playlist and other big playlists around the world might have been a little bit slower if it wasn't for 1Xtra's support."

Here’s the full list: 

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Disclosure
3. Tinie Tempah
4. Sam Smith
5. Rudimental
6. Emeli Sande
7. Naughty Boy
8. Katy B
9. Krept & Konan
10. Fuse ODG
11. Boy Better Know
12. Rita Ora
13. Lethal Bizzle
14. DJ Fresh
15. Jessie J
16. Wiley
17. Giggs
18. Laura Mvula
19. Wretch 32
20. Dizzee Rascal