“Both racism and anti-racism were present in the making of the English working class”

An Interview with Satnam Virdee by Jagdish Patel  Each October, as Black History Month begins the Guardian columnist Gary Younge writes an engaging article asking a simple question, ‘Why can’t white and black people have access to a shared history that is accurate, honest, antiracist and inclusive?” This year his piece noted that ‘there is… Read More

In The Words of Malcolm X

by Iman Amrani The Autobiography of Malcolm X is one of those books that leaves a lasting imprint on the reader. The circumstances around its publication, the journey of the book itself, is fascinating, and makes Alex Haley’s foreword the most interesting introduction to a book that I have ever read. The fact that Haley… Read More

The Life and Times of Suge Knight: A waste of entrepreneurial genius

by Nels Abbey Marion ‘Suge’ Knight is one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. Not ‘black entrepreneur’ or ‘hip-hop entrepreneur’ or ‘street entrepreneur’. There is nothing required to qualify that statement or detract from it. In the story of risk and reward (at its most extreme) Marion ‘Suge’ Knight should be up there with… Read More

What are Respectability Politics, and Why do We Subscribe to Them?

by Maurice Dolberry You may not be familiar with the term “respectability politics”, but you’ve heard them before.  Maybe you’ve even engaged in them.  Whether it’s Don Lemon’s ranting, actor Romany Malco’s open letter to Trayvon Martin sympathizers following the George Zimmerman trial, Bill Cosby’s 2004 “Pound Cake speech” or even The Talk co-host Sheryl… Read More

Can Art Be Racist?

Looking at Art Critically by Chan I love art, truly I do, but it really becomes a source of frustration when it is viewed as above critique. In many senses art is critiqued constantly. The meanings are deconstructed and analysed, but people magically forget this methodical approach when there is an outcry that some art… Read More

The Little Rock Nine – The Schoolchildren Who Changed the U.S

The landmark Brown vs Board of Education decision in 1954 prohibited racial segregation of public schools in the USA concluding that ‘in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.’ So began the formal process of educational desegregation that would eventually lead to the broader Civil Rights Acts in the mid-1960s outlawing segregation and discrimination across a range of spheres. These victories were won not only in the courts, but also on the streets. Read More

Race, Revenue and Representation

While the statistics may suggest otherwise, my own personal experience is that the creative industry has always been a relatively level playing field – where ‘race’ is overtaken by ‘revenue’ every time. If you have the creative talent and commercially exploitable skills, then colour doesn’t come into it.

However, the problem is getting your foot in the door to showcase your skills in the first place. In a world where ‘who you know’ can make a world of difference, that’s not so easy if you don’t know anyone in the industry. And this is where the issue of ‘under-representation’ is a major problem. Read More

More Than Melanin: A Film Series on Black Experiences

While schools may mark Black History Month, it is important to remember that we cannot rely on them to teach us about black history.

There are other avenues, resources and people that can provide us with an abundance of knowledge, particularly during this month.

One example is Filmmaker and founder of Visionnary Arts, Troy James Aidoo who to mark Black History Month has created a short film series titled More Than Melanin. Read More

Stuart Hall and Black British photography | Part 2

by Jagdish Patel In the UK, many photographers have used photography to examine their own identity, whether this identity rests in being black, their class, gender, sexuality or disability. In the period from the late 1960’s to the 1970’s many ‘white’ photographers also explored the social changes in Britain. This was a period when Britain… Read More

Stuart Hall and Black British photography | Part 1

by Jagdish Patel The death of Stuart Hall on the 10th February was marked by worldwide praise for ‘Britain’s leading cultural theorist’. (2014. Stuart Hall – obituary, Daily Telegraph, 10th February,) It is rare for an academic to receive accolades in the mainstream press, and this perhaps reflects how Hall presented his ideas, not only… Read More