Posted in Blog

Razorlight Gig: Reliving My Youth

Last Friday I went to see Razorlight at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

I actually bought the ticket while drunk in an Uber months ago (lol) and when I saw it coming up in the calendar, I was like hmmmm this might have been a mistake…

This year has been a big year of musical reminiscence. There are many bands I’ve loved since my adolescence but could never afford to see them live at their peak. That and also my mother wasn’t big on my music tastes (she thought that rock music was devil music and hip hop was violently demonic).

Since turning 30, I guess I’ve been on a journey of rebellion which has included finally seeing the bands/artists I craved to see as a teenager! Now two years later, I have five tattoos, three piercings (excluding my ears) and quite a few ticket stubs stuck to my wardrobe door (that’s where I keep them as my memory box is too chockablock).

Razorlight were a huge part of my early adulthood. Being from London and moving away for university I was constantly homesick – not for my family but for my city. I loved London but I felt like I had to leave to escape the clutches of my home. Many of Razorlight’s songs tell stories about the city which really spoke to me. I didn’t even care that the lead singer Johnny Borrell was a bit of a douchebag (Andy Burrows, one of the original band members actually came to my uni to do a DJ set, got really drunk and bitched to me and one of my friends about how awful being in a band with Johnny was LOL. He left the band quite soon afterwards).

So on Friday, I dragged myself to the gig after downing a coffee and got caught up in the memories of my long distant youth.

The greatest thing about it was that although I hadn’t listened to them in god knows how long, I still remembered quite a lot of the lyrics to their songs! My epilepsy affects my memory and this is something that has been pretty heartbreaking for me; I’ve always loved singing and I used to pore over the lyrics of my favourite songs, committing them to memory (I used to buy Smash Hits for the lyrics cards). But since starting medication almost five years ago, I’ve been struggling to remember a lot of the lyrics I could once sing in my sleep.

Going on my own also was a huge step for me, as my anxiety has been preventing me from doing that. But one of the best parts of a gig is the vibe from the audience, as you’ll see in this video!

So, last gig of the year was a huuuuuuuuge success and I’m looking forward to loads more live events next year!

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

I’m a Pro-Black Rock Chick; Why Is That A Hard Concept to Grasp?

I grew up listening to rock and indie music, not because I grew up in a white centric environment, but because it was the music I grew up with and resonated with my own narrative. My father loved rock music and most of my favourite bands now are many of his own favourite bands. I even have some of his old LPs which I managed to salvage from the collection my mum threw out after he left.

 

When I suffered from bullying because of racism last year, I was extremely conflicted by my music choices. For the first time in my life, I began listening to hip hop music; for the first time in my life, I realised that white men like Thom Yorke and Robert Smith were not the same colour as me and probably didn’t care about me, perhaps didn’t even care about racism and what fans like me were going through as a young Black woman. As you’re reading this, if you’re white you’re probably saying/thinking

 

“what does race have to do with it?”

 

“why does it matter that I am a different colour to these bands? Or from a different culture?”

 

Well it does. Especially when you are constantly being abused for the colour of your skin and told that you don’t belong.

 

I say this time and time again and I will forever say it: Kendrick Lamar literally saved my life last year.

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One of my tattoos (The Blacker The Berry, by Kendrick Lamar)

 

I had always been a fan, but I had never really sat down and listened to his lyrics, until I went through what I went through last year; he spoke to me in a way a musician had NEVER spoken to me before; he allowed me to be unashamedly angry for the first time in my life. Another rapper I find similar to Kendrick so resonated with is Open Mike Eagle: he also speaks about violence against the black community and how his perceptions of blackness have developed from childhood to adulthood. I love him because he’s a great storyteller as well as visual artist. I never knew that hip hop could do this, probably because I’d never given it the chance; throughout my childhood, my mother had always told me that Tupac was just a thug, until last year I discovered he was a better poet than any of the classics I’d taught as an English teacher.

 

For many months, I stopped listening to rock music, and invested my time into hip hop, because these were people who looked like me and could see where I was coming from.  However, recently I’ve now found a good balance where I can still enjoy my rock and indie music, while also embracing hip hop (old and new), so essentially marrying the new me with the old me, and while my black comrades have finally fully embraced this, because they can still see that I’m a pro-black woman who just fucking loves music from different genres, many white people – including my girlfriend – find it difficult to wrap their heads around this concept. I’ve been accused by white people of giving them a free pass for racism because I listen to “white music”; that I’ve forgiven white people for the racial torture they frequently put me, and my brothers and sisters through, just because I’ve started listening to The Cure again and am currently obsessing over DIIV (both white rock bands). Listening to rock music, also doesn’t mean that I’m going to visit some white artist at the Tate (Jenny Holzer), just because she thinks her anti-patriarchal art is progressive, when she refuses to acknowledge intersectionality in her “progressive” feminist pieces.

 

WTF?

 

Listening to rock music doesn’t make me any less pro-black; it doesn’t change the fact that I think that all white people are born with racial biases and many are unwilling to accept that they are born with privilege. In fact, I find it beautifully ironic that every day as I walk through the streets of North West London, I am being judged for the colour of my skin and sometimes verbally and physically abused, whilst listening to Led Zepplin or Roxy Music on my phone through headphones. Which is why when white people say to me “colour doesn’t matter” well actually it does because white people perceive me as lower and “other” just because of the colour of my skin and furthermore, I AM FUCKING DIFFERENT TO YOU so have some respect for my skin colour and culture by recognising that. However, the irony of othering me while I’m listening to the bands you also may like, is that we still have things in common which most white people refuse to acknowledge.

 

I cannot change who I am, God knows I’ve tried. However, the point I’ve now come to is that I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I’ll always be a rock chick, but I’ll also always be pro-black.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Fenty

I don’t usually do beauty posts however yesterday, I had such an awful day mentally, that I decided to finally treat myself to Rihanna’s Fenty make up range.

At £25 for foundation that actually matches your complexion, that’s not asking for much!

Fenty.jpg

I did queue outside Harvey Nicol’s in Knightsbridge for almost 2 hours in the rain though….. but do you know what? It was totes worth it.

I was telling my partner about buying make up as a teenager from Afro-Caribbean hairshops in Peckham, South-East London and how you dare not touch your face because that stuff would transfer onto your hands and then onto your exercise book. Plus my complexion is an in-betweeny colour – I’m neither light-light-skinned, nor dark-skinned, therefore I could never get the right shade to match my skin. And forget about buying anything in Superdrug or Boots, because the high street only sell make up for Lady Casper and her friends.

So I’d never had the whole make up experience before either, until yesterday.

The girl sat me on the stool and tried three different shades and the third one was the hit, and it was like rubbing chocolate onto my skin…. beautiful.

They didn’t have the shade in stock for the Pro Filt’r soft matte Foundation, so I just took down the shade number and bought it online when I got home. But before I left, my eye caught the Match Stix Matte Skinstick concealer. So, I’ve never tried concealer either, because again, I’ve never found concealer in a shade darker than a milky bar LOL. Until yesterday. The girl took this stick, rubbed it under my eye and it was like magic. As you can see from the picture below, the coverage is immaculate:

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So I bought that and some Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer. And when I got home, I also bought some Killawatte Freestyle highlighter (blusher).

Over the last year I’ve barely worn make up and I know some girls of colour who like me, have just kind of given up on make up. However, when we knew Fenty was coming out we just had to get behind it because this is the first time anybody has done anything for us. There was a girl in the queue in front of me who said to me: “it’s weird how she’s done so many shades right?” My reply: “that’s because it’s needed!” Desperately needed! The girl was white Columbian so she didn’t get it. In the queue with us were so many young girls! I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be valued like that in your teens. I cannot tell you how shitty it felt to have to make up your own colour of foundation for so many years, because there just wasn’t any thing on the market for you. Boots No7 came close – that’s the last foundation I bought 2 years ago, however even that was too dark for my complexion.

Yesterday was glorious, to look in the mirror, and finally see my melanin face made up how it should be.

Rihanna has created a brand for us and shown us that we are valued and appreciated, because black is fucking beautiful baby. Finally.

Thank you.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Winston Churchill – The Murderer

“England celebrates their genocides. The ‘Winston Churchill note’ has entered circulation. Honouring a man who swilled on champagne while 4 million men, women and children in Bengal starved due to his racist colonial policies.”

Thank goodness for contactless payments, because the thought of holding a £5 note now makes me want to vomit. I’ve worshipped a murderer for twenty years; you fuckers taught us in school that he was a hero and when I was a teacher I taught the same. 

You even taught us that he was “one of us“, before my eyes were opened.

Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 in Blenheim Palace. What endeared me to him was his speech impediment, which he overcame. He was also a sickly child. He was a successful journalist and author of bestsellers, and before World War I he had already served as home secretary, president of the board of trade and first lord of the admiralty (head of the navy). During World War I, he was appointed minister of munitions, then secretary of state for war and secretary of state for air. After the war, he became secretary of state for the colonies and, finally, served as chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924 to 1929.

During the build up towards World War II, Churchill was an isolated hero, valiant enough to take on Hitler; in school we were taught that Chamberlain was the cowardly “Appeaser”, frightened of the Third Reich and it was Churchill who saved Europe from complete Nazi control. 
Churchill addressed the people directly only a few times, but when he did, up to two-thirds of Britons sat in front of their radios, hanging on his every word. I still remember the shivers I used to get whenever I used to listen to the “We shall fight on the beaches” speech from 4 June 1940. Churchill’s strongest weapon was the word. The equally eloquent John F. Kennedy, son of the then US ambassador in London and later president of the United States, once said that Churchill had sent the English language to war, and this is how he connected with his people, and what made his MY hero. He gave magnificent speeches, and even the Nazis were impressed by his eloquence. “In his crudeness, he does command a certain amount of respect,” Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) wrote. Churchill emphasized a total commitment to the war. While the Third Reich exploited forced laborers and ransacked the countries it occupied, the Britons were expected to contribute directly to the war effort by these rhetorical performances. Churchill convinced them that without their efforts at home, the War could not be won on the Front.

He did all of this through his words.

So imagine my dismay when I discovered that not only were Churchill’s speeches plagiarised, (a similar passage to “We Shall Fight” appears in Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories: “The Jungle Book”); Britain greatest hero is a mass murderer. 

At the Palestine Royal Commission (Peel) of 1937, Churchill stated that he believed in intention of the Balfour Declaration was to make Palestine an “overwhelmingly Jewish state”. He went on to also express to the Peel Commission that he does “not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place”.

Churchill was the archetypical white supremacist, and this is why racism still exists in Britain because we’ve been teaching it in our school for years. Like a fool I’ve been teaching it! Churchill didn’t want to stop Hitler, he was just lusting for non-white blood.

During the Second World War, Churchill decided to torture India; he wanted to start a civil war because he despised them as a people, he despised their religion, and he wanted to make money:

Bengal-Famine

(Image Source)

The British Army took millions of tons of rice from starving people to ship to the Middle East – where it wasn’t even needed. When the starving people of Bengal asked for food, Churchill said the ‘famine’ was their own fault “for breeding like rabbits”. The Viceroy of India said: “Churchill’s attitude towards India and the famine is negligent, hostile and contemptuous”. Even right wing imperialist Leo Amery who was the British Secretary of State in India said he: “didn’t see much difference between his [Churchill] outlook and Hitler’s”.

Neither do I, because his blood-lust didn’t just stop at India either. My Grandfather was Indian. Were his parents back in India during the 1940s? Did they suffer during that famine? Were they victims of Churchill? I have no way of knowing. The thought makes me sick to my stomach. The very thought that I possibly celebrated their torturer tears me apart.

Two weeks ago, my partner and I went to Windsor castle and saw a room of spoils the Empire had “acquired”, including this one:

Indian Crown

I’m sorry, did I say acquired? I meant stolen. Yes this was before Churchill was born, however this photograph – as well as the entire castle really was a reminder of the damage Britain has done to non-White people all over the world.

British Colonialism has played a huge part in shaping today’s society. It has facilitated Britain’s economic expansion by ensuring its control over distant territories and peoples, in a large-scale domination scheme that required and promoted huge disparities in power and the subjugation of innocent populations. The British and Europeans used “tests of intelligence”, falsely proving the people of Africa to be less able intellectually, to control of their resources and justified it as the “natural outcome” – this is also how they justified land seizures and slave-trading for profit. 

Although most colonies gained independence after the Second World War, the contemporary flow of goods, capital, people and culture in many countries still retains the colonial pattern. Colonialism requires strong social and psychological mechanisms of domination and control, which have become more pervasive and subtle over time (Moane, 1999), which we now refer to as racial microaggressions.

Yet for our past – particularly our Caribbean island – we’ve received no apologies and no reparations from Britain, for the racist crimes of theft, rape, torture, and severe damage to our mental health.

I’ll leave you with this as food for thought from your hero, Winston Churchill, who died on 24 January 1965 in Kensington, London:

“Churchill suggested the motto “Keep England White” when debating the adoption of new laws limiting immigration from the Caribbean.”

I’m jubilant to finally know the truth now. I’ve spent many months searching for the truth about Churchill, and I’m finally liberated. I just wish that Britain would be honest with its history, because as a society you are concealing some densely racist skeletons.

 

Written by a Black-Caribbean blogger, born in Britain, with family from St Lucia, Caribbean, India and France.

All quotes from https://crimesofbritain.com/2016/09/13/the-trial-of-winston-churchill/ 

Posted in Blog

I’m Black, I’m Not Stupid

I wasn’t going to write about this, however I feel like I’ve been backed into a corner and the more I think about it, the more angrier I become and if I don’t get it down “on paper”, then I’ll probably have a seizure.

Last week, I posted a picture of myself with my new glasses, and alluded to the racial microaggressions I’d suffered in my previous employment, to the point where comments were made and I was forced to alter the way I looked, in order to fit in. When the post was shared, one of my white friends responded with:

“are you sure that’s what they meant?”

Eye Roll

Why do white people do that?

 

I’m not going to apologise if that comment upsets you, because I suffered for EIGHT MONTHS.

Every single time I went to one of my University tutors with my concerns, who were both white, their response every single time would be:

“are you sure that’s how you heard it?”

or

“I’m sure that’s not what they meant”

or

“I think you heard what you were feeling, not what was actually said”

 

My concerns were about comments made about my epilepsy, as well as my race.

I may be black, but I’m not fucking stupid.

 

I’m currently reading “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Racism” by Reni Eddo- Lodge:

Reni Eddo-Lodge

When people say that this book was begging to be written, even after everything I had been through this year, as well as the hype on social media, I still thought that it was all hype. I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away. I remember struggling to get through the first chapter, because it was so hard-hitting. I actually had to take a break from reading it and now, I can’t put it down. I remember thinking: “why the fuck don’t they teach us this in school????” (Speaking of school, did you know there were black Tudors??? Because I didn’t! I used to teach about the Tudors as a Learning Support Assistant to young, disillusioned black girls and I had no idea, that there were black Tudors – that’s not in the book by the way, I just happened to stumble upon this book: Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, Their Presence, Status and Origins by Onyeka, which is on my Amazon wishlist.)

Reni’s book and this year, has made me realise how much of an immigrant I am.

It doesn’t matter that I was born here in Britain, or that I have a British passport; it doesn’t matter that I have a white partner; it doesn’t matter that I’m highly educated; it doesn’t even matter that I have more white friends than Black friends. White people will question my intelligence, my identity, my authority to abode all the fucking time.

This week I went on my first racial protest, following the murder of Rashan Charles, on Saturday 22nd July 2017, at the hands of a white policeman. He was a young Black boy of twenty years old. I’m not denying that he lived a straight life, but I’m definitively and loudly crying out that he did not deserve to die. The people on social media who were saying that he did, were all white – they said he was scum. Thankfully, the white people who were on the protest with us, were not narrow minded, right-wing, heartless, awful people, but brothers and sisters, standing with people of colour, who are tired of being murdered by the state and by white people in authority. I overheard one black man say to the man with the megaphone, that instead of shouting “Black Lives Matter”, we should be saying “all lives matter”, to include everybody who had joined us on the march. Rightfully, the man with the megaphone said no, and I say thankfully because we do have to keep on shouting “Black Lives Matter” until somebody fucking listens.

 

Before the march, we stood outside Stoke Newington Police Station in protest and I was so proud to hear young people of colour, bravely speaking up about their stories of persecution, at the hands of the police, and at the hands of others in authority (especially teachers). As a teacher, I’ve seen young Black people ruthlessly persecuted for “attitude problems”, for the way they stand, the way they wear their hair, etc, etc.

And then get told it’s all in their head. 

Crazy Eyes

When the Government are cutting funds and closing down community centres and youth projects, where else are young people going to go but onto the streets? Which are run by older men and gangs, who bully young people into doing things either they don’t want to do, or make them believe they need to do, in order to survive on these streets they’ve grown up in, with their families?

The role models they need aren’t around, because everything is being gentrified: their towns, even their schools. My school didn’t even want their one of two token black teachers, because I was fucking defective. My kids looked up to me – they told me every day, how awesome it was to finally have a Black English teacher in the school.

The reason why I went on that march on Monday, was not just for Rashan, but for the kids who I used to teach, who I still miss every day. Because what happened to Rashan and SO many others before him, could happen to them.

We need justice.

I’m going to stop now, because I feel I’m ranting.

But for now, I’m going to keep talking about race, because this year I’ve finally woken up thirty-one years too late.

RIP Rashan and love and peace to your family, especially your daughter.

XOXO