Life in The Hinterlands; Growing up Gay & Mixed Race on The Isle of White

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-12-05 17:26Z by Steven

Life in The Hinterlands; Growing up Gay & Mixed Race on The Isle of White

The Afropean: Adventures in Afro Europe
2017-05-09

Ashley Thomas

Life as a mixed gay man seems a singular experience.

Who, what and where are the fluid foundations on which I’m constructed, construed and constrained. To some I am black but not Black, clearly not white or not Black enough. To others, I am an undecided shade of, well, I suppose you might say…

…Brown?

The Isle of Wight is a brilliant homophone. With its crumbling chalk and its crumbling people, it’s REALLY FUCKING WHITE. It’s located somewhere between the English south coast and 27 years ago. The island could seem blank or barren, but this is no creative backwater. At best, rural seaside racism is imaginative: I admired coconut-kicker most for its tropical rhythm…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Tudors: The Untold Story

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2017-11-15 17:00Z by Steven

Black Tudors: The Untold Story

Oneworld Publications
2017-11-14
352 pages
2.8 x 2.8 cm
ISBN-13: 978-1786071842

Miranda Kaufmann, Senior Research Fellow
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study
University of London

A black porter publicly whips a white English gentleman in a Gloucestershire manor house. A heavily pregnant African woman is abandoned on an Indonesian island by Sir Francis Drake. A Mauritanian diver is despatched to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose… Miranda Kaufmann reveals the absorbing stories of some of the Africans who lived free in Tudor England. From long-forgotten records, remarkable characters emerge. They were baptised, married and buried by the Church of England. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. Their stories, brought viscerally to life by Kaufmann, provide unprecedented insights into how Africans came to be in Tudor England, what they did there and how they were treated. A ground-breaking, seminal work, Black Tudors challenges the accepted narrative that racial slavery was all but inevitable and forces us to re-examine the seventeenth century to determine what caused perceptions to change so radically.

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The one woman show

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2017-11-07 04:55Z by Steven

The one woman show

The New Indian Express
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2017-10-14

Ablnaya Kalyanasundaram, Chennai Express

  • Natasha Marshall’s solo play Half-breed aims to start a social discussion about racism
  • She also attempts to reach out to victims of racism through her 60-minute play

Chennai: Racism, whether casual or blatant, is a difficult topic to express by those on the receiving end. Despair at the unfairness of it and a perpetual burning question of ‘Why me?’ prevents many from expressing anger and standing up against it. Born in a small village in Wiltshire, England, in a predominantly white area, Natasha Marshall has come a long way from the ostracised young girl to award-shortlisted playwright and actor. In the city to tell us her story through theatre, she speaks to CE about Half-breed.

Half-breed started as a three-minute poem. Natasha used to perform the poem at open mic nights and poetry nights in London. Gradually she built it to a play, thanks to a writing programme with two theatre groups, Soho theatre and Talawa Theatre Company, the co-producers of Half-breed. “I was a 26-year old, who moved back home to live with my grandma. I felt lost. I decided to write the play, and all I wanted was for someone to give me a chance, and they did. This play has literally changed my life in many ways,” Natasha smiles.

A one woman show, Natasha combines a total of seven characters in the 60-minute play. She plays the role of Jasmine, a young mixed-race woman who lives in a little village in the west of England, with dreams of becoming an actor; she is also the racist character. “I play my whole village. I play the racist and also the woman facing it. I think that makes the show more interesting and delivers a stronger message,” she quips. “I feel all the characters are a piece of me. Ultimately nobody’s perfect — we all can say ignorant things.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Tudor, English and black – and not a slave in sight

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-11-04 22:05Z by Steven

Tudor, English and black – and not a slave in sight

The Guardian
2017-10-29

Bidisha


Black musicians in a Portuguese painting of The Engagement of St Ursula and Prince Etherius, c 1520. Photograph: Bridgemanimages.com

From musicians to princes, a new book by historian Miranda Kaufmann opens a window on the hitherto unknown part played by black people in 16th-century England

Within moments of meeting historian Miranda Kaufmann, I learn not to make flippant assumptions about race and history. Here we are in Moorgate, I say. Is it called that because it was a great hub of black Tudor life? “You have to be careful with anything like that,” she winces, “because, for all you know, this was a moor. It’s the same with family names and emblems: if your name was Mr Moore, you’d have the choice between a moorhen or a blackamoor. It wouldn’t necessarily say something about your race.”

Her answer – meticulous, free of bombast, dovetailing memorable details with wider issues – is typical of her first book Black Tudors: The Untold Story, which debunks the idea that slavery was the beginning of Africans’ presence in England, and exploitation and discrimination their only experience. The book takes the form of 10 vivid and wide-ranging true-life stories, sprinkled with dramatic vignettes and nice, chewy details that bring each character to life.

Africans were already known to have likely been living in Roman Britain as soldiers, slaves or even free men and women. But Kaufmann shows that, by Tudor times, they were present at the royal courts of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James I, and in the households of Sir Walter Raleigh and William Cecil. The book also shows that black Tudors lived and worked at many levels of society, often far from the sophistication and patronage of court life, from a west African man called Dederi Jaquoah, who spent two years living with an English merchant, to Diego, a sailor who was enslaved by the Spanish in Panama, came to Plymouth and died in Moluccas, having circumnavigated half the globe with Sir Francis Drake

Read the entire article here.

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Black Tudors review – hidden lives revealed

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-11-04 21:40Z by Steven

Black Tudors review – hidden lives revealed

The Guardian
2017-10-15

Anita Sethi


Miranda Kaufmann: black Tudor lives matter. Photograph: Rosie Collins

Miranda Kaufmann’s account of the lives of 10 black people who made their homes in Tudor England sheds new light on our island’s story

Why and how did they come to England? How were they treated? What were their lives like? These are the questions that Miranda Kaufmann perceptively probes in Black Tudors. This account of people of African descent in Renaissance England overturns misconceptions, showing that “it is vital to understand that the British Isles have always been peopled with immigrants”. She concentrates on 10 individuals, ranging widely in social class and location, from cities to the countryside, including a royal trumpeter, a porter, a silk weaver, and an independent single woman. Meticulous research draws on sources from letters to legal papers, and Kaufmann also reflects on the challenges: “Fleshing out these biographies from the meagre documentation that remains is not easy, but it is a mission that must be undertaken if we are to reclaim their stories”. The detail she unearths brings to life those absent from the pages of history…

Read the entire article here.

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Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-29 02:52Z by Steven

Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

London Evening Standard
2017-08-14

Veronica Lee


Impassioned: Natasha Marshall performs in Half Breed Rebecca Need-Menear

Natasha Marshall gives an impassioned performance in a semi-autobiographical show, writes Veronica Lee

“I am that mixed-race kid, 50/50. I’m about as black as it goes round here,” 17-year-old Jaz says in Natasha Marshall’s semi-autobiographical piece about being the only non-white girl growing up in a small English village.

Jaz, who lives with her white grandmother in the West Country, dreams of going to drama school while her best friend, Brogan, whose main ambition in life is to have a baby, talks of London as if it were Mars.

But they’re tight, these two, kindred spirits brought together by both having spent time in the care system, and Brogan, despite not being able to fathom why her friend is doing it, is as determined as Jaz that her Shakespeare audition speech will be perfect…

Read the entire review here.

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Chris Hughton: ‘I have a thirst for knowledge. I won’t always be a manager’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2017-04-29 02:08Z by Steven

Chris Hughton: ‘I have a thirst for knowledge. I won’t always be a manager’

The Guardian
2017-04-28

Donald McRae


Chris Hughton says he is hoping to ‘tweak the squad and make some improvements’ before starting life in the Premier League. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images

In an exclusive interview, the Brighton manager talks about the ‘shocking’ imbalance between white and BAME managers in England and his hopes for Brighton in the Premier League next season

“‘It is shocking and the more we speak about it, and reflect on it, the more it hits home that there’s an incredible imbalance,” Chris Hughton says as he addresses the grievous lack of black managers in English football. His only current managerial contemporary is Keith Curle, in charge of Carlisle United in League Two, and Hughton’s quietly spoken words carry even more impact now that he has led Brighton & Hove Albion into next season’s Premier League.

Brighton’s inspiring promotion, after decades of strife in which the club became homeless, bankrupt and on the brink of losing their place in the Football League, was guaranteed last week. Their 58-year-old manager has two games remaining of this Championship season, starting with Bristol City at home on Saturday. But first, on a cold evening at the Amex Stadium, before his players participate in their annual awards, it is striking how he sidesteps beaming celebrations or personal vindication. Hughton, instead, confronts more important issues with a social conscience that is often missing from English football.

The “incredible imbalance” has long been, as Hughton says, “between those of ethnic backgrounds playing football, often at very good clubs, having good careers, being captains of their teams, and an absence in senior management. There have been some changes and it has been encouraging at academy and grassroots level – but still not at the top level. The game has a responsibility to redress the balance.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Elizabeth Anionwu’s Memoir: Mixed Blessings From A Cambridge Union Exceeds All Superlatives

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-12-29 01:57Z by Steven

Elizabeth Anionwu’s Memoir: Mixed Blessings From A Cambridge Union Exceeds All Superlatives

The Huffington Post
2016-12-28

Claudia Tomlinson, Author, campaigner, entrepreneur
London, England


Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Anionwu: Photograph by Barney Newman

Elizabeth Anionwu is a diminutive woman of colossal talent in everything she has turned her hand to, and to top off a high achieving career, her memoir has now outed her as a wonderful author.

She was born in 1947, from the relationship between her father, a Nigerian student, and her mother Mary, a Classics student whose family came from County Wexford and County Down, in Ireland, to settle in Liverpool.

Their romance blossomed at Cambridge University, at a time of discrimination against both black and Irish people in England.

Born into a strong Catholic family on her mother’s side, Elizabeth’s arrival, to unmarried parents, was a shock to her mother’s family threatening to bring great shame to the family…

Read the entire review here.

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How a mixed-race love affair between an African prince and an Englishwoman caused an international furore

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-12-16 21:28Z by Steven

How a mixed-race love affair between an African prince and an Englishwoman caused an international furore

The Daily Telegraph
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2016-12-16

Marea Donnelly, History writer


Ruth Williams and her husband Prince Seretse Khama in London in 1949.

ONE can only surmise as to whether bank clerk Ruth Williams and her Bechuanaland prince Seretse Khama ever shuffled around the dance floor to The Ink Spots’ hit Prisoner Of Love. United in their affection for the harmonising American doo-wop band, within a year of their meeting at a post-war London dance hall the Ink Spots’ 1946 hit could have been their anthem.

Their black-white romance offended not only their families, but the British and South African governments and the Church of England, which all aggressively opposed their 1948 marriage. Already the subject of a book A Marriage Of Inconvenience, and a film of the same name released in 1990, a new British film about the Khama marriage, A United Kingdom, opens in Sydney on Boxing Day

Read the entire article here.

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From Her Dad To Her ‘Jamish’ Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-12-11 18:26Z by Steven

From Her Dad To Her ‘Jamish’ Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2014-12-28

Arun Rath, Host

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

“It’s kind of … a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English,” she tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “It’s the name I gave myself.”…

Read the story here. Download the interview (00:06:15) here. Read the transcript here.

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