Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-09-19 22:32Z by Steven

Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

gal-dem
2019-09-18

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff

The first time I met Emeli Sandé was on a wild night out. Age 19 and at the only hip-hop club night in Edinburgh, my friends and I were dancing when a group of men led us off the dancefloor and into a VIP area, where Emeli was socialising. As it turned out, one of those men was Emeli’s husband. We spent the night shimmying and doing shots and I remember wondering how she was going to get on stage the next day. It was a late one. But when, on the band’s invitation, we attended her concert, her voice soared across one of Edinburgh’s most opulent venues. “If someone can sing like that on a hangover,” I thought, “I have no choice but to stan”.

On this, our second meeting then, I feel obligated to bring up our first. “That was fun! I remember that night,” Emeli says. We’re sitting in a small, Ethiopian restaurant in Camden called The Queen of Sheba, settling down to eat a vast platter of injera with accompanying stews and sauces and talk about Emeli’s new album, Real Life. After a complimentary glass of Ethiopian honey wine, we settle straight in.

This album comes three years after her last outing, Long Live the Angels and seven years after her debut album catapulted the 32-year-old singer to fame. “This time it was really different. Like I built a studio in my house,” she says. “I finally had the freedom of ‘a room of one’s own’.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Work on 2019-04-18 00:03Z by Steven

Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

gal-dem
2019-04-11

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff


Image via Métis Association of Belgium / Facebook

The apology from Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, for the segregation, kidnapping and trafficking of as many as 20,000 mixed-race children in the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, is long overdue. Forcibly taken from Africa to Belgium between 1959 and 1962, métis children born in the 1940s and 50s were left stateless. If you’re not aware of the atrocities of colonialism (Belgium was responsible for the deaths of between 10 to 15 million Africans), this type of identity-destroying abuse might feel hard to comprehend – especially situated in such recent history. But in the UK, we have our own unresolved issues with the treatment of dual heritage children slightly closer to home: in Ireland.

The correlations between the cases are striking. In Belgian colonies, many métis were brought up in Catholic institutions or orphanages, away from family and sometimes removed from where they were born. “These children posed a problem. To minimise the problem they kidnapped these children starting at the age of two… The Belgian government and the missionaries believed that these children would be subjected to major problems,” Francois Milliex, the director of the Métis Association of Belgium, told RFI.

Similarly, in Ireland, it has been documented that mixed-race children were left to rot in mother and baby homes and industrial schools in the 1940s to 60s. The Catholic Church was involved – nuns and priests would often run the homes and schools. “To be Irish was to be Roman Catholic. To be Roman Catholic was to be Irish,” says Rosemary Adaser, who co-founded the Mixed Race Irish campaign and support group for victims of the homes and schools. “It wasn’t uncommon for the Roman Catholic Church to send over its priests to the Irish community in London and give them lessons in morality.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A letter to my racist in-laws

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2019-01-27 03:23Z by Steven

A letter to my racist in-laws

gal-dem
2018-12-22

Audrey Augustin


image by soofiya.com

“It’s because you have foreign blood in you, that’s why you live 350 miles from home,” my uncle says to me. Noah* is sat next to me. Embarrassed, I look down into my dinner and mumble “well, what about my brother? He’s always lived close by.” I try and disrupt his logic. “Well he’s different, isn’t he?” My uncle carries on talking. I stop listening. I’m angry. Why has no one interrupted him? Why is no one sticking up for me?

It’s Easter Sunday, 2018. I’m at my parents’ house for a family gathering with both sides of my family. My uncle is white. My dad is white. My mum is brown. I’m mixed race. My mum was born in Mauritius, she moved to the UK when she was a baby in the ‘50s. My parents, who have been together since the ‘80s have never addressed the issue of race. I think they just wanted to keep their heads down in the hope that things would get better. Racist comments like those from my uncle are commonplace at my family gatherings.

Noah is my partner. He’s white. His family are racist too…

Read the entire article here.

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Which box do second generation mixed race people fit into?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2019-01-27 01:34Z by Steven

Which box do second generation mixed race people fit into?

gal-dem
2018-01-03

Carinya Sharples

Britain has barely got its head around interracial relationships, and already we’re behind the times. The children of mixed couples from the 1960s and 70s are now adults, with their own kids – even grandkids.

But which box do they fit into? Black, white, Asian, mixed race? Is there a terminology that exists for second generation mixed race children that does not just shove them into the box labelled “other”?

Emma, who describes herself as half Mauritian and half Sri Lankan, resists the labels put on her: “I am classified as ‘Asian’ in the UK or ‘Asian – mixed’ or ‘mixed – other’ or ‘other’. I don’t resonate with any of these terms.”

Since having a son with her Nigerian partner, Emma is well aware that negotiating restrictive labels is about to get even more complex.

If her son was confused or asked for guidance, she says, she’d discuss it with him to find a term that he is comfortable with. But ultimately the choice would be his. “I think it’s important for us to identify ourselves as we feel as individuals,” she says.

This doesn’t mean, though, that other people aren’t already deciding for him – albeit in a positive, inclusive way. On the couple’s regular trips to Lagos, he’s embraced as a Nigerian and called “Yoruba boy”. And when the children at his London nursery had to make a flag of their country, he came home with a Nigerian flag…

…While there have been many studies of mixed-race relationships, there is precious little research on mixed-race families. This is something Miri Song, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, wants to change. Her new book, Multiracial Parents: Mixed Families, Generational Change and the Future of Race, explores some of these issues…

Read the entire article here.

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“At first we were brown and then we were half-caste and then mixed-race and then dual-heritage and then it was ok to just be black”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-12-27 22:37Z by Steven

There are mixed race people on both sides of [Corinne] Bailey Rae’s family – she has “brown cousins” on her mum’s English side as well as her dad’s. When she comments on her cousin’s shades, it reminds me that I’ve read that the term she prefers to use to describe herself is “brown” too. “At first we were brown and then we were half-caste and then mixed-race and then dual-heritage and then it was ok to just be black,” says Bailey Rae, obviously aware of the debate around how mixed-race people should define themselves, but disparaging. “I feel like I don’t really have a term if I’m really honest. That’s why I say it [brown] in like an almost silly way. As it’s almost like I’ve been labelled so many different things in the past 38 years that none of them feel familiar or satisfying.”

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff, “Corinne Bailey Rae on her nomadic lifestyle, racial identity and pregnancy,” gal-dem, October 16, 2017. http://www.gal-dem.com/corinne-bailey-rae-on-her-nomadic-lifestyle-racial-identity-and-pregnancy/.

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Corinne Bailey Rae on her nomadic lifestyle, racial identity and pregnancy

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-12-27 02:32Z by Steven

Corinne Bailey Rae on her nomadic lifestyle, racial identity and pregnancy

gal-dem
2017-10-16

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff


photography Kiran Gidda

If you’re a voracious reader, you’ll know something about being drawn into worlds that aren’t your own. It’s a tantalising prospect, especially for introverts. What I discovered earlier this year, is that singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae has the same magical quality as an enchanting novel. It’s a strange idea but bear with me, because if you’re lucky enough to meet her and spend time with her, to listen to her music, you’ll understand what I mean. Her world, soundtracked by sweet, soulful vocals, a picked guitar and stretching across oceans thanks to her nomadic lifestyle, has just a pinch of magic – black girl magic. She’s created it in her image.

Bailey Rae was part of the soundtrack of my youth (her debut came out when I was 12), but thanks to her ageless looks it’s difficult to believe she’s not just a couple of years older. Growing up in Scotland as a mixed-race girl amongst a blisteringly white population, she offered something that I didn’t realise I needed. Her image was attainable and aspirational. Here was a black, mixed-race British woman making beautiful music with her hair in natural curls, and the type of expressiveness that made her immediately relatable. I sang three of Bailey Rae’s songs (‘Like a Star’, ‘Till it happens To You’ and ‘Choux Pastry Heart’) from her eponymous debut album Corinne Bailey Rae for my music exams – A*’s you know – and, like everyone else during the summer of 2006, had her huge hit ‘Put Your Records On’ playing on repeat for months…

…From earlier conversations I know that Bailey Rae is interested and articulate on the topic of race. She was enamoured by the Kerry James Marshall exhibition in LA and recommends to me a book by Nell Irvin Painter, on the history of white people. “My dad had come from the Caribbean, but he didn’t talk to me a lot about racism which I think was a deliberate thing because he wanted to protect us,” she says about her childhood. “He didn’t want to suggest this sort of inherent thing […] And then my mum was very engaged. I learnt about South Africa and apartheid.”

Although she admits that she and her sisters would “pick the peas out of our rice and peas”, and didn’t necessarily know their black Caribbean nana’s culture “as well as we should have done”, it’s clear that she is very in touch with her blackness. When she performs at AFROPUNK London a few weeks after our interview, a festival which loudly celebrates black culture, Matthew Morgan, the founder of AFROPUNK, tells me that Bailey Rae had been very keen to play. “She approached me multiple times,” he says. On stage she tells the crowd: “I wish this community had been here for me when I was 15.” I’m at the front of the audience, screaming every lyric back at her like an embarrassing “stan” (mega fan).

There are mixed race people on both sides of Bailey Rae’s family – she has “brown cousins” on her mum’s English side as well as her dad’s. When she comments on her cousin’s shades, it reminds me that I’ve read that the term she prefers to use to describe herself is “brown” too. “At first we were brown and then we were half-caste and then mixed-race and then dual-heritage and then it was ok to just be black,” says Bailey Rae, obviously aware of the debate around how mixed-race people should define themselves, but disparaging. “I feel like I don’t really have a term if I’m really honest. That’s why I say it [brown] in like an almost silly way. As it’s almost like I’ve been labelled so many different things in the past 38 years that none of them feel familiar or satisfying.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Harry-and-Meghan is not ‘great news’ for interracial couples

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-12-03 03:21Z by Steven

Harry-and-Meghan is not ‘great news’ for interracial couples

gal-dem
2017-12-01

Natalie Morris


image via Vanity Fair

On Monday it was announced that Prince Harry is engaged to Meghan Markle – a half white, half black American. A mixed-race woman is about to become the first non-white member of the British monarchy, and I am conflicted.

Feelings about the Royal Family aside, my initial instinct was that the introduction of any kind of diversity to this country’s most historic institution can only be a good thing. There’s definitely a little girl inside me who wants to cry joyful tears at the thought of a black princess. But after about four minutes on Twitter and an avalanche of headlines screaming about Harry’s “exotic” choice of fiancée, I realised how this was actually going to go…

Read the entire article here.

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Ngozi Onwurah: the forgotten pioneer of black British film

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2017-06-29 02:07Z by Steven

Ngozi Onwurah: the forgotten pioneer of black British film

gal-dem
2017-06-20

Varaidzo


The Body Beautiful‘ by Ngozi Onwurah. Image via BFI

Ngozi Onwurah, despite being the director of the first independent black British feature film to be released, is not a household name. For a long time, her film Welcome II The Terrordome (1995), was the only film by a black woman to have a UK release. Like many black British women pioneers, her contributions to her craft have been pushed to the peripheries of British film history, yet revisiting her films reveals them to be prescient explorations of race that are just as relevant today.

Onwurah was born to a white mother and a black father in 1960s Nigeria. She was raised in England by her mother, alongside her two other siblings (one of whom, Simon Onwurah, produced Welcome II The Terrordome). Her first work, Coffee Coloured Children (1988), uses Onwurah’s own personal narrative to look at the experiences of being a black mixed-race child in England. It begins gleefully with folk of all races gathered together, dancing, laughing, rejoicing, to the ever optimistic soundtrack of Blue Mink’s song ‘Melting Pot’. The tone of the film darkens almost instantly, its extended background monologue beginning with the question “our childhood memories are blurred, murky, why did the big boys throw dog shit on our front door?”. This is coupled with the visual of this particular act being reproduced for the viewer…

Read the entire article here.

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Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-11-24 02:56Z by Steven

Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom

gal-dem
2016-11-18

Grace Barber-Plentie


Image via Telegraph

The characters and scenarios in Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom are like ghosts – they’re long gone, long dead, and yet there is still a resonance and urgency to them that keeps pushing through to our subconscious, never letting us quite forget. Regardless of the merits of her films themselves, Asante is a clever filmmaker, a filmmaker with a plan. At the BFI’s recent Black Star symposium, she told the audience that she deliberately makes period films about old issues in order to show how they reflect on our own contemporary problems with race, gender, love and money. Gone is the period dress of Belle, but there are still hoards of mixed race girls out there trying to find their place in society. And while in 2016 one would hope that an interracial couple could walk down the street holding hands without a second glance, Asante’s true story of the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and his white wife still makes us think about those of us that must fight for what we want and who we love.

The love worth fighting for, in the case of A United Kingdom, is that of white shopkeeper’s daughter Ruth, in a modest turn by Rosamund Pike and African heir Seretze Khama, played by David Oyelowo; another strong performance to add to his list. Their love, as seen in the opening scenes of the film, is not a fierce, passionate one, but one where each are equal and share love deeply in their own restrained way….

Read the entire review here.

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When will Rachel Dolezal stop trying to get in formation?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2016-11-07 00:36Z by Steven

When will Rachel Dolezal stop trying to get in formation?

gal-dem
2016-06-23

Paula Akpan and Ella Wilks-Harper

When the story of Rachel Dolezal first broke – the NAACP president who has been misrepresenting herself as black – I snorted derisively.

When she was interviewed by VICE’s Broadly and mused over how “it’s so hard to explain this to people: I don’t feel white,” I rolled my eyes.

However, upon discovering that Dolezal had joined the Twittersphere, I had a cursory stalk and came across the following tweet…

Read the entire article here.

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