Akala: Dynamite by any other name…

Akala: Dynamite by any other name…

The Guardian

Kate Mossman, Editor and Pop critic
New Statesman

Akala in Notting Hill last month: ‘In Brixton and Tottenham my sister was worshipped because she was representing a side of intellectual black culture that is never usually acknowledged.’ Photograph: Karen Robinson for the Observer

Rapper, adapter of Shakespeare and brother of Ms Dynamite, Akala is on a mission to correct a few misconceptions

A few weeks ago in these pages, Birmingham rapper Lady Leshurr asked why there had been no high-profile female rappers in the UK since Ms Dynamite. Akala seems a good person to consult – one, because he’s her brother, and two, because you can ask Akala just about anything and you’ll get a pretty comprehensive answer. In the course of 68 minutes in a London community centre under the Westway, he talks about 16th-century explorers, Biggie Smalls, the universities of 13th-century Timbuktu, tai chi, the Black Wall Street of Oklahoma, the African city portraits of Olfert Dapper, Eminem, peanuts, Napoleon’s generals, traffic lights and golf. But back to Ms Dynamite.

“I remember the Daily Mail wrote an article about my sister at the time,” he says, “and essentially their argument was, ‘Well, she’s not really black, is she – she’s quite clever and she’s got a white mum!’ It was so funny the way they tried to co-opt us. Remember that big story about Bob Marley and his ‘white dad’ last year? He was unequivocally black power, but he’s rewritten as this fun-loving Rasta. Mark Duggan [the Tottenham man shot by police in August 2011] was also mixed race, but no one’s ever going to co-opt Mark Duggan!”…

Read the entire article here.

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