Mixed-race Britons – we are of multiple heritages. Claim them all

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-04-20 20:45Z by Steven

Mixed-race Britons – we are of multiple heritages. Claim them all

The Guardian
2022-04-19

Natalie Morris

Natalie Morris with her father, Tony Photograph: Natalie Morris

With my father’s death I lost the link to my Jamaican lineage, and I needed to address that. It is vital to embrace all sides of yourself

Losing a parent is profoundly destabilising. It takes the world as you knew it – the certainties, the constants, the safety nets – and whips it out from under you. In addition, as I have discovered over the past two years, there is an extra layer of complexity that comes with being mixed-race and losing the person who connects you to half your heritage.

My dad, Tony, was Black. He was a quite well-known figure here from his work as a journalist with ITV and the BBC, particularly in northern England. And in the months after he died one sunny day in August 2020, I began to question everything about myself…

Read the entire article here.

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Twigs was born Tahliah Debrett Barnett in 1988, in Cheltenham, to an English/Spanish mother and a Jamaican father.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2022-03-29 20:15Z by Steven

Twigs was born Tahliah Debrett Barnett in 1988, in Cheltenham, to an English/Spanish mother and a Jamaican father. She was also raised by a “jazz fanatic” Bajan stepfather. “What’s it like in Leeds?” she asks me with wide eyes. Assuming she’s asking what it’s like to be Black in Leeds, I tell her that, surprisingly, I had a more Black experience up north than I ever did living in London. “I definitely understand what you’re saying,” she says. “As a teenager, I started getting the bus to Gloucester to be around people who were from the same culture as me. I’ve never experienced such an intense West Indian experience as I did in Gloucester.”

Kadish Morris, “FKA twigs: ‘I don’t have secrets. I’m not ashamed of anything’,” The Guardian, March 26, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/mar/26/fka-twigs-i-dont-have-secrets-im-not-ashamed-of-anything.

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FKA twigs: ‘I don’t have secrets. I’m not ashamed of anything’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-03-29 02:07Z by Steven

FKA twigs: ‘I don’t have secrets. I’m not ashamed of anything’

The Guardian
2022-03-26

Kadish Morris, Editor, Critic & Poet

FKA twigs: ‘I think vulnerability is really hot.’ Photograph: Aidan Zamiri/The Guardian

After a hellish couple of years, the pop visionary is back. She talks about beating illness, escaping abuse, and the joy of connecting with her Caribbean roots

FKA twigs isn’t special, she says, she just rehearses a lot. “I don’t think I was born with anything more than the rest of the world,” says the 34-year-old singer-songwriter. It might be hard to believe that anybody could do the splits down a pole or wield a sword, Wushu-style, the way twigs has done without possessing some divine powers, but it’s all in the training. She can afford private lessons now, but when she started out as a fresh-faced back-up dancer, YouTube tutorials and group dance classes helped her to perfect her craft. “I practise and I practise and I practise. That’s who I am.”

Twigs has had a spellbinding career, exploding on to the pop scene a decade ago with operatic vocal arrangements, conceptual videos and futuristic instrumentals. In 2014 the New Yorker magazine said that she “dresses like a high-fashion model from antiquity, but her songs promise the very contemporary pleasures of texture and emotional immediacy”. Since then, she’s released several acclaimed albums and is considered a trailblazer in pop, R&B and Afrofuturism

Read the entire interview here.

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There’s a sense of gratitude in her voice as she describes “championing the Black community … I’m really happy that I did take that opportunity, because I am very much part of that community. I am a Black woman. I have a lot of things to say, which I hadn’t had the confidence to speak about.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2022-03-22 20:29Z by Steven

After the murder of George Floyd, and a renewed energy around the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, [Adwoa] Aboah found her conversations on her Gurls Talk podcast getting “a lot deeper. Everyone had so much to say, and everyone was going through such personal experiences, growth and sadness.” It also led to a second Vogue cover, this time alongside Marcus Rashford, shot in the footballer’s garden in Manchester, for an issue spotlighting “faces of hope”. It was a huge moment – and one she almost turned down. At the time, Aboah says, she “didn’t think it was my place to be that person. I think it’s because I hadn’t really delved into race and my feelings around it, and what I had been through. My mum’s white, my dad’s Black, and there had been a lot of confusion personally as to how I felt about it all. And, actually, it was great.” There’s a sense of gratitude in her voice as she describes “championing the Black community … I’m really happy that I did take that opportunity, because I am very much part of that community. I am a Black woman. I have a lot of things to say, which I hadn’t had the confidence to speak about.”

Hannah J. Davies, “Adwoa Aboah on acting, recovery and her racial awakening: ‘I am a Black woman. I have a lot to say’,” The Guardian, March 19, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2022/mar/19/adwoa-aboah-acting-recovery-racial-awakening-black-woman-lot-to-say.

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Adwoa Aboah on acting, recovery and her racial awakening: ‘I am a Black woman. I have a lot to say’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-03-21 21:34Z by Steven

Adwoa Aboah on acting, recovery and her racial awakening: ‘I am a Black woman. I have a lot to say’

The Guardian
2022-03-19

Hannah J. Davies, Deputy Editor, Newsletters, and a Culture Writer

Adwoa Aboah: ‘Acting in Top Boy was so out of my comfort zone.’ Photograph: Andy Jackson/The Guardian

She is one of the world’s most in-demand models, but it wasn’t always this way. As she gets her big acting break in Top Boy, she explains how she got through a tumultuous decade

A few weeks ago, Adwoa Aboah experienced what she describes as “a sombre moment”. “I was at my mum and dad’s, clearing out my childhood room,” she says, her voice a little shaky. “I was going through all these old Vogues I had kept, and I was like … ‘Why did I do that? What was I looking at … who was I looking at?’ Because no one in these magazines looks like me.” Despite signing with the giant modelling agency Storm at 16, Aboah’s self-esteem as a teenager and into her 20s was, she says, “so low. I was on this trajectory of really wanting to be someone else. I couldn’t count on my hands any models who looked like me who were killing it. Obviously there was Jourdan Dunn, and Naomi Campbell, but … ” she pauses, sighs. “I didn’t have the emotional intelligence, nor the language, to articulate why I wasn’t doing well, why I wasn’t in the places that I thought should have been an option for me. Why wasn’t I being supported by British publications? I was like: ‘Is it me? What’s wrong with me?’ Not in a kind of self-pitying way but … I just didn’t understand.”.

Now 29, Aboah is one of Britain’s most recognisable and successful models, as likely to be seen endorsing Dior or Burberry as H&M or Gap. She was named model of the year by the British Fashion Council in 2017 and, in the same year, memorably featured on the cover of Edward Enninful’s first issue of British Vogue, a vision of retro cool in a patterned headscarf and masses of blue eyeshadow. She’s also an activist, having founded the organisation Gurls Talk – which educates young women on topics including feminism, race, sex and body image – in 2015, and now she has her first regular acting role in the new series of Netflix’s Top Boy, one of the coolest shows on TV. It’s hard to believe that Aboah ever felt like a misfit and, worse still, thought that it was somehow her fault…

Read the entire interview here.

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Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda review – millennial vampire tale with bite

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-03-15 21:57Z by Steven

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda review – millennial vampire tale with bite

The Guardian
2022-03-14

Lucy Popescu

Claire Kohda: ‘excellent at conveying Lydia’s alienation and sense of powerlessness’. Photograph: Misha Gafarova

This debut novel is a surefooted, art-filled and wholly 21st-century take on bloodsucking

Claire Kohda’s debut is memorable for the refreshing perspective of her conflicted heroine: a vampire of mixed ethnicity and recent art graduate. Lydia struggles to accept the demon inside her and yearns to love, live and eat like a human. Her father, a successful Japanese artist, died before she was born. Lydia has committed her mother, a Malaysian-English vampire in declining health, to a home in Margate and accepted an internship with a contemporary London gallery known as the Otter.

Woman, Eating opens with Lydia renting an artist’s studio in a converted biscuit factory. She’s shown around by the kind and friendly Ben, to whom she is immediately attracted. At the gallery, Lydia is given banal jobs cleaning labels off bottles and adding velvet pads to coat hangers in preparation for the next opening. Largely ignored by the staff, Lydia receives the unwanted attention of the director – cold, predatory Gideon – who, she learns, had collected her father’s art. He stands in the shadows observing her, unaware that, as a vampire, Lydia can see him in the dark and the blood coursing through his veins. One day, passing on the stairs, he gropes her buttock. It’s an act he’ll later regret…

Read the entire review here.

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Lewis Hamilton to change name to include mother Carmen’s surname

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-03-14 21:16Z by Steven

Lewis Hamilton to change name to include mother Carmen’s surname

The Guardian
2022-03-14

Jamie Grierson, Reporter

Lewis Hamilton with his mother, Carmen Lockhart (formerly Larbalestier), after receiving his knighthood in December 2021. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/AFP/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton to change name to include mother Carmen’s surname

The British racing driver Lewis Hamilton is to change his name to incorporate his mother’s original surname – Larbalestier.

The seven-time world champion says he intends to incorporate his mother Carmen’s surname, Larbalestier, alongside Hamilton.

Hamilton’s father, Anthony, and his mother, Carmen, separated when Lewis was two; he lived with his mother until he was 12 before moving in with his father.

Speaking before the new Formula One season, which starts in Bahrain on Sunday, Hamilton, 37, said: “I am really proud of my family’s name. My mum’s name is Larbalestier and I am just about to put that in my name…

Read the entire article here.

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Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-02-17 02:24Z by Steven

Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists

The Guardian
2022-02-16

Mark Brown, North of England correspondent

Moses Roper, painted in 1839, was the first fugitive enslaved person to lecture in the cause of abolition in Britain and Ireland.

Historians argue Roper’s story could have helped end US slavery earlier but supporters turned on him

In his day, the 19th-century fugitive from slavery Moses Roper was a well-known public figure who toured Britain and Ireland telling gripped and shocked audiences about his horrific experiences in Florida.

Today he is largely overlooked but, two Newcastle University academics argue, the important story of this fascinating man represents a “lost opportunity” for the British abolition movement to have helped end slavery in the US earlier.

Bruce Baker, a reader in American history, said it was surprising how little attention had been paid to Roper, given he was a pioneer. “Historians haven’t really paid a lot of attention to Roper, even though he was the first fugitive slave to lecture in the cause of abolition in Britain and Ireland.”

Baker and his colleague Fionnghuala Sweeney, a reader in American and Black Atlantic Literatures, have now published a paper in an academic journal and are working on a full biography of Roper. They aim to rescue him from obscurity, painting a picture of a radical, driven man ruined by the British abolition movement that turned against him.

Roper fled enslavement in Florida in 1834 and, fearing for his safety, made his way to Britain, where he was supported by churchmen and abolitionists. They helped fund his education and in 1837 he published the first edition of his Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper from American Slavery

Read the entire article here.

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Too black for Brazil | Guardian Docs

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science on 2022-02-14 02:50Z by Steven

Too black for Brazil | Guardian Docs

The Guardian
2016-02-09

Nayara Justino thought her dreams had come true when she was selected as the Globeleza carnival queen in 2013 after a public vote on one of Brazil’s biggest TV shows. But some regarded her complexion to be too dark to be an acceptable queen. Nayara and her family wonder what this says about racial roles in modern Brazil.

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Maria Ewing, opera singer and ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 71

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:02Z by Steven

Maria Ewing, opera singer and ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 71

The Guardian
Associated Press

Maria Ewing and Sir Peter Hall in 1984. Photograph: Homer Sykes/Alamy

Ewing, also the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, died Sunday at her home in Detroit

Maria Ewing, a soprano and mezzo-soprano noted for intense performances who became the wife of director Sir Peter Hall and the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, has died at age 71.

Ewing died Sunday at her home in Detroit, spokeswoman Bryna Rifkin said Monday.

Born in Detroit to a Dutch mother and an African American father, Ewing was the youngest of four daughters.

“She was an extraordinarily gifted artist who by the sheer force of her talent and will catapulted herself to the most rarefied heights of the international opera world,” her family said in a statement…

Read the entire article here.

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