My mum is a primary school teacher and one day she was teaching her class of 7 year olds about Rosa Parks. She picked 10 random kids and allowed all the ones she’d picked with brown hair to sit down on a seat, all the kids she’d picked with blonde hair she made sit on the floor. The children couldn’t understand why they were being separated. My mum explained that it was purely because they had different colour hair, not because they are cleverer or are better at football or painting, just purely on what they looked like, their physical appearance. The kids couldn’t understand, they didn’t get why you would separate people because of what they look like. When my mum went on to talk about Rosa Parks and what happened to her the children were shocked! They couldn’t understand how we used to live in a world where this behaviour was accepted. Children are not born racist. I was only just born when Stephen Lawerence was killed, I don’t remember it at all. I’ve spent time reading about it and looking in to exactly what happened as I was going to name a previous EP after Stephen. It was really upsetting to read about and so local to me, I could go to where Stephen was killed this afternoon and be home again within an hour. This was a racist attack that happened in my life time not too far from where I live. That really hit home for me. People are disgusted by what happened to Stephen and rightly so, I hoped we’d have learnt from it. Take what happened to Stephen and never ever let it happen again. But its 2020 and George Floyd, an unarmed black man, has just been killed by a police man. Why is this still happening in 2020? Why? I like to think I have always been extremely vocal about being anti police brutality, anti racism and pro equal rights. My first 3 EP’s I released are called; ‘Who Killed Smiley Culture?’, ‘Who Framed Winston Silcott?’ and ‘Who Stands with Latasha Harlins?’ It was important for me to name each EP after those three people. I hoped that the people who would be buying my music would look in to who those 3 people were and learn from the horrendous things that happed to them. Latasha Harlins’ auntie reached out and thanked me, as did Merlin Emmanuel, who is Smiley Culture’s nephew. There were a lot of tears. Justice for Smiley, Winston and Latasha, always. I also dedicated Combat Frock to James Baldwin. If you don’t know who he is LOOK HIM UP NOW! I bought his film ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ it is eye opening to say the least. I read the book THE HATE YOU GIVE and I urge you to read it too. Tupac took me to that book, it’s also a film. The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody… THUG LIFE. I also bought the Dave album. After I heard Dave’s lyrics I rewrote two songs for my next album, he is inspiring and important and in my opinion his lyrics should be discussed in schools. They are so relevant. His performance at The BRIT awards was outstanding.
Reading about what happened to George Floyd this week broke my heart. It is beyond horrendous. I chose not to go to the protests in London this week as the Coronavirus is still such big killer here in the UK. It was a difficult decision and at any other time I would have gone. That doesn’t mean I’m sitting back, it just means I’ll use other ways (like this) to fight for justice and show my solidarity. I went on tour with The Selecter and Rhoda Dakar at the end of last year and we spoke a lot about the racism and sexism they had all both faced through out their careers. Rhoda told me how people would do the Hitler Salute at her whilst she toured with The Specials. I can’t begin to imagine how horrific and frightening that must have been. It’s disgusting. It can feel an intimidating subject to talk about racism if you are white or are lucky enough not to have suffered yourself, but now is the time to be vocal, stand up for what is right and educate yourself and others. Stephen Lawrence wasn’t that long ago, neither was Rodney King, Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara was only last month… it is happening in both England and America, all over the world, it is ignorant to think it is not. Just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean you should allow bad things to happen to other people. Ever! I am anti racist, anti facist, anti sexist, anti police brutality, anti ageist and anti violence. I am pro education and pro equality. I stand by the LGBTQ community and I will always support the unions and the rights of the workers and the people. Now is the time for change. Educate yourselves. We can not let this continue Rip George Floyd.