Last week, to make it easy for others to access the many useful resources out there, I started a @Spotify playlist of podcasts, writing, analysis and discussion that have helped me understand systemic racism, white supremacy and the experiences of black people, indigenous people and people of colour.
The first on the playlist is an interview with @renieddolodge about her book 'Why I am no longer talking to white people about race' which was featured on my book club @OurSharedShelf. The second is a reading of the "Histories" chapter of her book. I’ve narrated this one myself because it knocked the wind out of me when I first read it. It contained so much history I had never been taught in school. I hope another generation of children don't have to grow up without understanding the historical context for contemporary racism.
You can find my playlist Our Shared Podcast on Spotify and I hope you'll find the collection thought-provoking. The link to the playlist is in my bio.
Thank you so much to people who have shared recommendations for this list, and to everyone who has worked so hard over the past 10 days to get this up and running, especially @renieddolodge, @bloomsburypublishing, @Audible, @Spotify, @anchor.fm and my whole team.
Breonna Taylor was murdered back in MARCH. Her case came to light before George Floyd was murdered and was garnering some national attention. She is being mentioned less and less in the wake of Floyd’s murder. Although folks in Louisville, KY have been protesting in order to have her murderers arrested, they still remain free.
Tomorrow would have been her 27th Birthday. Join us in celebrating her by participating in one of the activities posted in the link in my bio.
In the current moment, many of you have asked for ideas on where to give money, time and other forms of support in solidarity, as reparation, in the hope of a more just and equal future. For the US, I found the #blacklivesmatter site to be a brilliant resource. In the UK, @gaylenegould has compiled an incredible list of black-led racial justice organisations doing year-round work: bit.ly/3dB2Lmd. At the intersection of race and gender justice, I’d also like to highlight the work of @imkaan @withandforgirls @fridafund @mamacashfund who I have been proud to support and collaborate with. Please use this space to share any recommendations you have too.
Image by @withandforgirls
Year-round, we can all do more to support black livelihoods and creativity. In the USA, @15percentpledge is calling on major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses. This initiative was started by @aurorajames. This year I’d love to work with my partners at @goodonyou_app to ensure a greater percentage of the sustainable brands they feature are founded or led by black people. Please do tag any beautiful black-helmed brands here so we can collectively support them. I love buying vintage as it’s such a sustainable way to shop and @cheshirevintage has compiled an amazing list of black-owned vintage shops.
In addition to reading, there are incredible documentaries that tackle the issue of racial justice. I’ve compiled a list below from
various resources ~ @buzzfeed @berthadochouse @digitalspy @marieclairemag @bazaaruk @voxdotcom and more. Please do share others in comments that you recommend ~ there’s so much power in sharing!
The Central Park Five
The Hard Stop
St. Louis Superman
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
Unarmed Black Male
I am Not Your Negro
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask
The Stuart Hall Project
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Two Towns of Jasper
Always in Season
Eyes on the Prize
Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Slavery by Another Name
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
Netflix Explained: The Racial Wealth
Black and Scottish
I am inspired by and very drawn to the work of @theastergates. “By incorporating a multifaceted practice that unites sculpture, installation, film, performance, improvisation, musical compositions and actions in urban space, Gates transforms such spaces into places of artistic and cultural intervention and into potential platforms for political and social change. In the interplay of sculpture and photography, Gates’ work creates a space that raises questions about Black history, identity, spirituality and representation, with the potential to specifically interfere with the reproduction of reality.” (From Theaster Gate’s website).
Munich’s @haus_der_kunst is offering a virtual tour through Theaster’s exhibit, Black Chapel, on their museum page.
Self-education is an essential part of any anti-racist journey, and reading has always been a huge part of my personal learning. In 2016 I started @oursharedshelf, a bookclub to create conversations around intersectionality, feminism and equal rights and to profile feminist writers. Many of the writers and books we featured over the years are relevant to anyone wanting to understand that the struggle for racial justice has been a long one, that ALL Black Lives Matter and women’s voices are a vital part of any movement for change. Alice Walker, Bell Hooks, Maya Angelou, Roxane Gay, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Angie Thomas, Audre Lorde, Brittney Cooper, and Toni Morrison are just some of the authors we featured and which I urge you to check out if you haven’t already.
More recently, I have also been working through the following books. I hope you’ll pick these up and read along with me. See my IG stories for other book lists and resources.
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society by Kalwant Bhopal
I’m Telling the Truth by Basset Ikpi
The Heart of the Race. Black Women’s Lives in Britain by Beverly Bryan, Stella Dadzie, and Suzanne Scafe, Lola Okolosie (foreword)
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla and others
Painting by artist @natalielaurensims
One thing we can all do to honour the struggle for racial justice in the US is to interrogate, understand and dismantle the racist structures of our own countries. The UK is the country I was brought up in, the country that I vote in and a country whose own history of systemic racism has shaped those elsewhere - American and British histories of racial oppression are very much intertwined. But it wasn’t until I became a student in an American university and was taught British history from an outsider’s perspective that I really started to understand the racial violence that scars British history. As a child I grew up with a school curriculum that totally glossed over British colonialism and British slavery. And any teaching around black civil rights movements were focussed on the American experience - as @renieddolodge points out in her book, Black History Month in the UK often ends up offering British children timelines of American activists. For me, understanding our past is a crucial part of understanding the injustices and inequalities of our present and remaking our future as a nation. Our school education system is key - the stories the national curriculum tells us about who we are, and the voices it centres, create a blueprint for how we interpret and interact with the world around us. As an adult, I’ve benefited from the work of people like @renieddolodge, David Olusoga, @johnymodern, @afuahirsch @akalamusic, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall and many others to help me understand my country’s history. But this learning needs to start much, much earlier if we are to dismantle deep-rooted systems of oppression and injustice. Thank you to all the historians, teachers, activists and students who are paving the way for a truly anti-racist education system.
First image by @rmraffinity, The True Crown. This image is part of I Am Sugar (2018), a series of photographs that respond to Stuart Hall’s 1991 essay, Old and New Ethnicities, in which Hall writes, “I am the sugar in the bottom of the English cup of tea.” The work appeared as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now, @somersethouse in 2018.
Swipe for a guide brilliantly put together by @theblackcurriculum