It’s 2017 and My People are Still Slaves.

Also Available at Onsite Magazine @onsite_magazine

You’ve seen it. Or if you haven’t, please consider yourself lucky to have not glanced your eyes upon the shackled, mangled, burned, imprisoned, tortured, raped, brutalised and otherwise dehumanised bodies of black people in the sands of Libya. The sight is sickening. What is more sickening is that upon all the progress and social advancement of our times, a generation where trigger warnings and accessibility-friendly applause exist to create safe spaces for the vulnerable amongst us, is also the generation where the trade and sale of humans of darker pigmentation is once more permitted. What is more sickening is that all it took for the resurrection of history’s greatest tragedy was a mixture of incompetent western intervention and unimaginable depths of anti-blackness from fellow Africans.

In a homophobic world, many LBGT people internalise homophobia. In a sexist world, many women internalise sexism. In a racist world, people of colour internalise white supremacy and discrimination against their own. For all Colonel Gaddafi’s desire for a singular African state, a “United States of Africa” with one military, one currency and one president, it seems many of his kinsmen disagree. The mercenaries and militias who have enslaved refugees and sexually exploited vulnerable women, girls and children don’t see black people as their own; rather than solidarity with other victims of neo-colonialism and other impoverished African states, they feel contempt and greed. And such they profit from the pain and suffering of my people.

171114114556-03-libya-migrant-detention-file-exlarge-169

While deeply distressing for an audience unused to such graphic, striking imagery of almost casualised black pain. Slavery never ended. It just moved around, far from the islands of the Caribbean and the plantations of the American South (though much can be said about how the American prison system treats and coerces people of colour), modern slavery is much much closer to the shores of Europe. The enslavement of Black Africans by lighter-skinned Arabs or Berber communities in Mauritania was only officially criminalised and slaveholders actually liable for prosecution in 2007 following international pressure. The actual presence of slavery was unaffected however, with slaves generally illiterate and unable to escape masters that they are financially dependent and religiously bound to serve. This is atrocious and each of those estimated 600,000 or 17% of the population, according to SOS Slavery, is one black body forgotten by the West and those of us privileged enough to live in the diaspora.

While British headlines fret and fight over the place of a mixed princess, there are 40.3 million people living in slavery right now across the world. This isn’t just grown men tied up and shackled into hard labour. This is the 15.4 million young women and girls trapped in forced marriages in Africa and Asia. This is the 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation facing the most grievous patriarchal violence imaginable. And yes, this is also the 24.9 million people forced by either coercion, mental or physical manipulation and commodification of human beings to labour their lives away.

Disgust is a powerful feeling. Combined with anger, it is a destructive force capable of so much change and so much violence. And it is rightly so that anger and disgust that we feel at the resurrection of slavery before our very eyes and imprinted on our social media, should not be wasted on just petitions. We need more action.

Brick-Worker-india-banner

This isn’t to say that the use of petitions has not been beautiful and inspiring. In my own state of rage, scrolling and posting furiously about the issue to my limited social media reach, it was greatly encouraging to see artists Giggs, Kano, Kali Uchis, Cardi B, Maya Jama and way way more commenting, spreading petitions and shedding very needed light on the issues discussed, and showing that people of colour can show solidarity with each other when its needed. A petition to parliament on the issue rocketed from 8000 when I signed it a few days ago to 232,000 and counting as I write this. That’s brilliant but its only the first step.

It’s more important that we lay the blame and focus our rage at the two facilitators of modern slavery. African and Asian governments unable, or unwilling to care for their people that feel so disillusioned that they risk their lives and freedom fleeing to places like Libya in hopes of reaching ‘Fortress Europe’. And Western governments that invade and ravage these same countries for their own benefit with no concern as to the consequences. What did NATO expect from toppling Libya’s dictator and replacing his cruel but stable regime….with nothing? Peace? Equality? Democracy? Well there is none and David Cameron, Barack Obama and Francois Hollande who spearheaded this stupid and greedy decision to secure Libya’s oil should be accountable for the bloodshed and slavery in Libya’s sands. On the other hand, governments like Eritrea, Nigeria and Congo where many migrants originate must take decisive action to end constant corruption and inequality. Rwanda is not the richest country in Africa but they offered to rescue 30,000.

What was the point of freeing ourselves from colonialism if our people are still slaves? What is the point of privilege is you don’t use it to help those without?

Please Sign – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/205476

 

Advertisements

The Door is Unlocked; Will Zimbabweans Open the Door?

Also available – BATH TIME ISSUE 3

The population of Zimbabwe is very young. The median age is 20.6 years old and 59% of the population is under 25 years old. Their youth means that they have never witnessed the rule of one other than Robert Mugabe, the former President and dictator of Zimbabwe who relinquished power following both a military intervention and popular resistance.

Mugabe was a major figure in the African liberation struggle of the 70s/80s, taking power in 1980 and ruled continuously until the 21th November 2017, exercising power arbitrarily and incompetently for much of this time, while utilising revolutionary rhetoric and political adeptness to undermine opposition.

Image result for zimbabwe protests

With his exit, Zimbabwe has reached a milestone in their history. For the first time, since the 80s popular revolt against colonialism, the people, who came out in their thousands to protest for his resignation, have taken some control of their destiny, removing Mugabe and allowing his rival and former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa to capture power on a platform of dismantling many of the worst characteristics of Mugabe’s rule.

Corruption, economic mismanagement and deep authoritarianism are the stated goals of the new President but whether these are false promises to placate an expectant and politically energised populace remains to be seen. Mnangagwa, though much of the international community presumes he will choose a cabinet of ‘technocrats’ to orient the country towards normalcy and pragmatic steps towards its own economic and social recovery, is a man who stood by Mugabe for 52 years, and is dubbed the ‘crocodile’ or ‘Ngwena’ the Shona translation, for his shrewdness and mercilessness as a onetime spymaster in a country accused of systematic human rights abuses. Much has been stated about how the coup and new regime is in many ways a simple shift in power, from one faction of ZANU-PF to another, with little in the way of genuine democratic reforms.

With free and fair elections promised for next year, some Zimbabwean elders are apprehensive – with families scattered across the globe, refugees from authoritarianism at home, one woman stated ‘we had lost the meaning of family, with this maybe we can learn it again.’ There is hope for a brighter future, but it will not last indefinitely.

Co-written with Tanyaradzwa

 

 

 

 

We all say dumb shit sometimes. But should it define us?

I have said a lot of offensive things as a young man. I have said many regrettable things whether it is the heat of youthful rage or the stupidity of childish banter. It is with the deepest disgust that I admit to homophobic and often sexist remarks in my schooldays. This, however, is not uncommon. No matter how much your favourite Tweeter would like to do ‘woke’ for the timeline, s/he has probably stumbled into a micro-aggression at some point in their life. Of course, this is still damaging to the marginalised and oppressed, but there is no shame in this; before one can embrace maturity, tolerance, and respect for people of all genders, races and backgrounds, one must first embrace that you don’t know everything and that there is always a learning curve. A curve which differs in steepness for some and not others, highly dependent on your environment and character.

Stormzy is an example of a talented successful young black man who upon scrutiny by the media has been discovered to have uttered reprehensible, homophobic language in the past. His use of the word ‘fa**ot’ on twitter and calling a little boy a ‘f***ing f*g’ falls sadly into the same category of a lot of iconic stars who have fallen from public favour. And yet, the discovery of Stormzy’s past transgressions does not feel the same as the grotesque actions of Kevin Spacey, a similar star but of television and film, not so much Grime. It appears so much more genuine when Stormzy stated in his apology that he had held “very hurtful and discriminative views that I’ve unlearned as I have grown up and become a man,” than Spacey’s half-apologies for alleged sexual assault, excusing himself with his homosexuality from blame.

Just as with all spheres of life, privilege is a central and important part in the process of how we should judge the actions of our stars. Obviously, there are actions that are unquestionably wrong but upon the Stormzy issue what irked me most was the unwillingness of a fiercely critical media to consider context.

Homophobia has not always been so sharply and immediately criticised. It is only 10 years ago, less even, that statements like ‘that’s gay’ were commonplace. Back in the days of my early teens (fairly recent being honest) it was ‘gay’ to do everything from dance, sing, care about anything other than football and Call of Duty…. it was even considered ‘gay’ to write a girl a poem. Trust me. The stupidity of this rhetoric is probably not lost on anyone now and I personally cringe at the thought processes of myself and others at the time but, as is universally acknowledged, children say the cruellest things. This should not mean that one’s mindset or behaviour as a young person should therefore stain them for the entirety of their lives.

 Once more, this is not an excuse, this is context. It is important to evaluate intention alongside impact, and to recognise that ladder that some of us, myself included, had to university and lectures/protests on post-colonial theory and the spiciest anti-capitalist memes isn’t available for everyone. And that the hate prevalent in many of our communities, is something which it is hard to “unlearn” and eventually, transcend.

Wokeness and tolerance is not automatic but rather influenced by the experience and education. This is inherently linked to the role of class, race or gender in this process. Let us be honest, young black, brown and even white kids growing up in ends aren’t as likely as Alistair whose father lived in India for 9 years and whose mother is a feminist academic, to be able to navigate the systems of oppression which define everyday life. Those individuals who have lived their life doing road and particularly men from the black community, exist in such hyper-masculine circles that they are conditioned towards gross homophobia, misogyny and colourism.

Actions, often speak louder than words. But words matter a lot too. Ignorance spoken into existence from the very sections, or people, where one would have expected to receive solidarity is often as hurtful, if not more so, than that of the racist frothing Ukippers who still despite all odds, manage to wander about. In our time of such analysis and deconstruction of white supremacy, I was surprised by the usually progressive, Russell Howard’s unwanted commentary on the issue of racism in the workplace. In particular, I was very surprised by this white man’s opinion that the idea of white people needing a ‘booklet’ to navigate discussion with ethnic minorities was ‘insane.’ His outrage reading the statement that “If you missed the opportunity in primary school to touch a black girl’s hair, it’s a bit too late now”, I have a feeling probably means he’s been feeling up every dread, twist, curl and ‘fro that comes his way.

 What distinguishes Stormzy’s ignorance of youth and toxic masculinity influenced by black working class culture, is that Howard’s ignorance arises from privilege and a rather hateful, intentional mockery of efforts of people of colour to literally educate on using language positively.

Harmful and offensive behaviour is often conditioned into our ways of thinking, often taught by religion, culture, society and our friends and family. It is hard to unlearn and harder to transcend but this is something we are obligated to do in the process of becoming decent adults. I’ve said really stupid stuff in the past and sometimes even now, it is likely you have too. So let’s continue calling it out remembering the whole time that nobody is born “woke”.

Jhene Aiko ‘Trip’ is Sweet as Sugar

http://lonelystar.co.uk/reviews/jhene-aikos-trip-sweet-sugar/

Describe Jhene Aiko in 3 words? Eclectic. Experimental. Exceptional.

Her new album, “Trip” dropped in September and proves her versatility as an artist and as a uniquely styled RnB singer who cannot be ignored. Since her earliest albums ‘Sail Out’ which dropped in 2013 and ‘Souled Out’ which came out in 2014, Aiko has been redefining modern RnB with funk, jazzy and cool atypical musical influences. Aiko follows this pattern with Trip, her latest album and also her first solo album in 3 years, with 22 songs clocking at 1 hour and 30 minutes in length and also involving several veteran features such as; Swae Lee of ‘Unforgettable’ fame, Big Sean, the classic Brandy and even her own daughter Namiko who is extra cute on Sing To Me.

In the same way that a ‘trip’ on drugs can be a soul-searching, mind-bending experience, Jhene Aiko’s ‘Trip’ is a cathartic journey through love, hate, despair and ultimately, Joy. Many themes are present in this body of work, with concepts such as motherhood, justice and morality lurking beneath the surface of the album.

jheneaiko_trip_cover_digital_finalclean

Though a formidable challenge to a packed field of blossoming and established RnB artists such as Kali Uchis, The Internet, Daniel Caesar, Sza and Frank Ocean, my criticism of the album would be that the length was unnecessarily long and many of the mixtapes whilst adding character and personality to the album as a deeply personal release, were unimaginative and not pleasing to the ear. Jhene Aiko is a talented vocalist who has the ability to vibe on tracks ranging from ‘Maniac’, to her classic ‘The Worst’ and even her obscure masterpieces, e.g Growing Apart (To Get Closer) with Kendrick Lamar; that is why I was disappointed that Aiko seemingly prioritised quantity over quality with only a few stand-out tracks like Frequency, While We’re Young, Sing to Me, Ascension and Never Call Me.

“Yes your mama did, she raised a fool” Never Call Me was unapologetic and uncensored in tone, with the syrupy sweet vocals that Aiko delivers easily, atop an upbeat tune with interjections of electric vibes throughout. Aiko remarks upon her very public break-up with ex-husband, producer Dot The Genius and states “you should have called me…” Keeping it simple.

jhene aiko

Frequency was produced by Mali Music, who Aiko has described as “anointed”. This was a mesmerising track with hymn-like vocals, with a slow beat and simple repetition. This is no traditional song structure but it doesn’t need one. Creating instant classics is a talent that is “never far” for Aiko.

This album was a powerful project that proved that Jhene Aiko owns her lane and is probably coming for yours too. Managing to be intimate, sweet and genuine whilst also showing a new meaning to love. I do feel that this brilliant project was diluted by quantity and a blurring effect of similar vocals/production, but from the few stand-out tracks on the album, it is clear that there can be no critique of her vocal talent. Trip was the album that 2017 needed.

http://lonelystar.co.uk/reviews/jhene-aikos-trip-sweet-sugar/

 

Black Americans are Taking A Knee. Black Britons should do the Same

Black Americans are Taking a Knee. Black Britons should do the Same

Colin Kaepernick is a hero. Not only because he decided to raise awareness as to the systematic murder and brutality that black people face from the racist American state; but because he placed his own unflinching convictions before the potential enormous profits and social capital he could gain as a National Football League star. From afar, across the ocean, it is oh so easy to admire the heroism while complicit, ourselves, in systems of oppression.

#TakeAKnee is so powerful because it reignites the power of political celebrity once harnessed by Muhammad Ali and other civil rights/black power legends. That Kaepernick’s kneeling, the most respectful and elegant form of protest one could say, is perceived as an attack on the military, democracy/capitalism, and America itself, must lead to the simple conclusion that racism is also perceived as inherent to America. And that one cannot protest one, without simultaneously attacking the other. No, that is not specific to the States, it was in Britain where Munroe Bergdorf, a black transgender lady critiqued white supremacy and was promptly dropped by her “diversity” championing beauty company. And it is Britain, where student activists of colour are routinely dragged by the press for their work.

colin k

It is not only America where black men and women are being murdered, brutalised, imprisoned, and marginalised. Being black in Britain means we exist at the heart of an empire which once grasped most of the globe under its domination and exploitation; it means we are supposed to forgive and forget the culture and wealth that was stolen from our countries to make Buckingham Palace so grandiose. And when we try to forgive and forget that 3 million enslaved black bodies passed through the port of Southampton creating modern industrial capitalism, we might still be fired upon by police who see the same black skin and judge us criminal without any actions nor words to prove their prejudice. Cheer up though, slavery was so long ago and besides Britain abolished it first. Right?…. And when your Afro-textured hair begins to bristle and your melanin-infused body rises to protest the injustice that killed Rashan Charles or Costa or Duggan… Wait.

Relax. At least ‘we’re not as bad as the Americans’ is how White Britain consoles you.

Often, as black people, our political or social perspectives must be watered down or even denied due to the risk of criticism and punishment by a predominantly white and socially conservative press and establishment. These manifest in the nervous chuckle in response to a racist joke or the awkward silence when your white friend says they didn’t think “racism was still a thing”, or the tacit acceptance for Black Americans that when you enter the public eye, you must stand and sing along to a national anthem of which the second verse openly states “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” That the second verse is simply omitted reflects the conversation around race in both the USA and the UK. Why discuss a legacy of horrifying cruelty when it is much easier to talk about Kelly Gender’s latest pregnancy? Especially when all the kerfuffle could be solved with a Pepsi and some lovely Obama tweets. Let no one mention that white privilege is a factual reality that we have known forever, and that the marginalisation of black people in education, the justice system and in the workplace is literally an everyday reality. Forget that we are told, our indignation is actually just “excuses” and we should just “work harder”.

Cassius Marcellus Clay (Muhammad Ali) with Black Muslim lead

But, they’re right. We should work harder. We must redouble our efforts in deconstructing patriarchal, capitalist, white supremacist Great Britain so that all can find equality and justice served. And we must look upon the symbols of imperialism and injustice that we are expected to idly coexist with and destroy them.

Poppies symbolise the blood shed by British soldiers. Now one can respect the self-sacrifice of the young men and women who give their lives for their country. But I can never respect the rape, murder, genocide and theft that colonies suffered under the boot of British soldiers. Much less commemorate the blood of the oppressors. Boycott them.

Winston Churchill was an avowed white supremacist who advocated the gassing of native American villages and presided over famine in India which he justified because they “breed like rabbits”. In the same way, that Hitler made the trains run on time but is an irredeemably hideous figure of history, we should never love a figure who hated us.

The Queen is literally the symbol with which, white supremacy and conquest ventured around the globe crushing and destroying all who tried to resist. That she cares so little for black people and people of colour generally, that she continues to wear her stolen jewels is reason enough she should be abolished.

The British Museum is a grand collection of stolen wealth, cultural artefacts, and prized national icons. Benin City, capital of the West African Benin Empire was a masterpiece of the world, with earthworks and structures more advanced than the Great Wall of China and a mathematical layout incomparable with British cities at the time. Britain blew up and looted the city in 1897. Now, the only recollection of such African technique and skill lies in the British Museum. Return the treasures Theresa May, return the racism, and white supremacist structures that pervade our country to the mud from where it came.

And let us, never return to the time where conversations about race were taboo, because the only future where there is equality and harmony requires daily, unfailing activism.

KOJEY RADICAL IS THE POET FOR OUR TIMES

Fully available at http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/kojey-radical-is-the-poet-for-our-times/

The UK music scene is so many different things but nothing of the style that Kojey Radical created by dropping In Gods Body.

The album is a 13-piece composition of a new body of work clocking at just 46 minutes, making for a succinct project. Radical continues to play within the intersection of spoken word, grime, jazz, funk and auto-tune as he has since previous album 23Winters. But ‘In God’s Body’ is different, not only does it show that this 24-year-old Hackney, East London native has matured in his skills, it shows experimentation and innovation, it’s London through and through, distinctly human and yet political.

The album title begins a conversation about the innate divinity in each man and woman. Rather than God existing as some celestial being, is it that everyone who raises his or her voice is a deity of their own? Kojey Radical is unapologetically black and his convictions tear through the noise of mainstream UK sound. Being a black man in Britain, the heart of a once global empire and in which, conversations about blackness are often derailed by ‘at least we’re not as bad as the Americans’ is a challenging position but Radical revels in rebellion declaring “all I want is 40 acres, a mule and my respect” on After Winter, referencing the reparations owed to the freed slaves. These reparations never materialised and as such Radical, in his After Winter video, takes up arms. He manages to combine very ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’ aesthetics of black militancy and mischief with a soundtrack of revolution of “taking it all back for the ends.”

Radical is not always sounding the revolutionary battle cry, he shows versatility by switching up the vibe on Nostrand Avenue. The song remarks humorously of his travels in New York in which Nostrand Avenue is actually a major street, and an encounter with some apparently very interested ladies who liked his music, particularly “the chorus, the song didn’t have one.” An attribute I rate really highly in artists is the willingness to innovate. Just as Stormzy’s album Gang Signs and Prayer was widely lauded for its own brilliant combination of gospel with grime. Radical manages to prove that far from being limited to the fierce lyricism he does so well, he’s also able to keep it chill and rap on a calm jazzy beat about girls trying to finesse. ‘Calm and collected, we all have to eat, I respect it.’ Clearly, he doesn’t mind……

Fully available at http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/kojey-radical-is-the-poet-for-our-times/

FROM BLONDE TO BLONDIE, FRANK OCEAN’S NEW SONG ‘PROVIDER’ IS AS WAVY AS EVER

Available at Lonelystar.co.uk – http://lonelystar.co.uk/reviews/blonde-blondie-frank-oceans-new-provider-wavy-ever/

It actually wasn’t that long ago when social media was buried in memes and jokes about Frank Ocean. I for one was, ready to wait until my old age for a follow-up album to the impressive Channel Orange. I mean the complete radio silence aside from cryptic hints and the excruciatingly short ‘Franks Track’ on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, made Frank fans, myself included, very agitated. That’s now a distant memory, the two masterpiece albums Blonde, Endless and songs and features ranging from Lens, Chanel, Biking and collabs with the Asap Mob, Tyler the Creator and Calvin Harris to his very own Apple Music Segment Blonded Radio have proved that. Provider is just the newest release and it maintains the clever wordplay, interwoven talk-singing voice and tactical autotune that Ocean does so well.

The music video for Provider, which dropped simultaneously with the song on Ocean’s website, was a surreal, uncanny experience that showed Frank Ocean’s unique ability to meld a childish sense of humour with abstract concepts to create tongue-in-cheek art. The video displayed the visual artist Tom Sachs in his workshop obtaining an old-school boombox and curiously making a few modifications, one of which was the additions of a machete of all things and the attaching of enormous speakers. The DIY effect had an Endless feel, the visual album that Ocean released, and was topped off to comical effect with a Hello Kitty avatar bouncing across the lyrics displayed on the bottom of the screen.

frank

Provider isn’t a regular Frank Ocean track, while incorporating elements of familiar musical territory I found there was yet some aspects of innovation and progress as an artist. One point of difference with usual, if that term can ever be applied to Ocean’s music, was the use of the trap beat in background for some of its duration gave it an interesting vibe alongside the soft slow repetitive chorus of ‘feelings you provide, feelings you provide I know it, I know it, the feelings…’ Also, the track uses a lot of pitch-correction to create a new distinctly inhuman sound. If I’m honest, much in the way that Lens, his previous release, had many features going on at the same time, I do think it does spoil a bit of Frank’s appeal as his raw vocals are extraordinary……..

Full Article Available at Lonelystar.co.uk – http://lonelystar.co.uk/reviews/blonde-blondie-frank-oceans-new-provider-wavy-ever/

 

XXXTENTACION’S ‘17’ IS A DECLARATION OF WAR ON CONFORMITY

*Full Piece Available at SpiceUKOnline* – http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/xxxtentacions-17-is-a-declaration-of-war-on-conformity/

XXXTentacion is a multi-faceted artist. All at once, he manages to be a provocateur yet also a talented maverick, a profound poet whilst brash and brutish; X is a 19-year-old troubled soul but he is also an unexpected beacon of light. Controversy sticks to him like glue and in all honesty, he courts the infamy. Yet 17 is different, it is not the same mischievous fun as that which inhabits his hit ‘Look at Me’ that guides this album. No, 17 according to ‘The Explanation’, the album intro, is designed to “cure or at least, numb your depression.”

This 11-track composition is an entirely new creation of X’s and touches on various elements of vulnerability, anger, depression and unlikely as it may seem, hope. And it is that which distinguishes 17 as an album and by extension, XXXTentacion from the SoundCloud generation of rappers he emerged from.  His authenticity is unquestioned.

From his abundance of Soundcloud tracks to his EP Revenge and now 17, X uses experimentation to highlight his uniqueness as an artist. The album length is far from the norm, only 21 minutes long in total. The harsher stereotypical trap beats of his contemporaries, Kodak Black, Lil Pump, Playboi Carti and Ski Mask The Slump God are present on one song. But even so, F**k Love (Feat.Trippie Redd) is far from the usual capitalistic adoration of money or having sex with various women or even drugs, none of said staples of trap music even appear on the track. Instead, this is a love song of sorts with an alternative rock tone, ‘Please bae, don’t go switchin’ sides, switchin’ sides’ is Trippie Redd’s contribution with X following with “Lost it, riots, Gunfire inside my head.”

With the whirlwind of a rough bringing and now allegations against XXXTentacion of domestic abuse, violence, and robbery, though all would vehemently condemn this behaviour, this song does provide some insight into the trauma such an experience creates.

The album cover is much like the music within, a clutter of various sheets of paper defined with a black and bold scrawl of writing. Symbolising the whole aura of the project is the quote ‘There is no end to the pain. You must be numb,’ capitalised while polaroids of X trapped in his own embrace adorn the cover. There exists a lonely respite from the melancholy, ‘You are not alone’ written in the corner…..

*Full Piece Available at SpiceUKOnline* – http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/xxxtentacions-17-is-a-declaration-of-war-on-conformity/

Daniel Caesar is Redefining Love for Our Generation

 

A snippet of my music review for Spice Uk Online – http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/daniel-caesar-is-redefining-love-for-our-generation/

Will humankind ever find the meaning of love?

That’s a difficult question but listening to ‘Freudian’, Daniel Caesar’s spectacular debut album must be a part of the answer. Freudian is a beautiful insight into our deepest, most fundamental feelings and is the latest project of the rather active Caesar. Fusing together tracks such as: Get You (feat Kali Uchis), Blessed and We Find Love that were released earlier in year to much acclaim as well as an entirely new body of work cement this 22-year-old Toronto native as a vibrant voice of new-school alternative RNB. 2017 has seen an explosion of alternative RNB, soul, funk and jazz, and what Caesar has done is much like his namesake, conquer the field for himself.

It’s hard to believe that he hasn’t seen his fair share of romance and heartbreak for his lyrics strike a chord far too loud to be just be a vapid commercial try. I just don’t hear that hunger for fame and fortune in Caesar’s voice, rather his smooth tones and beautiful crooning are an authentic insight with one’s innermost thoughts on love, religion, and the mind. There has been much growth from his previous EP Pilgrim’s Paradise and a new direction contrasted with the religious tone previously explored.

freudian

Encompassing romance, lust, break-ups and fights, sex and eroticism, flirtation and sorrow, could it be that the various elements of love are what Daniel Caesar is portraying? The album redefines love for a new generation, and much like the album cover art which displays Caesar climbing uphill a steep, metallic structure, highlights the difficulties in finding that wholesomeness you can only achieve in someone else in crazy 2017.

The album starts in familiar territory with the earlier released track, Get You (feat. Kali Uchis). This collaboration combines the talents of the eccentric beauty and tone of Kali Uchis with Caesar’s idiosyncratic soulful yet almost country-esque voice and in this song, his full-throated desire for his imaginary lover. The chorus lyrics of ‘Who might have thought I’d get you?’ were especially touching for me. When you are victorious in your battle to secure the girl (or guy) you want, the feeling is inimitable, and in Caesar’s words we hear that happiness over what he has accomplished. A touch of reality sobers the ecstasy of the song as Uchis slides in and states ‘before it winds down into the memories, it’s all just memories…’. Does love ever truly last? Or is the real beauty in that single, fleeting moment of unparalleled joy?

The rest is only available on Spice UK Online – http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/daniel-caesar-is-redefining-love-for-our-generation/

Is the Death Penalty only for Black People? The Myth of Black Guilt

rash

Whenever I attempt to exit a store, I carry the receipt from my purchase. I fear that simply my blackness will mean that security guard that eyes me up and down will ensure that I am searched. This is a routine occurrence for both myself and the innumerable black males and females in my situation. In 21st century Britain I fear the death penalty. Though it is not present in any legal framework, in any law or in any conversation of our politicians, the death penalty exists whenever a policeman deems himself judge, jury and executioner of black lives. No police officer has been prosecuted for deaths in police custody since 1969, likewise the Crown Prosecution Office is an infrequent ally of people of colour where the unlawful killing by a police officer is in question. Both factors are derived from the concept of black guilt, a twisted and racist logic that white Britain remains unable to cast aside, casting our voices to the wind and many young men and women to prison or a coffin.

The presumption of black guilt is the inability to emphasise or understand the position of a person of colour, particularly a black person; it is the immediate rationalisation that whatsoever the context, the POC is to blame or in some way at fault. Black guilt is intersectional, it appears in an array of social, economic, and gendered contexts. It is the hyper-sexualisation of black women’s bodies, seen as a lustful, raunchy beings with little in the way of intelligence or self-control, our society makes it easy to objectify and blame these women for sexual assault. It is the poisonous logic that black poverty is somehow tied to the very character and morals of black people as a community, and that we are lazy, uneducated, lacking in aspiration, violent and ‘thuggish’. Or that drug usage and the notorious ‘black on black’ crime is someway endemic to blackness. The reality is that years of socio-economic marginalisation in employment, housing, low-wages even within employment, barriers in education and health, combined with the political oppression of institutional racism has created hideous inequality in Britain.

The most obviously hideous face of racism and the black guilt fallacy is within the context of policing and criminal justice in the UK. In a system where blackness is deemed to be synonymous with criminality and inherent violence, even in situations where evidence is not available immediately like the controversy after Rashan Charles, Edson da Costa in Britain or the giant number of police shootings and custody deaths in the U.S with Tamir Race, Mike Brown and Sandra Bland as notable injustices, the common refrain from white liberals and racists alike is always ‘wait for the evidence’, ‘he deserved what he got’, ‘to be expected’, ‘just don’t resist arrest’, ‘simply obey the law and nothing will happen to you’ amidst the usual racist drudge. The dead are blamed for their deaths. Never questioned is they who murdered with impunity, no, their actions are infallible it would seem.

It doesn’t matter how innocent you are or whether you even swallowed the drugs that provided the rationale to brutally choke you to death, that bystander was always going to presume you criminal and defend the attacker. That one should be murdered even if they are is another question that should be answered, drugs are, at the end of the day, a non-violent crime. If one was a drug consumer or dealer, does this warrant death? For in the UK I live in, rapists, paedophiles, corrupt government ministers and war criminals either spend their lives in prison or enjoy liberty. For nothing more than his skin colour, Rashan does not have that option.

No matter how much I use Twitter, I will never understand how ignorant one must be to take pleasure in the death of young black souls. Only an agenda of white supremacy benefits from our powerlessness.

And only persistent, political and powerful resistance can change that.

#blacklivesmatter