Black Britons Breaking Race Barriers

The light from a few can inspire many

By Thomas L Blair, 30 June 2021, copyright

It’s time for a welcome tonic as Black Britons grapple with current tensions around systemic racism. This article highlights the people and projects facing tough issues that deserve attention.

Black children’s book
Stormzy launches ‘Superheroes’ children’s book

Rapper Stormzy’s Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength is the first children’s book celebrating 50 iconic British figures from underrepresented communities.

Illustrated in comic book style, it spotlights athlete Dina Asher-Smith, comedian Mo Gilligan, writer Candice Carty-Williams, Great British Bake Off star Liam Charles and model Jourdan Dunn.

Others include scientist Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, writer-director Reggie Yates and former footballer Ian Wright. Many more come from across the fields of art, activism, sport, film, TV, music, science, food, fashion and literature, with an introduction by Stormzy himself.

Superheroes aims to inspire, encourage and empower children. Author and poet Sophia Thakur says: “If from a young age, we only really meet Blackness from a position of weakness, stereotypes and racist media … as children, we don’t get an opportunity to develop a healthy and confident outlook on what it means to be Black”.

Superheroes plants the seed of Black excellence into our young minds who will hopefully bloom into their very own superheroes. “Confident and powerful”, she says. (https://bit.ly/3qwlIxA)

Black pride
Dawn Butler MP dedicates her Blue Plaque to her father

“I’m honoured to have been dedicated with a Blue Plaque in my hometown London where I grew up. Nominated by residents as a local hero, I have placed the plaque at my father’s bakery, Ms Butler said. [Dawn worked at her Jamaican father’s bakery when she was younger baking bread and cakes and serving in the shop.]  The fact there will be a blue plaque there in perpetuity, which honours his hard work, makes me proud”. (Dawn Butler MP @DawnButlerBrent)

Black literature
Zadie Smith’s mother writes first novel

It’s not often that a mother follows her children into a family business but, with the publication of her debut novel, that is what Yvonne Bailey-Smith has done. Her daughter, Zadie, and sons Ben and Luc are all successful writers.

Her own novel The Day I Fell Off My Island is the story of a young girl aged 14 who travelled to England to be reunited with her mother and younger siblings.

Reviewer Margaret Busby says ‘Juggling laughter and tears with every page, this remarkable journey of discovery tells of one young woman’s captivating search for self in a new and challenging environment.’ (Published by Myriad Editions).

Black  farmers and environmental campaigners
New Training Black Farmers Food project

The project links Black and Ethnic communities with local food growing opportunities and organisations. It aims to work in sites across England including Birmingham, Walsall, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Richmond, Burnley, Bradford and Hull. (james@ben-network.org.uk

In addition, organisers of Rooted in Resistance offer a free online 12-week training course for environmental justice campaigners of colour. Organisers say “We hope this training will allow them to meet other people passionate about environmental justice and gain the skills, knowledge to build effective campaigns”. (https://campaignbootcamp.org/training/rooted-in-resistance/)

Black history comes out from the margins
Black and British: A Forgotten History

Fully revised and updated, David Olusoga’s award-winning book Black and British: A Forgotten History is unique. It features a new chapter encompassing the Windrush scandal and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. These events put British history at the centre of urgent national racialised debates.

They vividly confirm that Black history can no longer be kept separate and marginalised. “It is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation and it belongs to us all”, observers say. (Paperback published by Picador 10 June 2021)

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Your Serious Consideration And Comments Are Welcome.

Note: we have covered related issues in previous editions of Chronicleworld. Just scroll to:

February 25, 2018, STORMZY’S HISTORIC RAP TO PRIME MINISTER BOOSTS GRENFELL JUSTICE CAMPAIGN

October 31, 2016, AFRO SUPER HEROES – NEW CRUSADERS FOR BLACK HISTORY

October 29, 2016, BLIND SPOT IN BLACK HISTORY MONTH. AFRO SUPER HEROES CAN FILL BLACK PRIDE GAP

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