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8 underrated white men we should all applaud

UNDERRATED: Singers Jon B and Phil Collins and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

ALL BLACK people are not equal. Some are less equal than others. And some are right down there (think Stacey Dash, Rza,...)

So if we as black people had the chance to trade in some of our own for a bunch of white people who would we pick? And why would we pick them? There are some woefully underappreciated and underrated white men out there that I like to think we would all happily adopt as our own.

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1. Bobby Caldwell: “There are times…when you’ll need someone / I will be by your side / There is a light, that shines / Special for you, and me”. The lyrics of a true RnB great. Many of Bobby Caldwell’s songs have gone on to be sampled for some of Hip-Hop and RnB’s greatest records (Do For Love by Tupac, The Light by Common, Sky’s The Limit by Notorious BIG, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number by Aaliyah).

His back story is also an interesting one: in order to ensure he attained significant airplay on black radio stations his management team only placed a silhouette on his album covers and adverts. Basically he had to hide who he was from a people wary of significant post-Elvis cultural appropriation. Bobby has long earned a seat at the table of black RnB greats.

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2. Jon B: Another blue eyed soul brother who seems much more at home with black folk than anywhere else. Jon B was to the 1990s what Bobby Caldwell was to the 1980s. But unlike Bobby, Jon B was very much embraced by the black music fraternity. Perhaps as a result of this he never faced any appropriation accusations.

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3. George Michael: One of Britain’s very best musical exports ever. A maverick, a risk taker and massive talent. Yet he is treated in Britain today like a joke. Hop on a plane to Miami on the other hand and he has a better reputation than the royal family. To this day his music receives regular airplay in the States (especially in Miami) and he is rightfully revered.

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4. Phil Collins: Lampooned to the nth degree by the British media (the same British media who think Robbie Williams is a good idea). Both as a person and a musician he is hated on in Britain. Yet in Hip-Hop Phil Collins is possibly one of the most successful and revered Britons ever – Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony even put him in a pair of baggy khakis and made him the centre of one of their singles. In fact in 2001 an entire tribute LP of his songs was recorded by black Hip-Hop and RnB artists. We’ll see if Rock DJ (by Robbie Williams) is covered anytime soon.

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5. Tim Wise: Your go to guy when a junior colonialist is waxing lyrical about one of history’s most eulogised mass murderers: “Fair enough he waged genocide on your people and looted his entire wealth from them, but Nelson Mandela managed to forgive Cecil Rhodes. Why can’t you be as generous as him?” At moments like this I only ever reach for one person: Tim Wise. Tim always has a quote (and a book) that you can shove down a white supremacist’s throat. And the fact he is white makes it all the sweeter.

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6. Stephen Sackur: Quite possibly the most popular western journalist in Africa. Sackur presents HardTalk, the aptly named one-on-one interview programme in which he grills some of the world’s leading minds. He is held in such high esteem in Nigeria that when the last government started to lose the faith of the people a widely signed petition was circulated begging Sackur to interview Goodluck Jonathan on Hardtalk. Some felt it was the only real way the former president could be held to account.

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7. Frankie Boyle: At first some alleged he was a racist. Then it emerged that he is the polar opposite. Far, very far, from a racist, Frankie Boyle is possibly one of the best writers on racism in Britain today. He is a Hip-Hop loving (and by Hip-Hop I mean real Hip-Hop), firmly anti-racist comedian who gave a platform to Akala to thoroughly break down race matters in a rare segment on mainstream British media.

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8. Jeremy Corbyn: Living proof that good guys don’t always finish last. However, given the number of stones that are thrown at them after they’ve won, they might wish that they hadn’t tried so hard to win after all. Corbyn is one of the loveliest men in British politics. A truly principled politician. Someone who truly gets black people and the struggle. When David Cameron went to Jamaica and responded to passionate calls for reparations by telling them to “move on”, Corbyn attempted to put Jamaica and reparations into context. Labour parliamentarians may hate him but black Britain loves him.

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