USELESS: David Lammy’s Labour seat under threat
OPTIMISM, ENTHUSIASM and delusion often peak on the 1st of January. And they usually steadily subside from there. So as I’m currently feeling optimistic, enthusiastic and delusional, below are my dreams for Black Britain in 2015. I’m not the only one (I hope).
DAVID LAMMY LOSES HIS SEAT
BLACK YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT ATTAINS GREATER ATTENTION THAN BLACK ISSUES IN FOOTBALL
This obsession with black managers (although admittedly a necessary cause to champion) takes place against a backdrop of widespread black youth unemployment. According to the Office of National Statistics, 44 per cent of black people between the ages of 16 and 24 are currently unemployed. So whilst nearly half of all eligible black people under the age of 25 are out of work, Black Britain appears to be more concerned with 92 jobs in football, the opiate of the masses.
BLACK BRITAIN SNATCHES BACK ITS SOFT POWER
AUTHENTIC: Little Richard
Not since the 1950s have we seen the levels of cultural appropriation that we witnessed last year. And Britain played a unique and bold role in the great cultural robbery of 2014. Many of the new flag bearers for cultural appropriation (both in front of and behind the camera) emerged from the UK. Owing in part to this, black Britain has lost the overwhelming majority of what makes it great: its soft power, its cultural capital.
In November 1955 Little Richard, the father and eternal King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, released his earth-shattering debut single Tutti Frutti. It peaked at number 17 on the pop charts. The powers that be quickly had it covered by Pat Boone, a white crooner (now a conservative commentator) famed for covering records by black artists in order to make them bigger (more profitable). Boone’s tremendously inferior version of Tutti Frutti eclipsed Little Richard’s original, climbing the charts to number 12 (I’ll leave you to speculate as to why).
Stung, weary and aware of what was going on Little Richard headed back in to the studio in early 1956 and recorded his follow-up song Long Tall Sally. By his own admission he “recorded it at such a high tempo and with such energy in the lyrics that Boone wouldn’t be able to handle it”. It was a smash hit record peaking at number 2 on the charts.
White audacity wouldn’t be white audacity if it didn’t act with jaw-dropping audaciousness, so it should come as no surprise to learn that Boone went ahead and covered Long Tall Sally regardless. His version only managed to reach number 8. Quicker than you could say “a-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom”, Little Richard snatched back what was rightly his own. And kept it.
Black British art and culture has to evoke the spirit of 1956 Little Richard. Unleash the pure genius and talent that just can’t be copied or manufactured. Take back what was taken from us: our soft power, our cultural capital. The talent is clearly there to achieve this.
HIP-HOP RISES, REGAINS A CLEAR SENSE OF PURPOSE
THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT BIAS
CHOKEHOLD DEATH: Eric Garner died after a police officer put him in a chokehold on a New York street
When five Los Angeles police officers were caught on tape beating the life out of Rodney King in 1991 it was shocking.
It was even more shocking when they were acquitted. Since then things have deteriorated to such an extent that in today’s day and age, on both sides of the Atlantic, the police officers probably wouldn’t have even gone to trial. I dream that 2015 be the year that this trend ends.
LENNY HENRY AND SIMON ALBURY ARE KNIGHTED
HIP-HOP RISES TO THE OCCASION BY REGAINING A CLEAR SENSE OF PURPOSE