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Rev Bishop Michael Curry was talking to us, says Adebayo

HISTORY MAKER: The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry gives an address during the wedding
of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

THE MARRIAGE of the Duke and Duchess of Meghan as we call them, was a gospel truth reminder that since the Windrush docked 70 years ago next month, the we worship is different from the way our white neighbours worship.

It wasn’t supposed to be like that. That’s not the way that God planned it. But alas there were no preachers on that first boatload of 491 men and one woman who came over on the SS Windrush to Tilbury on June 21, 1948.

Those who came over no doubt brought some Bibles with them, but there was nobody to minister to the spiritual needs of these pioneering new Brits, so most of them when they got off the ship went down the road to their local Anglican and... guess what happened?

Well, they were mostly told in no uncertain terms that they were not welcome in the English churches, which now effectively became ‘white’ churches. They, therefore, had to go and establish their own churches – often in the front rooms of anyone who had the space to host a tiny congregation that was growing by the boatload.

So it was for my wife’s grandmother who became one of the rst black preach- ers in this country. Had she, and many others like her, not brought the sunshine of the Caribbean with her sermons, church for us would be as dreary and boring as it is for white folks.

It was, then, a master stroke of Meghan’s to fly the episcopal Bishop Michael Curry over from the States to show the Archbishop of Canterbury how to officiate without sending people to sleep. Black churchgoers have more fun.

You see, we’ve got the music, it’s our culture. But we’ve also got the lyrics and the ora- tory. Nobody holds church like a black pastor. Nobody. And nobody preaches church like a black cleric. Little Richard knew that and turned himself into a rock ‘n’ roll star preach- ing multi-million selling hits like Tutti Frutti. James Brown knew it as well and turned his brand of rhythm and blues into blazing sermons when he was ready to get up and do his thing.

In that St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle last week, Michael Curry gave us a taste of Meghan and Harry’s multi-racial Camelot where we are all welcome at the round table. He put the BLACK rmly in the union jack. He quoted the King of love (Martin Luther) to the heart of the institution that permitted our enslavement (church AND state) and by so doing took the first tentative steps in trying to squash the beef, the emnity, the ancient grudge that we the sons and daughters of enslavement have held against the enslavers and their bene ciaries for centuries.

And you should have seen their faces – the monikers of the members of the royal family and everybody else at the wedding who had not been spoken to in that way by a little old black guy with a twang talking about a new world and a new heaven. He even threw in one or two jokes to show that, even though we’re still hurting these four hundred years on, our spirit is unbowed, unbeaten and undefeated.

He showed that we are not a grudgeful people. On the contrary, even though many of us have ben corrupted int thinking otherwise, we are a loving people - but we still want reparations.

Michael Curry was talking to us – the black people of Britain, the black people of the world who are owed more than all the money in the Bank of England’s vaults for all the free work we did during enslavement let alone the compensa- tion for the brutality we still endure at the hands of the establishment of which the royal family presides, if only constitutionally.

MESSAGE

We can only conclude that that is the message that Meghan Markle, the black woman, a descendant of enslaved people, wanted to get across. We can only conclude that the message that Meghan Markle, the biracial woman, wanted to get across is that even though she is able to ‘pass’ suf ciently to get into the royal family, she, however, knows where she’s coming from and won’t let anybody forget that.

Least of all her new husband, nor the children she and Harry will soon have together and who, let’s face it, may turn out darker than she is. For is that not the case in every black family, that we have members of all shades and hues?

That, of course, was never a problem until the racism of enslavement raised its ugly head and we started being divided and ruled by a narrative that made us ‘midnight sky’ ‘negroes’ suspicious of our ‘tragic mulatto’ brothers and sisters who were being rejected by the side of the family that reflected their lighter complexions and which offered a tenuous and often precarious 'escape' from the apparent drudgery of blackness on pain of becoming lighter and lighter with every generation.

As much as I would like to think that Bishop Curry’s sermon, the gospel choir and the guest list that featured Idris Elba, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams, was like a gauntlet thrown down by Meghan about who she is and what she represents, I fear that when the wedding fever has died down and the honeymoon period is over, the de nition of herself as black or mixed-race will be expunged from the narrative of this country.

Once the racists have had their say and are summarily dispatched into the deepest and most hellish dustbins of history, the people of this country and their media will choose ‘not to see’ race when it comes to Meghan. It’s convenient that way.

In the same way that they choose not to see race when Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling cross that white line to represent England in the World Cup in Russia and will feign shock and horror when the Russian racist football hooligans, who have not been dispatched into those hellhole dustbins of history, start throwing fruit onto the pitch.

We will choose not to see colour even if the reality is, the Duchess of Sussex excepting, that those Russian thugs with their bananas are only reflecting the way they see black people treated in our colourful country in which we choose not to see colour when it is expedient to be colour blind.

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