Akala Profile picture
Sep 15, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I think what might help these discussion be more productive is Americans knowing a little more of the other side of the coin and I mean this with total love and respect so let me try to give a little bit of context (might be useful, might not)
Britain is the second largest market in the world for Black Am culture not just because of the ‘special relationship’ nor just cos of UK subsidiary’s of Universal but also bcos of decades of marketing that culture here by African/Caribbean migrants. Let’s take Hip Hop:
Long b4 mainstream Britain cared about Hip Hop (in fact during all the years it was deliberately excluded from the mainstream here) if someone wanted a DJ Clue or Red Alert Tape - or even a 50cent tape before he signed with em they would have to come to Brixton, Hackney, Mossside
etc to get it because the literal cousins of Trini/JamaicanBrits in NY would send them to us the day they came out and we’d copy/sell/distribute helping to generate in the long term a huge market for that music and millions £££ for American rappers/managers/agents/musicians
Similarly the Cosby Show, Different World, Living Color, Chris Rock, Spike became popular here in ‘the hood’ first and spread to the mainstream from there. I personally saw half of the black american international comedians of today when they were starting back in the 80/90’s..
When the cane to The Hackney Empire (London’s equivalent to the Apollo to be crude) which my step dad was stage manger of just for flavour to the story 😂
recently an AA couple brought Cat In A Hot Tin Roof to London’s west end starring James Earl Jones and Sanna Lathan, the response of black Londoners was not to complain about the lack of Black British west end shows, it was simply to go and support Uncle James cos....
We been supporting him since coming to America and before....
in addition to the constant flow of English Speaking Caribbean’s into the US (during Jim Crow and after) it feels weird that it’s not understood how connected we would naturally feel to a culture that our literal Jamaican-Trini cousins were directly a part of...
Gilroys boom The Black Atlantic is a good primer for any1 interested in getting that conceptual framework/understanding....
And partly as a result of this marketing (and fighting on the ground) a ton of AA writers, actors, musicians have been able to come here an make millions of ££, very few have ever spent any real time in Brixton or Hackney but it’s all good we get it..
And a few of our idols (Maya Angelou’s and Harry Belafonte for example) have even taken time to diss us or directly ignore the obvious parallels between Britain and the US in this respect... but again man get it.
And to bring up Jim Crow (as if we somehow were part of the cause) is a little odd. And didn’t Baldwin, Wright and many others leave Jim Crow America and seek work elsewhere? Including in Britain? 🤷🏽‍♀️
That’s all I got for now but I did write a whole chapter on this stuff #Justsaying innit. Cos it’s a common thing on twitter it seems

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More from @akalamusic

Sep 17, 2018
Also it should be understood that this argument is a bit circular as the genres (like their creators) are literal cousins let me explain... a quick thread
American Hip Hop is as a matter of fact a fusion of both BlackAm culture and that of Caribbean immigrants to theNY (see Can’t Stop Won’t Stop for a good history of this) just to illustrate the point here are just a few of the Caribbean-American Hip Hop pioneers off my head..
The founding father Kook Herc, Gil Scott-Heron, KRS ONE, Biggie, Afrika Bam, Pete Rock, Busta Rhymes, Joey Badass, Grandmaster Flash, Slikk Rikk etc etc etc.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 8, 2018
1/2 USA? Murders per person are higher in several British cities than LDN and always have been. Also there are 1.2 million black folk in this city, in a terrible year maybe 50 of them will kill someone so ‘most’ is clearly *a little bit* of an exaggeration.
Are black uni students involved in violent crime? Footballers? Doctors? Grannies? Or is it same demographic in black communities as others: Men/boys aged 15-25 from the poorest families, within poorest communities often with a history of familial abuse/expulsion frm school.
None of this gives anyone an excuse to kill other people’s children of course but can you honestly not see how the wording implicates the other 99.9995 % of black londoners who don’t kill anybody by ‘ethnic extension’ which is quite ironic because...
Read 6 tweets
Sep 4, 2018
A few people have asked me about the pan-African Saturday school I went to, the particular one I went to has closed down and the movement in general is probably not as strong as when I grew up, however the tradition of supplementary community self education is alive and well see
Nigerian Schools Foundation UK: nsf.community
National Association Of Black Supplementary Schools: nabss.org.uk
Community School Hackney acschool.org.uk/about.html
EYLA: eyla.org.uk
WYLA: wylauk.com/about
Oh and how could I forget the Manhood Academy manhoodacademy.co.uk
Read 4 tweets
Aug 21, 2018
you still trying to make a fictional 'argument' with me. I agreed 500times over that there is bigotry among some African immigrants in America so that's NOT where we disagree.... however...
There is also bigotry/idiocy and blind spots from BA toward immigrants, Americans living and working abroad in 'other people's' countries and a long tradition black migrants behaving quite differently see: UNIA, Malcolm, Stokely, Kool Herc, KRS, Biggies mummy etc etc
What I find ridiculous is you and others falling back on 'you are not American' rather than a critical response to what im actually saying. Countless BA have written books/given lectures on Africa & Caribbean their work/ideas should be judged by its quality not their passport.
Read 5 tweets
Aug 1, 2018
Funny thing is this. If someone actually bothered to critically read my work and point to the flaws - there are flaws in all works of history by the very nature of the discipline - I could respect it. None have yet had the minerals 2 but want to bang about academic credibility.
There are errors/blindspots and out of date info in books written by some of the greatest historians ever, so clearly there must be some in mine. People are too lazy to find them but wana chat to man. OK
Here I am having a chat about Shakespeare with some of the leading scholars in the world (people who do indeed know way more than I here) as you can see I made a total fool of myself cos I'm just pretending to have done the reading. LOL
Read 7 tweets
Jul 31, 2018
One of the things I enjoyed/clocked re the release of #Natives was the deafening silence of the right wing press... even outlets that usually have so a little bit to say about rappers and the issues covered in the book....
Here you have a mere rapper play acting at being a historian and getting published and spending a good few weeks on the best sellers and all that. Great time/chance to show what a fraud man really is....
They were all sent the book of course and if they could have torn it to shreds obviously would have. Not to say there are not areas of valid scholarly disagreement...
Read 10 tweets

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