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Letter From The Editor: November


Here we go again. Black History Month has only just ended, and we have been served a major blow this week with the despicable actions of police officers Jeffer and Lewis. It’s hard to forget the brutal murders of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in a park in north-west London on the 7th June last year. It is quite frankly disgusting to imagine that Metropolitan police officers pleaded guilty on Tuesday to sharing photographs of Bibaa and Nicole’s slain corpses and making degrading and insulting comments on WhatsApp about the bodies they were supposed to be guarding.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been many proud moments this Black History Month and many of them were reported on magnificently by Black Wall St writers, contributors, and journalists.
A particularly moving piece came from Stephen Lawrence’s brother Hon Stuart Lawrence who wrote a heartwarming birthday tribute to their mother Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon OBE, listing her incredible achievements and saying ‘She is the greatest mum, grandmother we could have and one of our nations most dedicated and committed Civil Rights Campaigners from the British Black Community. I am truly blessed to call you mum.’
As diaspora, our contribution to the world as we know it was acknowledged when BWSM reported that Scientists say they have traced the world’s 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single “mother tongue,” an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.

The Academy of Excellence delivered a powerful piece entitled ‘What if we believed in Black people as much as we believed in appeasing white people?’ This article explores the idea that Black Excellence isn’t possible without Black love; love for ourselves, our siblings, our communities, our culture. This article was rousing, stating: ‘Not only do Blacks support each other but we also support everyone else. We’re the only race to have our culture adopted and emulated by the rest of the world, all over the world. In spite of weathering every unspeakable atrocity possible, our achievements are undeniable.’
Of course, Black History Month couldn’t save us from reality, and a piece by Dr Jazmin Scarlett, a student in volcanology spoke out on behalf of Black scientists to that say UK scientific research is institutionally racist.
This was followed Jacky Wright, the businesswoman named as the UK’s most influential black person, calling for “monumental shifts” to ensure Britain is a more equal place to live. So, as always there has been plenty to be proud about but also plenty to be disappointed about.
My question is, as we have now exited BHM does the world go back to not caring about the black community?
The Black to Front Project was part of Channel 4’s ongoing commitment to improve Black representation on-screen and more widely in the TV industry.  This one-day takeover by Channel 4 broadcasted programming featuring  Black presenters, actors, writers and experts, contributors, and programme-makers. Did they commit to ongoing diversity in-front of the camera and behind the scenes? The one-day takeover was a brilliant concept but why do we have to accept the crumbs? We’re meant to be happy just to get a mention, but it sure feels like tokenism.

This month I’m busy organising my annual awards event, The Baton Awards: celebrating women from diverse racial groups from the past, present & future. As usual I’m sure I’ll be asked why we need a platform that only recognises women from diverse groups but just by looking at the police travesty of Bibaa and Nicole, it’s clear that ethnic women need fair representation now more than ever. As we enter into the final stages of 2021, one thing is for sure, I won’t be slowing down in pushing for an equal playing field for all of us as diaspora but especially as black women. It’s just so overdue.

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