Monday, 31 December 2012

My 2012

This year has been a pretty cool year ya na. Very interesting stuff occurred. Plenty things I will never experience again in my whole entire lifetime. (This post is a thought train written for the older me to look back on. Hopefully it isn't too rambley.)

My five fave moments in the order they happened:

1. Top of the year I had a debate on Jump Off's YouTube channel about the origins of grime. Basically saying our scenes are not an American imitation. Hip hop DJ Snips was my opposition. Judging by the comments I was right... We both knew we weren't really arguing on that big a difference, but ultimately, I was right. My maiden appearance on YouTube.

2. Funnily enough, not long after the above debate came out, I got the opportunity to interview Wiley who gave me my favourite interview of the year. The Godfather of grime and I spoke about how dancehall shaped both him as an artist, as well as grime's foundations. Wiley has never and probably will never do an interview like it. Also is a pre-cursor to the singles he released - chart-topper "Heatwave" and "Can You Hear Me? (Ay ya ya ya) both have a strong Caribbean influence. Thanks to the good folks over at Large Up x Okayplayer for the opportunity. You can read that here and the bonus material.

(Also, put out a video with Sean Paul and his ex-manager talking about why he focuses on the ladies in songs. Both explain why he went from deeper songs with a message to girls and parties. Hit over 1k views surprises me 'cos I don't remember promoting it much.

This is in brackets because it shouldn't be here, but I only realised that after writing it. For that, I can't be bothered to delete it. Time is life.)

3. I appeared on two big pirate stations too. Deja Vu were one of the dons in the days when pirates were the boss. Before babylon tried to force everyone down the digital road. Joe Grime had me on there doing dancehall debates on various talking points. Really had a lot of fun doing that. I was also on the now legal Rinse FM via The Heatwave playing interviews with Damian Marley and Mr. Vegas (neither are available to listen to I'm afraid), then inviting me on to do a live interview with TOK's Bay-C on Carnival morning. Never felt so nervous. Slight exaggeration, but you get my point.

4. Was asked to write for the Guardian newspaper. Big personal achievement for me as it's a proper paper I respect. If I could have written for any newspaper, it'd have been that. Wanted to write for them for a long time, so to be asked to recommend some artists in the run up to Jamaica's 50th independence was a big feeling. The article was posted online and printed in the G2 supplement. Will be framed in due course. Any fan of reggae will know it's almost impossible to find an article without mentioning homophobia or some other thing written by people that don't actually listen to it. 'Twas also quoted on the Jamaica Observer website.

5. Oh yeah, a little bit more about the Damian Marley interview. So in 2010 I said the people I most want to interview are Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Shaggy, Sean Paul and Damian Marley. Vybz Kartel & Mavado represent the best of the hardcore artists in my generation. Shaggy & Sean Paul the most successful commercial artists and Damian Marley is up there as one of my faves, plus the best Marley son to me. And Bob Marley is the greatest ever. Interviewed Mavado and Kartel later in 2010, Sean Paul and Shaggy in 2011, then Damian Marley this year ahead of his two sold-out dates at the indigo2 for Jamaica 50 celebrations. Another life goal completed.

Those are my five highlights for the year in that lane.

My five fave blog posts were:

1. Jamaica 50 tribute. Series of posts on how "independent" Jamaica gave back to "Mother England" via Jamaican music infecting UK music from pop to most underground homegrown scenes from the 60s til now.

2. "So, Marvin Sparks, what effect will Afrobeats have on Bashment?" - Pretty self-explanatory.

3. Starboy Nathan exits XFactor at judges houses - basically, input on the discussion about Nathan being in a better position now than he was before. Quite a few industry dons rated this like a&r's, managers and DJs from the mainstream world which was pretty cool.

4. Diwali riddim appreciation - I wrote about arguably the most successful dancehall composition ever. Ran down the impact it had on dancehall to crossover appeal spawning 6 chart singles. Definitely one of my favourite riddims ever.

5. Sir David Rodigan leaves Kiss FM due to marginalisation of reggae music - a piece on the general shafting of specialist music across the FM dial.

Blog "Bashment Vibes" thought I was interesting enough to interview. Who'da thought it?! That was another first. Big up to them! Had fun chatting away. Feel sorry for them because the interview was ridiculously long due to my trouble keeping answers short. You can check that out here.

Others include going on tour across England with great people. Too much fun was had. Also went to Scotland and Wales for shows. And flew to Mallorca Rocks for a fun time.

The biggest isn't music related. Watching Usain Bolt win the 100m Olympic gold in the stadium with my flag and man dem is definitely an unforgettable occasion. Give Jah the praise for that. Paralympics was also a great day. In fact, the whole month was special. Jamaican 50th Independence, Puma Yard, Jamaica House and London in general. Big up Team GB too.

Hope you all had a fun and memorable 2012. If not, don't worry, the past is the past. Try to make 2013 as memorable as possible. Only you can determine whether you enjoy it. Big up everyone lucky enough to make it this far. Rest peacefully to the ones that didn't.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

What I learned about X-Factor this year

Yeah, I'm blogging about X-Factor. Normal service will resume on Monday. Just had to get this out there.

For previous series' I sat on Twitter during X-Factor copying and pasting tweets for a series of posts for TweeteReviews. However, this year I didn't. The tweets weren't as funny as previous years, mainly because the contestants weren't as interesting. No Misha B, Cher Lloyd, devil woman, big chin chick, JEdward etc. I've been able to actually take in opinions now.

First off I think people take the show way too seriously. I stopped being outraged from the first week when judges kept joke act Rylan in. Louis chose to save the chick, before changing his mind to save Rylan, then when Dermot asked him to repeat his answer he said "I wanna take it to deadlock". The only reason I felt outraged is due to the flip-flop blatant fishy movements by Louis.

That was the last time I felt any outrage. Think that was the first week of live shows.

1. I think the perception of the show being a "singing show" is stupid. If real-life politics (Government and that) isn't about policies, how can X-Factor be about singing? The same people that say they have doubts about voting for Ed Milliband because "He doesn't seem like a leader" or liking Barack because he has swagger, aren't likely to vote for a singer because they can sing. Even in the real world of music, there are many singers we believe are great singer but don't make interesting songs. I'll come on to that in a second.

2. We don't judge X-Factor contestants the same way we do artists in the real world. Singing covers is never easy because we always compare to the original and they're restrictive in how you flex your own muscles. Even "proper singers" fail covers and they're pretty restrictive unlike original songs for obvious reasons. Imagine your favourite artist had to sing a different cover each week for like 9 weeks straight. Not everyone of the established and our favourite acts will succeed. Most top-sellers stay in a familiar lane, so it's cool when numerous similar singles roll out over a period of months. When it's 9/10 weeks straight under a microscope is boring or predictable.

3. And related to that, it's difficult to tell who has the X-Factor on X-Factor. It's a myth. If you can't tell that after 9 series', then boy...

One Direction were pretty well-rated on the show, but how many of us saw them conquering the world in such dominant fashion? They finished third remember. Runner-up Rebecca Ferguson from the same series was dubbed "boring" yet shifted 500k albums this year. "Annoying" Cher Lloyd, placed 4th, managed to score a top ten hit in America. Never saw that coming. Shaky-legged 2009 runner-up Olly Murs is still here 3 years later. In fact, he has number 1 single and album as I write this and performs in arenas. Never saw that on the show.

Leona Lewis is probably the most popular act ever on X-Factor and while she has done pretty well (two albums sold well, this one? Well...), it hasn't been future legend status as many of us anticipated. Alexandra Burke is another popular winner, yet runners up JLS had a much more successful career. In fact, who even likes Alex Burke anymore? Her second album flopped tremendously. I'm sure most reading thought they (Leona and Alexandra) had the X-Factor.

And I can categorically tell you that some of the best-selling artists in the UK and some of our favourite artists would not win the X-Factor. It really is just a TV show. Not a great deal can be determined from it. Songs made after the show are how you can tell. There are a lot of myths in the music business, mainly around image and PR stuff, but even in 2012, the song matching the image is the X-Factor. 

4. Lastly, the biggest lesson I've learned is people that consume American hip hop and r&b live in a warped world. Never, ever take their opinions on pop stars seriously. They'll comment on who hasn't got what it takes to be a pop star on a Saturday, then not know the material by the genuine pop star performing on the Sunday.. If you proudly admit not listening to top 40 radio or even knowing what's number 1 in the pop charts, how you meant to critique pop star potential in the same breath?

This is the reason everyone but me and a few were surprised at Ella's early departure. I predicted it three weeks in advance. And on that note, Jahmene mi seh!

(Bonus: the reason Tulisa's album failed is because she doesn't have the X-Factor. She did for the first song that reflected her rebellious youth. The other songs didn't match the feisty, rebellious image we have of her at all. She should have taken a leaf out of Pink and Kelly Clarkson's book instead of sticking with her "urban roots")

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sir David Rodigan leaves Kiss FM - BURN DEM OUT!

This is the type of post of been meaning to write for a while, so excuse me if it's a bit long. I'll try to keep it as short as possible even though the fire is burning. And this fire can't quench. Nor will my words be diluted.

Today, acclaimed reggae DJ, radio broadcaster, sound clash winner and ambassador David Rodigan MBE announced he is to leave Kiss FM. Whilst admitting they've had a good relationship over the past 22 years, the relationship has terminated since the 12am-1am slot he previously resided was given to Craig David. Remember him? Exactly. "Due to their continued marginalisation of reggae music into the twilight zone of radio scheduling, it has left me no option but to make a stand for my passion and the music I love so dearly," stated Sir Rodigan [Source].

Words can't express how overjoyed I am that someone has finally taken the step to stand against a commercial radio stations. Not only for reggae in this case, but every single genre which has been marginalised by Kiss FM in recent times for more playlist shows. An example of this is Logan Sama, who for the longest time has been grime only DJ on a commercial station saw his show cut from 11pm-1am on Monday night, to a one-hour show (12am-1am), then moved to 1am-2am. One of the most important homegrown genres, one that produces chart-topping MC's (albeit on grime-less tracks), achieves top 10 trending topics in the UK most weeks, yet 1am-2am on a Monday slot?

I think every specialist show on that station has the 12am-2am slots because most of the stations schedule consists of playlist shows. You know, top 40 radio format with the same old 25 songs on loop? Yeah that. From 6am to 11pm at night. Except Kisstory of course. While I do think the "marginalisation of reggae" card is valid, I'm personally not sure if this is an attack on just reggae as most specialist shows face the same problem.

For those internationally, Kiss FM is a pop music station on the various forms of house music side of life, so I don't really expect a great deal from them in terms of reggae.  Let it be known though, that reggae appeals to that demographic, as displayed through the demand of David Rodigan + other sound systems (Jah Shakka, Aba Shanti, Channel One, The Heatwave etc.) at bass music nights/festivals.

Reggae music is being embraced more and more in the mainstream by non-Jamaican artists yet less avenues than ever for genuine reggae shows in the UK. A place that has always been receptive to reggae. And I do agree that generally there's a marginalisation of reggae music in commercial radio. Admittedly, the business side of the music isn't the greatest, but there is still a demand for reggae. More than its representation on radio.

I've heard from a few people that Robbo Ranx's show on 1Xtra is the most listened to specialist show (10pm-2am slot). Not sure if that's still the case.

2012 saw David Rodigan awarded an MBE for his services to music by reggae fan, Prince Charles. That's a massive deal, especially for bun babylon, bun the Queen music. (p.s. "bun" is Jamaican pronunciation for "burn".) He plays many big festivals including hosting his own tents and nights, Ram Jam, nationwide. He won a sound clash on Kiss FM against fellow specialist DJs earlier this year as voted for by the listeners in addition to a grassroots reggae world cup clash in New York. And lastly, a Gold radio award for his show on BBC Radio 2 for best specialist show. Many would argue that this has been one of the most productive years in his career and has been put in a position where he quits? That makes sense?

Shall I keep the fire burning? Time to throw in another station? Oh, go on then.

Now this isn't just an attack on Kiss Fm. Let's moving on to the other popular London-based station. Choice FM. Once the best and a respectable commercial station to hear the best in black music. Once upon a time a.k.a. before Global bought them, Daddy Ernie hosted a week day reggae show between 7-10pm. Can't even remember the evolution, if it was sudden or gradual (because I stopped listening), he now plays to night bus drivers and people going to their office cleaning jobs while ravers go home after an enjoyable night out. Grand time of 1am-3am on a Sunday morning.

To be fair, the quality of his show declined as he didn't move with the times and played soul music during his show, but why move the whole genre because a DJ's not good? Oh, that's right, because they wanted to make more time to play the same 20 songs each day. How many time do they think we want to hear Trey Songz, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Maxwell "Pretty Wings" on loop?

This disappoints me more than Kiss FM as Kiss haven't been that station in my lifetime. Choice were relevant. And as for urb*n blogs? MOBO Awards? And all these other things that are supposed to be here for our music, but cover hip hop and r&b much more? Same thing

This isn't just a save reggae music on commercial radio post, this is a SAVE SPECIALIST SHOWS ON COMMERCIAL RADIO A.K.A. BUN YOUR REPEAT THE SAME SONGS SHOWS.

Then Radio 1? Not representing at all. UK Hip Hop has been around 2 minutes in comparison to reggae and even grime, yet UK hip hop has a show, the others don't. Sound of the revolution or the side of life which isn't playing into their hands gets no love. Big up Westwood playing some dancehall though. I see Rodigan going to BBC Radio 2 full-time.

As always, that troublesome, rebellious genre, reggae is the one taking a stand against the system for what they stand for. Gift and a curse, because the commercials hate that attitude, but bun them! We're here for the people!

I'll leave you with this final quote from radio father Rodigan. “As Bob Marley famously said ‘the stone that the builder refused will be the head corner stone.’ Reggae was originally played on the streets, not on radio, and Kiss's refusal to schedule the only reggae show on their network to a socially accessible time has resulted in this decision. Reggae is worthy of more respect and so are the fans and lovers of this music.”

And in the words of Bob Marley, "Get Up, Stand Up. Stand up for your rights... Don't give up the fight." Hopefully a few other DJ's make a stand too. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Happy Diwali = Diwali riddim 10 year appreciation

Today is the Hindu celebration of light. Big up all my Hindu's inside the place. It's a national holiday in Myanmar, India, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Fiji, Singapore and to my surprise Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Guyana.

But today we are gathered here - in the dancehall world where I reside - for a whole different meaning to the celebration. Disclaimer: not to take over like the Christians did with Pagan festivals. We believe in unity so it's a parallel thing.

The Diwali riddim released ten years ago (yes, all the way back in 2002) by Stephen "Lenky" Marsden took the world by storm, becoming one of, if not the most successful composition in Jamaican music history in my opinion. (Yeah, I am about that mixing fact and opinion vida loca.) I think Diwali riddim earned its name from the Bhangra syncopation, plus I don't know the name of the instrument, but there's a sample in there. This came around the time Indian/Arabic samples were frequent in hip hop and r&b, mainly through hitmaker Timbaland. It was also quite prevalent in dancehall with the Bollywood and Egyptian riddims being two good examples. A lot of Bhangra is influenced by dancehall anyway so we're like bredrins.
It took dancefloors by storm upon release to the grassroots dancehall fans across the world. Initial standout cuts displayed versatility of the rhythm - something you won't find in any other genre. I always find it interesting to see how different artists interpret the same beat.

Party starters include "Energy God" Elephant Man's "Elephant Message" and "Party Time" by duo Danny English & Egg Nog, boasty "Ruffest and Toughest" courtesy of soon-to-be rookie of the time Assassin, and TOK's anthem for the hot girls "Galang Gal". I remember this tearing down a Jamaican independence in Tooting Bec common. Good times.

Then on the other hand you have what we call "conscious" tunes; the poor people's Governor Bounty Killer "Sufferer" proving to the doubters that he can do social songs without hit songwriter/producer Dave Kelly. "Born as a sufferer, grew up as a sufferer, struggle as a sufferer fi make it as a sufferer" struck a chord with the disenfranchised. Another relative newcomer singjay Wayne Marshall scored a hit singing "Many are called but the chosen few/ nothing in this world that you can't do/ Work hard for your dreams and they will come true" on the uplifting "Overcome".

All of this is just the underground success. Calm before the storm per se. 2003 saw the initial commercial success, cementing mainstream dancehall favourite Sean Paul's arrival as more than a one-hit wonder. Following up surprise hit "Gimmie Di Light" was always set to be a tough task, however, the follow-up "Get Busy" surpassed the predecessor topping the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. "Get Busy" wasn't even on the original batch of Diwali cuts, so was pretty new to most of us. The global star had a reworked beat with added synths and different re-arrangements.

Sean Paul admitted in an interview that he pulled a fast one on the label with this release - despite fighting with Atlantic for a release of "Get Busy" they stood firm on "Like Glue". Even down to the day of the shoot, they thought he was recording the "Like Glue" video, until he spoke to the director and said keep the same treatment, but they're doing the video for "Get Busy". And the rest as the say is history. This explains why "Like Glue" ends the video.

Chart performance: #1 = Hungary, Netherlands, Italy, USA. Top 10: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK. Gold certifications: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. #50 US decade end charts.

The next cut from the riddim is another re-worked cut which wasn't on the original riddim package. Singer Wayne Wonder scored a few hits in the 90s with the Penthouse label, then a few more towards the end with Mad House on the Bug riddim especially. However, "No Letting Go" turned his fortunes around. I remember this one burning a big buzz underground prior to commercial success. Although I don't remember any other riddim scoring two hits in such close proximity, I knew it would be a hit. I remember girls from the local girls school singing this on the bus home from school. Low and behold, it reached #3 in UK, #11 in USA and top 40 in Canada, Holland, France, Sweden and Switzerland.

American "singer" Lumidee was the first of many non-Jamaicans to utilise Diwali riddim's sound. "Never Leave You (Uh Oh)" became the third hit of the year off the same rhythm track (albeit altered by DJ Tedsmooth and Trendsetta). A remix with fellow New Yorkers Fabolous and Busta Rhymes giving it a more hip hop spin. Definitely the worse singer of the year, however it didn't stop her from topping charts in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland, while peak at 2 and 3 in UK and US respectively. Top 10 in Norway, Hungary, France and Austria.

Another hit from the riddim landed in 2004 courtesy of Jamaican sisters Brick & Lace. If I'm honest, I'd never heard of them before. I thought they were some foreigners trying to capitalise on the success of the riddim, 'cos once again, it had been altered. The sisters recorded on Lenky's re-licked XM24 version of the Diwali riddim complete with boosted synths, re-arranged . My goodness, what a re-lick! Probably the most underrated crossover dancehall songs. Really well-written, top notch production. Great video too.

I feel success in the UK was limited as the instrumental had been exhausted. Most of the success for this was in Europe, peaking at #13 in the European singles charts and charting in Belgium, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. The duo also achieved success across African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Nigeria amongst others.

2005 saw the riddim again, this time in form of blockbuster movie actor and multiplatinum selling rapper Will Smith. A comeback single of sorts following a hiatus from the rap game, "Switch" basically takes the bass drum pattern and over-emphasised claps from Diwali and even a Jamaican dancehall-inspired dance move to match. There was also the Elephant Man remix which almost became customary feature in pop music around this time.

Topped the charts in Australia and Canada. Top 10 in UK, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Italy and US.

And if you're debating whether the above is a dancehall/Diwali-inspired song, as people who have to see direct Jamaican/Caribbean relation before their ears hear what they see, we move on to the next. A then unknown protégé signed to Def Jam by the name of Rihanna burst on the scene with "Pon De Replay". Now I can't remember which way around the story goes, but I believe Will Smith rejected this beat for "Switch". Either that or she rejected "Switch" for this. So basically, if you didn't think "Switch" was dancehall-fusion, yet think "Pon De Replay" is, you probably think "Rudeboy" is dancehall-fusion and "Te Amo" isn't a.k.a. hear with your eyes.

Anyway, chart performance: #1: New Zealand. Top ten: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and US.

Now here's another debatable one, but I'm convinced I'm right. Ne-Yo's 2007 single "Sexy Love". Yes, five years straight after the original. You're thinking "Nah, that's a straight r&b/slow jam," but hear mi nuh man?! Listen to the bass pattern and melody. It's a slowed down version of the XM24 I mentioned earlier. Listen back to Brick & Lace "Love Is Wicked". And we all know Stargate are r&b like to copy dancehall... Like the two above, they aren't direct copies like Lumidee, but blatantly based on.

Chart performance: top 10: New Zealand, UK and US. Also charted in a few other countries across Europe, but nothing compared to the dancehall songs. Why? Because dancehall has longer legs and travels further...

Bringing up to current day, Nigerian star boy Wizkid's song "London Girl" samples the famous Diwali drums.

Lenky, we salute you.

p.s. I spoke with Sean Paul about this dancehall era's impact on pop culture. Click here to see what he had to say

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Another "MOBO doesn't care about the 'B'" post

So, 10 years of grime music, Jamaica's 50th year of independence and the year which saw Afrobeats experience crossover chart success, some mainstream coverage and a lot of underground black club scene love, MOBO Awards have ignored all of these opportunities to celebrate. Something to celebrate in my opinion, cos you know, it's only majority of the UK's black population that comes from Africa and Caribbean.

Who do they give the Lifetime Achievement to? Dionne Warwick? And outstanding acievement to TLC. No disrespect to either of them, but once again they couldn't find anyone British/Jamaican/African to celebrate?

Remember when UK funky had the club scene going wild and they had Gracious K perform by the tables? Or when Gyptian had one of the biggest songs of the year was in attendance to collect his Best Reggae Award, but no performance?

This seems to be another one of those. I know for a fact that D'Banj would have been an outstanding performance on the night and actually represented what MOBO's were about when they started. I don't know if there's a schedule conflict. I really hope that is the reason. What about Wizkid? P Square? Ice Prince? They could have filled the gap. I mean, even BET had Sarkodie in their Hip Hop Awards cypher.

Despite what anyone says, like Black History Month, MOBOs are still necessary. Both platforms have the potential to be credible, relevant and worthy of their time. However, they insist on pandering to those that don't really care or ignore our own achievements in favour of Americans. As much as we enjoy and are exposed to American culture, it's a bit much of a much. We see it at every other awards show. This is the only time we have something to showcase us, and, well, like every time before it's the same old story. Guess that's what happens when the organiser started out putting on Jazz and Soul nights. Definitely representative of the great black British tradition.

What can't we pay respects to Omar, Maxi Priest, Gabrielle, Fela Kuti, Lucky Dube, Gregory Isaacs... You know, the people no one else pays attention to? Yeah, the same reason the awards were created, no?

But hey, at least we had ends-representative and self-appointed youth speaker Adam Deacon co-hosting with über, urban diva Miquita Oliver. And why do JLS keep winning awards? They aren't MOBO. If pop-r&b group Blue who had songs produced by Stargate (Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Rihanna etc.) weren't MOBO, nor were S Club 7 (they had black boy Brandon), why are JLS?

MOBO's mentality of bum America and forget about where black people in this country come from is something common amongst urban outlets; be it blogs, magazines, newspapers, TV or radio stations. It's all the same. Most would rather report on Justin Bieber's r&b-attempts and Rihanna's pop-dance records than something authentic from Jamaica/Caribbean, Africa and many times UK. It's all about the money and hype over building something respectable and representing in addition to getting money and hype.

This is why I say it's pointless afrobeats fans fight against bashment fans over who has the more popular music when neither of us are represented on basic levels where they should be.

I can't lie and say the performers of current scene aren't the right ones, big up. Not like they had much choice on booking those they have who managed to get somewhere without MOBOs. Nominations weren't stupid this year either. But show some love the foundations of the B without hopping on a plane to America all the time.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

"Marvin. Y u burn Black History Month?"

"Until the philosophy which hold ones (hi)story superior and another inferior. Is finally. And permanently. Discredited. And abandoned. Marvin Sparks say 'BUN! (burn/blaze fire on it/get rid)'"

(The above is a reworking of father Bob Marley's "War" - a Haile Selassie I speech)

I'd guess many blacks are for Black History Month, but whenever mentioned it's mostly people screaming for abolishment. Most say it's a waste of time for reasons such as lack of events, knowledge and awareness, while many say "Why just a month? It should be all year round."

A part of me agrees with the latter. It does kinda sideline black history like it doesn't contribute to the rest of history. I definitely agree with the former in that nothing really happens and what does happen is pretty pointless. We get a few black programs; usually controversial/degrading about skin bleaching or whether we're thicker than the rest of the world. Or why we're so dysfunctional while everyone else lives in harmony - that's a popular one.

I don't agree with abolishment. I don't think we're at that point in life where we will get any coverage without it. We can't even get a black show on TV on par with stuff in the 90s when there was a Multicultural Programs Department. I remember studying a smidgen of black history at school during the month. I'll get onto what we learnt a bit later in the post, but I know the curriculum would rather tell us about kings and queens and the Great British empire centuries ago than modern history, let alone history of the blacks. No, I'm not saying we shouldn't learn about the Britain's history before anyone jumps to conclusions. I would have liked to learn more about post-World War's though.

So, going back to why I hate black history month: why does it centre around the Yanks? That's all we learnt along with slavery. Like, yeah, big up on your civil rights movement and all that, one love et cetera, but I am a British-born, Jamaican, stolen from Africa (in father Bob Marley's voice again). What does American civil rights history have to do with me when there are people with similar backgrounds to me that don't even know why their grandparents/great-grandparents came to this country?

Martin Luther, Malcolm X, woman on bus are cool stories bro, how did they fight for my rights? (I can't even remember the bus woman's name right now and I won't Google it because I like to keep this real as I write it. I'll definitely remember it in a second, but this is how much she means to my life.) What about Marcus Garvey? Patrice Lumumba? Kwame Nkruma and all the other African revolutionists?

I believe someone like Doreen Lawrence's story one of great British significance. Time will tell if she gets a mention in the future. For those reading internationally, Jamaican-born Doreen's 18-year old son Stephen was murdered by up to 5 white men in a racially-motivated attack in southeast London. It took longer than Stephen's lifetime (just under 19 years) for two of the accused five to be convicted following a change in the double jeopardy law. During Doreen relentless fight for justice, we found out about the police's disgraceful work on the case and exposed institutional racism in the police - something the black community always suspected.

I condensed a really long and complex story into a paragraph there. Alternatively, wikipedia is quite cool to check for the story. Also, I spoke with UK rapper Ty about Stephen Lawrence's legacy in the video below on the 18th year anniversary of his passing. He sums up what it was like back then, the initial reaction of the black community, how the story developed and police & blacks relationship since then really well. Check it for a more in-depth look.

I did the interview because I felt the story had been forgotten. Months later it grabbed headlines following the arrests of Gary Dobson and David Norris. Factual programs celebrating both father Neville, but more so Doreen's resilience and determination against all odds, proving she's a real modern day heroine.

I remember when popular soap EastEnders blacked out (all-black cast) and spoke about the Notting Hill race riots in 1958. That was the first time many of us even heard about it! You imagine this; a soap which has no reason to provide factual information whatsoever is the first time a whole new generation are exposed to our history. That make sense?

A little video about the riots below

A longer video about the riots

But we know about the sit-ins and that stuff 1000s of miles away, yet nothing about something up the road? And that's one of a few race-related riots/struggles many have no idea about.

May all seem minor until you realise the worship  and blind sheepism of black popular culture in America, no matter how negative it may actually be (materialism, worship of money...).

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:
“It’s just what we grew up listening to,” agrees Fem Fel, adding “we grew up listening to it when we were having good times, when we were in a club… and 50 Cent or whoever else is talking… it wasn’t used in a derogatory way.” The rapper justified its use in his own music, arguing: “I don’t know who it offends anymore… It doesn’t offend my peers, I don’t know how it could offend white people… so that’s why I use it.”  - says UK rapper Fem Fel on whether using the N-word perpetuates racsim [SOURCE].
Or chatting wet (haven't used that in an extremely long time. I didn't want to swear/say "sh*t* though) about America like it's black people's heaven whilst devaluing their own valuable history and culture.

Misplaced youths, nihilism and materialism are common theories for "black-on-black" (stupid term) youth crime and when the riots happened. Well, how about educating black British people by letting them know who they are, where they come from, why they're here and what people that look like them who may have faced certain obstacles have made good of their life?

I mean, the recurring images of hoodies and crime seem to have an effect. Especially when we look around and see the most successful man on the ends is a round-the-clock roadside pharmacist or good with magic and numbers in bank accounts. When I say successful, I mean big cars, name-brand clothes and nice jewelery. You know, the only way to judge success.

I read a blog post on Monday about shadeism. Pretty interesting. One of the interviewees suggested there's more of a problem with blacks not loving dark-skinned blacks in the UK than US. While
The presence of black people of varying shades in the US media is argued to be much more prominent, with Juliyaa, Isha, Thaniya and Haris all suggesting that the US tends to give a much more balanced view.

“I think there’s probably more black middle class and darker women who are quite pro-blackness and stuff in America,” Juliyaa suggested, “but I don’t think that’s really happened here yet. I don’t think Britain has had its revolution yet.”
is excrement to a certain degree (pro-blackness? America in 2012? Yeah? Aight then). The fact she says "probably" leads me to believe she probably doesn't think it's factual. Yes, there is a black middle class (like we have here to a lesser degree), she isn't too sure if they are pro-black "and stuff" (whatever that means) in my opinion. And we may not have had our revolution, but we didn't have segregation like them, therefore smaller battles. We did fight them though, they just haven't been celebrated.

Black Yanks love a red bone, yellow bone or high caste Latino much more than a dark-skinned natural black woman. Listen to rappers lyrics and watch their videos. But this goes back to UK blacks thinking Yank is heaven for the blacks. And re: varied shades, high caste black women represent black women most of the time. I don't remember actresses like Nia Long and Gabrielle Union in any/many blockbusters. More black women in public eye in USA than here doesn't mean they appreciate all types 'cos I know Kim Kardashian could never be a black woman.

She went on to suggest that this may be due to the fact that colour is so enmeshed in American history, generations of fighting for equality and progression that hasn’t particularly occurred in the UK – “that’s probably why we don’t have a sense of blackness, a sense of heritage like they do,” she concluded. [SOURCE]
is spot on. For all the flaws in their culture and lack of morals, there are two things you can't not rate about Yanks; blacks celebrate their culture and black American history is part of American history. Our black history in the UK is black American history lol.

Most of us are from Caribbean and Africa, not America, so why don't we learn about leaders of our regions? Most were former Great British colonies, so learning about how our countries gained independence? Who our prime ministers were? Struggles in our countries. Great leaders, empires and influential figures? Or is it only alright if they were gunned down? And did we not exist before slavery then? This in turn helps everyone. Same for Indian history. This may all possibly be too much for history, so may be some kinda social studies course instead of some other course like Design and Technology.

So, that rounds up what I'm calling "Bun Heathens Month" until we get Black OURstory Month. I have three other concepts in my head to write about at the moment. Will probably condense two into one. But anyway, stay tuned.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Starboy Nathan's X-Factor exit - TweeteReview

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Nathan has to go through




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No comment.. Smh -Factor

Ouch. U got to feel for Nathan

Nah, that's dread...


She said no to Nathan. Oh shiiiiiiit

OMG I actually screamed!!! Poor thing.

I don't think I've ever wanted anyone to got through as much as I wanted Nathan to go through...

Na but we knew Nathan wasn't getting through. I genuinely feel sad for him. Genuinely.

Nathan's career is now dead. Nicole you bitch!!!!

Aww I feel for Nathan. Go on The Voice! 

You mean to tell me they gonna put one of these two through over Nathan!?! PISSTAKE!! For Nathan's sake I hope it ain't pum pum shorts dude.

The devil is a liar. Rylan is through.

I just can't...

Nah, how could Nicole do that though, seriously?

Nah, it pisses me off that talented black artists like Nathan are constantly overlooked on shows like this. Its deep he been had to auction

Nathan played himself going on X Factor. He had status and a name all he did was make every1 know hes fell off. Smh

Imagine Nathan at home watching this with his family. Utter disgust

That said, BEST segment of the NIGHT. Rylan is giving me his BEST Sunset Beach dramatics. 

Nah Rylan through I'm done looooooooooooooooool

As amusing as Ryland is, choosing him over Nathan? Really? X-Factor really is the pisstake of life! 

No wonder Lewis Hamilton keeps dumping her! She's making the wrong decisions man! Man dress like Delilah & got through ya nah!

Think about what we have just witnessed. Nathan who can sing and been doing this for years out for a camp dude who said "Ibiza lets av it"

Tinnie didn't support Leanne and Ne-yo didn't give it up to Nathan. You see the problem... Or is it me?

Big up Nathan. Got free exposure to millions of new people! 

I'm not sure about this PR talk for Nathan. If he dropped a diss tune for Nicole, JAHman & Rylan maybe but failing that I don't see it

Nathan's  rejection is just symptomatic of a wider issue within the UK music industry though ..

Nathan is going to need a pretty big umbrella to protect him from all this shade he is gonna get! 

RT  X factor is the same every year. They pick who will pull in the most ratings. It's defo TV Ratings > Vocals for them <-- p="p" this.="this."></-->

A wildcard? Why not just call it the 'Annual 13th place?' 

He's NOT even LOOL RT : RT : I bet Nathan is a wild card. I BET YOU ANY MONEY!

Oh no. He didn't even get the wild card.

Nathan didnt even get a bring back parrrrrrrr


Adam, Adam as your wildcard Nicole. Your not serious!!!

NEW VIDEO:  explains why he entered X Factor WATCH NOW 

Damn! Nathan didn't even make wildcard option

Wildcard... And a man still wasn't selected. This is peak.

So they didn't even choose Nathan as a wild card? Kmt

Punks they didn't even want to put Nathan through as a life line

OUUUCH Nathan is not even a wildcard. *Closes Laptop* 

Nathan didn't even get the wild card? Nicole Sherzinger is taking the piss

RT : Imagine your watching Take Me Out next week and Nathan comes down the elevator, fark • KMT. SWITCH OFF YOUR PHONE. NOW

U know what with all the Nathan uproar I personally feel Rough Copy got bumped badly by X Factor

Anyone sending for Nathan on twitter, SHAME on YOU! That includes RT'ing negative tweets without a disclaimer. 

Yo  dnt watch nutum bro. Its things like that that help u write great songs wen u channel the emotion. Head up bro. God bless

I think starboy Nathan wants to be a superstar, maybe why he keeps failing. Maybe he should want be a great artist. My uneducated opinion.

I used to think I wanted to be a popstar when I first got signed. I realised very quickly, me and dem are not the same. It's not in me.

I hope Nathan comes out with a BANGING tune & watch how many of you guys love it off smh

Nathan didn't mess around did he! New track just landed in my inbox.. Lets have a listen

If u wanna kno why I did X-factor watch this 

Starboy Nathan talks about entering X Factor • BIG UP NATHAN FOR THIS. HE SPOKE THE TRUTH. YOU HAVE TO RATE THAT

Shout to  for the video! Celebrities are made and stars are born. Never forget that homie!