Wednesday, 28 February 2007


This movie portrays the harsh reality of the campaign to stop the slave trade during the 19th Century in Britain, by focusing on the life of abolitionist William Wilberforce. Two characters that are depicted in the film are Olaudah Equiano (played by Youssou N'Dour) and William Wilberforce (played by Ioan Gruffudd). The UK release date is the 23rd of March.

History behind the film:

Equiano was just 11 when he was stolen from Nigeria and brought to America to become a slave. Equiano became capable of reading and writing English as his owner educated him. Eventually Equiano was able to buy his own freedom with £40 he had saved up. Once he resided in London he got involved with the abolitionist movement.
William Wilberforce, who is the leading character in the film, was a British politician and abolitionist who lead the parliamentary campaign against slavery.

To view the Amazing Grace trailer

Saturday, 24 February 2007


February is Black History Month in the USA and Ebony Magazine has launched a campaign to “convince everyone –White and Black –that, in the future, no one should use the ‘N-word’ in any form or fashion, or for any reason.”

N*gger is a racial slur used to insult and degenerate black people. Although in present times the use of the word is frowned upon by society, it was commonly used before the civil rights movement of 1954.

Ebony is not the first to start such a campaign, as Ban The N-word (BN-W) was set up in 2004 and aims to: “Put an end to the widespread acceptance and use of this insulting, derogatory, degrading, demeaning, malicious, venomous, debilitating, and self-defeating word.”

BN-W dismisses claims that the use of the N-word amongst black people is a form of endearment. They deem the use of the word as “a passively slick form of psychological, social, mental, and spiritual abuse. It’s unfathomable, but many people have actually become immune to hearing the N-word – not good at all.”

BN-W presents their argument by making reference to other derogatory words such as kike, hooknose, wetback, spic, honky, cracker, paleface, peckerwood, blue-eyed devil, dago, wop, greaseball, guinea, chink, slant-eyes, and gook and the organisation highlights that no one refers to themselves in such a way. Also the organisation pinpoints the fact that the above words are not prominently featured on TV, radio, songs etc unlike the word N*gger.

American comedian Paul Mooney although formerly an advocate of the N-word; has stated he will no longer use the word and other people shouldn’t either, the comedian remarked: "I'm gonna stop using it. I'm not gonna use it again and I'm not gonna use the 'B word.' And we're gonna put an end to the 'N word.' Just say no to the 'N word.' We want all human beings throughout the world to stop using the N-word”. He also stated: "It's not an equal opportunity word and it's not a very nice word."

Rap artists like N.W.A (N*ggaz With Attitude) advocate the use of N*gga instead of N*gger. The use of N*gga has become a trend amongst black and non black youth, due to the mainstream popularity of Hip Hop.

Those who advocate the word’s use claim there is a difference between N*gga and N*igger. For example rapper Tupac Shakur once stated: “N*ggers was the ones on the rope, hanging off the thing; n*ggas is the ones with gold ropes, hanging out at clubs."

Friday, 23 February 2007


Racist gunman John Laidlaw, 24, was sentenced to life today. The BNP (British National Party) supporter promised to “kill all black people.”

He shot office worker Sheridan as she waited on a tube platform by mistake, as he was actually aiming for Evans Baptiste, 22, who is black. He then ran off through the station firing bullets and terrifying commuters.

30 minutes before this incident Laidlaw attempted to kill social worker Abu Kamara, 44, in Islington after he was merely brushed by a bag. He then pulled out his gun and shot father of three, Abu Kamara in the neck.

Laidlaw’s victim Sheridan was not seriously wounded however Abu Kamara still has the bullet stuck in his neck as Doctors fear removing it may leave him paralysed.

Laidlaw was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and has to serve a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Innocent victim Abu Kamara stated: “This has left me mentally messed up.”

This incident illustrates that gun crime is not a problem specific to the black community, it involves everyone. It also shows how easy it is to obtain a gun and it raises the question of where are these weapons coming from.


Yesterday’s peace march organised by Pastor Nimms Obunge, of Peace Alliance was attended by thousands as a protest against gun crime.

Members of the public, faith leaders, senior police officers and community group representatives walked two miles from Peckham to Brixton.

Lee Jasper, chief executive of the Independent Advisory Group to Operation Trident commented that the march had restored black people’s pride.

Alex Emaviwe, 20, who was present at the march stated in the London Paper: “I’m here because I want to stand together with my brothers and sisters.”

Thursday, 22 February 2007


Prime Minister Tony Blair and home secretary John Reid hosted the gun crime summit today at Downing Street. Those who attended included senior police officers and community leaders.
At the meeting Tony Blair said he believed new legislation would be part of the solution to the gun crime problem. He stated that he acknowledged that there had to be various community efforts, however he also added that if the law wasn’t toughened up then this could send out a message of "complacency".
Mr Reid told the summit: "We will review the age sentencing element and look at bringing in a gang and aggravating element in any offence when it comes to sentencing.

However some of the community leaders present did not agree that tougher legislation was the answer.

Pastor Nims Obunge, head of the church group Peace Alliance, said: "Legislation is not the way forward. We may be raising urban child soldiers.”

Pastor Obunge also hosted a “Peace March” From Peckham to Brixton this evening. The march was backed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, MPs, the police and leaders of all faiths. Pastor Obunge stated: “The message the community is sending out is, ‘Enough is enough’. These people are killing Londoners and it has to stop now.”

These two events have been held as a response to the fatal shootings of five Londoners (three school boys and two men) which have taken place this month alone.

Soul singer and What not to wear host, Mica Paris has personally suffered from the effects of gun crime as her brother Jason Phillips, 21, was killed in 2001. She stated: “We have to go out onto the streets and rescue our kids and bring them back home”, she then went on and said “You have to teach them right and wrong. Whatever you have to do to give them a moral structure, you have to do it.”

U21 England and West Ham footballer, Anton Ferdinand wrote in the London Paper about his experiences of growing up in Peckham and how he was saved from “the gangs clutches.” The Peckham born footballer remarked: “If I can fulfil my dream coming from the estate, so can they if they follow the right path.”

Wednesday, 21 February 2007


This month has seen the fatal shootings of four Londoners, three of which were in their teens and of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity. James Smartt-Ford, 16, was shot and killed at Streatham ice rink on the 3rd of February. Michael Dosunmu, 15, was murdered in his home in Peckham on the 6th of February. The third teenage killing was of Bill Cox, 15 who was also shot in his home in Clapham on the 14th of February.

The deaths of these black youngsters have catapulted the issue of gun crime in the black community to a national level. Amid claims of this recent wave and a drastic need for solutions, a lot of people are unaware that the black community has been fighting this battle for a long time. Trident was set up by the Metropolitan Police in order to tackle gun crime in the black community almost a decade ago (in 1998). It deeply puzzles me that it is only now the Government has felt the need to intervene, especially at a time when gun crime is actually on the decrease.

Deputy chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Cindy Butts was quoted as saying that there was “… over-representation of gun crime in black communities.” Possibly this ordeal could be viewed as a moral panic elevated by the media.

Tony Blair remarked "It is about a specific problem within a specific criminal culture to do with guns and gangs, which doesn't make it any less serious, incidentally, but I think it's important therefore that we address that actual issue."
Tony is considering lowering the age of the five year compulsory sentence for carrying a gun to the age of 17, whilst the current age is 21. He has also stated that he is thinking about criminalising gang membership and there will be a summit held tomorrow (22cnd Feb) at Downing Street to further discuss gun crime.

The Conservative party leader, David Cameron responded to the problem by focusing on family values and absent fathers, who he claimed needed to play a part in bringing up their kids.

Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats gave a more profound statement by stating “All young people should feel they have a stake in society - effective schooling, more engaged youth services and better community support are all needed to help young people escape the cycle of deprivation and gang culture."

In your opinion what are the causes of gun crime and what are your suggestions for tackling this problem?