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Dr Dr Akala @akalamusic
, 14 tweets, 3 min read 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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