What a start to the Year!The days are getting longer yet the early signs of spring are in the air. We’ve had the Oscars, the Bafta’s, controversy around both with Stormzy and Dave kicking up a storm, not to forget Black History Month USA which we have all embraced one way or other. Absolutely everyone is still reeling from the December elections whichever side you’re on. The dampener the elections put on Xmas has been very hard to recover from, London is just a bit quiet, the shops are too quiet reporting negative sales – no one who isn’t British born or of British born parentage feels at ease.Can we please not have another general election around Xmas!
We are pleased to report that preparations are already well underway for Windrush National Day 2020 (22nd June), and this year Joy Sigaud of Editions Lifestyle will collaborate with The Voice Newspaper to celebrate this wonderful event commemorating the Caribbean Diaspora who came to make a new life for themselves and their offspring from 1948 when their namesake the HMS Windrush made the first voyage with new settlers from the former colonies.As the applicants for grants eagerly await the announcement as to who has been approved, we look forward to a host of wonderful events.
Last year, in true inimitable Jamaican style, celebrations began in early June and continued right through to August with organisations, establishments, communities and individuals hosting events, talks, history lessons and just a good old fashioned “eat-up” with something to appeal to everyone with the Black Cultural Archives hosted a meaningful exhibition and entertainment on the grounds. We will post a list of key events for 2020 in the next newsletter.
Windrush Scandal Back to the forefront again…and what a mess! Too many issues are taking too long to resolve and as time goes by they become more and more complex for the victims.
The Jamaica 50 is just one example. Whilst other nationalities pack up their belongings and actuallymove “home” the plight of the Windrush deportees makes headlines almost daily once again, thanks to a team of vociferous lawyers, campaigners and journalists – Jacqui Mckenzie, Patrick Vernon and Amelia Gentleman to name but a few. What is the cost to the British taxpayer of keeping these victims incarcerated and then chartering a plane? Are they British subjects or not? Britain has a long history of exporting prisoners and criminals andJamaica, during early colonial times, was a main recipient of what was deemed undesirables from England as well as press ganged victims. It will be interesting to see in the Windrush Lessons Learned Review whether these deportations are founded in the roots of antiquated laws and practices; although it was the Labour government who implemented the legislationin recent times (2007). We do know that convicted criminals were being deported before the government’s Hostile Environment Policy. In the meantime, families are suffering whilst the breadwinners are incarcerated not knowing whether they will be deported or whether they have the right of abode to enjoy the benefits of being a British citizen without fear of deportation.
As the Jamaican government struggles to put on a brave face for the returnees, providing a bed for the night and thanks to charity workers providing some key advice , any Jamaican will tell you that there is no fanfare nor “welcome home”reception awaiting these returnees. There’s no Jamaican that will not hesitate to mention the shame and disgrace of the whole matter. These people do need the help of the champion campaigners in more ways than one.
As fires continued to rage in Australia, right through into the New Year it is somewhat disheartening to note how little mention was made of the Aborigines in spite of worldwide coverage and pledges towards restoration.
We’re sorry to see the departure of the Sussexes from the Royal Household and wish them well on their journey to make a new life for themselves, although we all know and understand the importance of recognising one’s roots.
Thank goodness, The Oval Four, representative of the many injustices perpetrated against black youths in the ’70swere finally exonerated and we all look forward to a fairer justice system for all, that all communities may have confidence in the judicial processes.
David Adjaye, the celebrated British-Ghanaian architect and undisputed leader in his profession continues to wow! Having just won yet another coveted prize, The 2020 Isamu Noguchi Award. For those who are travelling to the US, Washington DC is a must to visit the The NationalMuseum of African American History and Culture.
The recent UK-Africa summit was a much needed respite following the landslide general election Tory win as many communities continue to feel sidelined and even confused. Let’s hope that this new window of potential trade will open doors for many, not the few and the impact will be felt and benefitted by all communities. To find out more about trading withsub-saharan Africa contact https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade
London Fashion Week. As Corona Virus (Covid 19) continues to hit the headlines, affecting this year’s fashion season Editions’ Review is campaigning for a greater and more inclusive presence on the fashion scene. London is after all home to many flagship stores including the eponymous Chanel and it is heartening to see the young black men purchasing their trainers, bags and tops.
Spotlight on some black fashion designers who are making waves in the industry:
Grace Wales Bonner, aCentral Saint Martin’s alumni, founded the London-based label in 2014. Bonner designs to redefine notions of black masculinity and Britishness, whilst connecting with creatives across the African diaspora.She has received multiple awards including: the L’Oreal Professional Talent award 2014, Emerging Talent Award at the 2015 British Fashion Awards, the 2016 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, and the British Land London emerging design medal in 2018.Bonner has since expanded her label, with high profile individuals including Meghan Markle who made her post-baby debut in a sleeveless white tailored trench coat.
Menswear designer Martine Rose has become a menswear cult favourite since 2007. After graduating from Middlesex University in 2007, she launched her own label. The self-titled label pulls inspiration from the 90s rave and hip-hop culture. Rose’s upbringing in South London and Jamaican heritage is heavily showcased in the label’s aesthetic. The menswear designer has become an international name her suiting and streetwear is stocked locally and internationally at Matches Fashion, Machine-A, Barneys New York and Dover Street Market.
British-Nigerian Tolu Coker is a Fashion Designer, Textile Designer and Illustrator. The unisex fashion brand is centred on inclusivity, diversity and sustainability. Coker expresses her identity throughout her work by embracing dual heritage and cultures. Her designs merge artisan craftsmanship with design technology. She adds personal prints, embellishments and old family photos with some pieces being inspired from extracts from her Father’s diary (he was part of the British Black Panthers in the 1980s). Coker was named the Merit Award winner of Fashion Scout 2019.
Since Mowalola Ogunlesi’s 2017 Central Saint Martins graduation show entitled “Psychedelic,” her skills have been in demand. Influenced by the 70s and 80s, Lagos, Nigerian rock music, hand-painted tight leather trousers and high cut jackets. Her approach is pan-Africanism, a celebration of the black African male his culture and desires. Ogunlesi’s bar is set high, dressing various celebrities including Naomi Campbell. She produced two collections for Fashion East plus for Barbie’s 60th anniversary she was commissioned to design a dress for the iconic toy brand. Her rising success is commercially prevalent and she is already stocked at Ssense, Depop and Dover Street Market.
The National Theatre production ofThree Sisters after Chekov’s iconic characters were relocated to Nigeria in a bold adaptation, was met with resounding success as black talent continues to be recognised in theatre productions. We’re delighted to see the National Theatre continue to push boundaries appealing to and drawing in diverse audiences and traditional theatre goers alike.
Masculinities, Liberation Through photography is the new must see exhibition at the Barbican, exploring how masculinity is experienced through certain lens. A group exhibition bringing together over 300 works by over 50 artists it covers sensitive and and a wide range of issues from 1960s to the present day. Thought provoking.
More in brief…
Baroness Scotland continues to raise her profile after the recent nepotism scandal. Having served just one term as Secretary General of the Commonwealth, we eagerly wait to see whether she will be re-elected for a second term… don’t hold your breath!
Mylie Cyrus settles $300m lawsuit, out of court , with Jamaican artist Michael May. We don’t know the final figure that was agreed.
London Half Marathon Run, the Flip Fraser Foundation running to raise funds for the Black Heroes Foundation on 1st March 2020. We’ll be cheering them on.
The hugely popular Ballet Black is premiering a double bill at the Barbican with Then orNow and The Waiting Game 26th to 29th March with a post show talk.on the 27th. Tickets are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspiration from Africa:
Inventor and child prodigy. At just 13 Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone also known as DJ Focus a self-taught engineer designed a system to provide power to the houses in his neighbourhood with batteries made out of acid, soda and metal in a tin cup. He then went on to build his own generator from discarded pieces of metal scrap, generators and batteries. Having lectured at Harvard and speaking at various events in the United States, Kelvin, under the name DJ Focus he continues to broadcast news and plays music to audiences in Sierra Leone. Born in 1996 he is now 24 years old.
Corona Virus Worldwide (Covid 19) The fear of the virus is fast becoming a virus in itself.
Corona Virus Jamaica Earlier this month February 2020 Kamina Johnson-Smith Foreign Minister for Jamaica announced that “…on strong recommendation not to proceed with the repatriation of Jamaicans from Wuhan…at this time.” I’m guessing, they’ll just have to wait it out!
15 years in slavery, Nakout, a mother of three, is kidnapped from her bed in the middle of the night in Uganda, used as a sex slave then manages to escape to Finland after 15 years. 7000 km away from her family she has now made contact and hopes to be reunited with them very soon. Slavery is as harsh and brutal as it ever was and as an international community we all need to be more vigilant. See UNHCR link below for full story.