Was The Hate U Give, given enough love?

demonstrations, livingroom, politics, protests, review, society

****SPOILER ALERT*****.

This post is really for anyone who has seen the film, read the book or is not planning to do either.

The Hate U Give is a powerful film but has the book’s original message been scarificed for commercial backing. For me, it was the incredible performances,  rather than the writing and direction of the adaptation that stole the show.

I left the cinema teary eyed but with a distinct Pepsi Max after taste and a thirst to read the book.

APR05_LEE_POST02

After a couple of chapters, it was clear that the plot had been dramatically simplified and the core theme of racial injustice played down making gang influence the predominate malfactor to the storyline.

Poverty, race, family and love are not simply black or white, good vs bad affairs.   Even with a teen audience in mind, the simplistic retelling is a missed opportunity to explore the issues that are killing our society.  Considering the choice of screen writer,  best known for writing George of the Jungle, production and distribution companies- I question how deliberate that choice was.

There are always ommissions and changes in film adaptations, but changes should be made for artistic not political reasons.

In the book for example, Uncle Carlos (A black police detective) concludes that HE WOULDN’T have shot the victim, but in the film, he said he WOULD.

I can’t see how this change, which undermines the #blacklivesmatters cause, could ever be justified. Especially thinking about Thomas’s motivation behind writing the book.

In the story, the officer murdered a 17 year old boy based on his perceived fear of a young black man.  These fears have been deliberately cultivated by society to criminalise black identity and are maintained and reinforced by systematic racism. 

By editing out the uglier side of our boys in blue, it’s not just an injustice to the fictional characters of Garden Heights, but the lives of the thousands of innocent people who have had their life stolen by an officer’s foot, fist or barrel.

Many people do hate the police.  But the hate that killed the victim was the hatred and misrepresentation of black people in our society.  A point that I think the film underplayed, particulary with a speech given by the main character.

“…It’s us, we are the ones full of hate!..”

And that’s where the story ends.  The community comes together, “snitching” on the gang leader to see him incarcerated.

Apparently, not wanting to “snitch” is the reason for gangs in communities –  not the lack of employment opportunities, education, access to healthcare or substandard social housing.

The end has no mention of the continued police brutality either.  Another deviation from the book.

This film is being lauded as a bold, policital statement about the Black Lives Matter movement- but that better describes the book than the film.

Screenshot_20181029-202351_Samsung Internet.jpg

Joyfully, the film is a beautiful depiction of a black family and at the very least,  a great starting place for discussion about the more complex issues.

BH xx

 

If you would like to challenge police brutality in the UK, the United Friends and Family Campaign work to challenge, hold to account and end deaths in custody.

http://uffcampaign.org/

 

 

 

THUG LIFE X

 

Why the Government needs PREVENT training.

demonstrations, education, livingroom, london, politics, protests, society, Wednesday writing prompt

Figures released today show that hate crime has risen in the last couple of years.  This comes as no surprise to anyone who has undertaken PREVENT training recently.

PREVENT is part of the Government’s counter terrorism initiatives which aims to prevent people from turning to terrorism.

The hypocracy of the iniative however, is hard to swallow.

Prevent is founded on the idea of protecting “British Values”. But how can the Government talk of mutual respect and tolerance being British Values? The former Foreign Secretary makes derogatory comments about Muslim women, the Home Office issue hostile immigration policies, and the Brexit campaign was based on scapegoating and falsehoods not dissimilar from Zach Goldsmith’s vile campaign for London mayor.

To be taken seriously, British Values should be heralded as HUMAN values- a way of life that we ALL need to follow especially by NOT except for the Government.  Then we could all work towards “protecting” them.

If the Government wants to prevent extremism in this country, perhaps it should explore the underlining issues causing the breakdown of our society, which results in the rise of hate crimes and other forms of terrorism.

Could you imagine the change it would make to “global terrorism” if the UK changed foreign policy away from the colonial dominance and resource grab approach, to a perspective that respects the rights and sovereignty of other (non white) countries and territories.

Imagine if the Government chose to invest in education, NHS, housing: restored workers rights, legal aid, scrapped employment tribunal fees and improved work conditions. The Far Right grooming cries of “They’re takin’ all ‘r jobs and hosital beds..” just wouldn’t have the same gravitas.

Imagine if the Government didn’t propagate and pander to media scapegoating and properganda about immigrants.

What a simple way to reduce the isolation and abuse that members of our society face due to their religion, skin colour or immigration status.  A way to build unity and community rather than fraction society.

But that is all very John Lennon. (Imagine)

But scapegoats are always useful.  So rather than irradicating the causes of fear and anger – we have PREVENT.

PREVENT with an approximate annual budget of £46 million.

That money partly used to “train” professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers etc to report any “vulnerable individuals” to local Government.  All the training in the world though, still leaves the system highly susceptible to personal bias.  Especially in a scapegoat saturated society.

Ask the average person to describe a “terrorist”.  You could probably accurately guess the description…

brown skin

beard

Very few would describe:

white skin

football shirt

and a pint of beer in hand…

So it is no surprise that in the PREVENT system there is a huge discrepancy between reports of Islamist terrorism concerns compared with Far Right reports. (Please note that every individual deemed requiring support is investigated by the police…)

Which is particularly condemning when you look at the current hate crimes statics which show a 50% increase in the rise hate crimes towards Muslims. Yet Muslim individuals are by far the largest group indentified and investigated under PREVENT. Something just isn’t working.

So yes of course I will continue to safeguard and prevent any harm to the upmost of my ability.  I only hope we elect a new government that will do the same.

If you want to help prevent the rise of The Far Right join the protest Saturday 17th November 2018 in central London.

 

 

 

 

The Mirror Cracked Black Mirror Series 4 Review

livingroom, reviews

I have to set the scene properly for this review.  We have to go back to the age of terrestrial television. No Uber, or swiping left for love, no Netflix n chillin, pre Facebook was your friend, Barack Obama was still POTUS and Trump was just a capitalist thug with power, time and money on his hands.  This was 2011, the year first series of Black Mirror aired and tramatised us all.  After watching the first episode (and then having to wait each week for the next episode- imagine) I remember having that back of the haunting feeling I experienced after first reading 1984.

Daniel Kaluuya plays the lead in 15 Million Merits Episode

Daniel Kaluuya plays the lead in 15 Million Merits Episode

The White Bear episode stalked my thoughts for months.  I was left questioning, society, my behaviour and how on earth Charlie Brooker could see and predict society with such clarity.

black-mirror-twists-white-bear

Jump forward a couple of seasons and a president and I hardly recognise the programme.  The excellent acting and diverse casting are still there but the morality tales have become more like fairy tales.  The brilliance of the previous series was the inability to be judgemental: Black Mirror was in the grey area of morality –

You asked questions that had no clear cut answers.

You wondered how many steps away you were from making the same choices.

You compared your behaviour to that of the characters.

But the most recent series posed none of these questions.  It has become Black Mirror’s insta account- it wanted to be liked.  The series has gone from a thought provoking self reflection of modern society to a piece of entertainment that we can easily distance ourselves as post reaction clips to youtube. #didyouseeblackmirror

San junipero

Gugu Mbatha- Raw and Mackenzie Davis in San Junipero

However, that’s not to say that I haven’t generally enjoyed watching the more recent episodes.  Even excluding season three classics like Nosedive and San Junipero there are still some stand out moments in season 4.

 

The Hang the DJ episode, a spin on online dating, left me with a warm fuzzy feeling inside after watching… Which is probably my point, we should look into the Black Mirror and be unnerved by the reflection.

Maybe we just live in such strange times that our reality really is more terrifying the TV.

I’ve probably risked invites to social gatherings for writing this.. but I dedicate the post to anyway who noticed it too but had no safe spaces to say it..😉

#WhatDoYouMeanYouDidn’tLike

Breaking Bad

BH xx

 

 

A letter of advice to Letterman

Celebrity, livingroom

I watched the first episode of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” on Netflix and was delighted and entertained by David Letterman interviewing former POTUS Barack Obama.  An incredibly insightful, funny and inspirational 60 minutes of my life well spent.  The next episode with George Cloney also brilliant.

The third episode however started to go down hill.  Letterman bumbled his way through an interview with Malala so badly, that it led me to wonder if Letterman’s researchers fully explained who the intelligent, dynamic woman sitting opposite him was?  Malala’s reserved nature seemed to expose Letterman’s lack of confidence and how heavily he had relied on the wit and charm of his former guests to carry the previous episodes.

This was confirmed for me when Brooklyn’s finest took the stage the following episode.  I chose the words “took the stage” deliberately as that’s exactly what Jay Z did.

From the start, rather than try to establish a rapport with his guest, Letterman seemed focused on establishing their differences.  Mr Carter practically interviewed himself. Dave meanwhile busy firing a barrage of questions to “understand” Jay Z: as if he were from another planet and speaking orthodox Klingon.

Letterman even asked about the beef between East coast and West coast  , unsuccessfully trying to coax Jay into naming and shaming s***e rappers.   Yes really…in 2018!

I’m not sure whether the insult to Jay- Z’s intellect or the irony of Dave talking about the pointless violence caused by the previous animosity and then trying to instigate a new one, irked me the most.

Actually – it was that through the whole interview there never seemed to be a point where Letterman was genuinely interested in any of the answers to his own banal questions.  It was all too scripted and focused on set ups for links to bizarre musical interludes.

Letterman just spiralled downwards as he continued to ask more questions related to his own personal life (and failings) than about the multi-platinum artist stroke billionaire entrepreneur in front of him.  And that’s the crux of the failure of the series.  Letterman has never quite recovered from his 2009 transgressions.  The show is a desperate attempt and opportunity for David Letterman to share HIS story and to convince the world that he is sorry for his past behaviour and ask for forgiveness.

So my word of advice to Letterman…

Let it go and move on  – the world has.  

 

Latest series of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction now available on Netflix

Black Panther vs Django Black Pain Vs Black Joy

livingroom

I remember having to revisit the local cinema three times before being able to purchase Django Unchained tickets. The story of a slave fighting for his freedom in Southern America by white director Quintin Tarantino was sold out for weeks.

Rave reviews and the Guardian ‘comments section’ had packed out my local cinema with white, middle class movie goers – keen to say they’d seen Quentin Tarintino’s latest controversial smash.

Jump forward six years, again I visit my local cinema to watch the latest ‘controversial’ box office smash with rave reviews… Black Panther.

The audience couldn’t have been more identical but their reactions so different.

I sat through Django feeling perplexed, angered and confused. My experience was in stark contrast to the general excitement and buzz in the dimly lit room filled with the predominately white audience.

Laughter came freely at jokes (even at times when there were none .. use of the N word for example). It was easy for the audience to dislike the villian, the dastardely “house slave” and cheer as Django achieved his freedom helped of course of course by the selfless sacrifice of his German ally.

Compare this experience to watching Black Panther.

I sat through Black Panther in a state of utter joy. My heart was full with the imagery and my brain busy noting all the references and nods to African history, culture, archeticture, religion and brilliance. The complete opposite from watching Django with it’s playground like plantations, dogs ripping men to death, fights to the death (with hammers) and the inconceivable idea that someone would want/be able to have sex with someone after spending a day in a “sweatbox“.

Back in Wakanda however, the political relevance beautifully became an irrelevant normality as the plot hooked me in and I simply enjoyed watching an awesome action movie.

I watched elated. Cheering, laughing and gasping as the plot dictated.

But I was very much an island in a cold and awkard sea.

My reactions (similiar to when I watched the “good” Avengers film) were alone.

The discomfort of the audience was palable. I imagine these were the same people cheering, laughing and gasping as the plot dictated during The Avengers (The good one).

Yet, the crowd was uncomfortable.

My guess is that simply: they were not used to seeing blackness in such a positive light and on it’s own terms.

Our society has created a world where some are more comfortable watching POC being abused or violently fighting to the death in “mandingo” fights than watching a black superhero save the world.

And if that isn’t a wake up call for the desperate need for better representation and diversity in the media and arts… I don’t know what is.

And it seems I am not in my opinion…

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/03/young-brixton-activists-recreate-film-posters-with-black-leads?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Shout out to these young people creating a change, not just talking about it. #legallyblackuk

So I ask you, what have you done today to create the change you wish to see?

BH xx

Love Without Limit

blogging

I never understood the freedom of homosexuality until my best friend of countless years introduced me to her girl friend.

Immediately I knew that my friend had fallen in love and that person happened to be a women. And although this may be incredibly obvious to others, for me homosexuality had always been about being attracted to your own sex. Which of course, for many is the simplicity and the reality of it.

But are both homos and hetros, missing out by limiting love to genitalia?

Does true unconditional love make gender irrelevant? Obviously, we generally aren’t just attracted to somebody because they are the same/opposite sex but I know I wouldn’t consider someone a possible love interest if they weren’t my prefered gender..

So I suppose the question is..

If you found somebody perfect for you, but they were not your usual/ preferred gender… Would you be open enough to love unconditionally or would you just pass them by?

Just some food for thought on this day we celebrate the ones we love.

Happy Valentines People 💗💗💗

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eYSbUOoq4Vg

I’m just not buying it

Nursery

I’ve decided I would like to rellocate to wherever the people defending H&M are from.
I’ve read comment after comment across social media by people stating they do not understand why people are getting so offended.

What a blissful existence they must have, to have never been exposed to the racist use of the word monkey.

I’d love my son to grow up in a place where black sports stars don’t have bananas thrown at them by the crowd or placed in their lockers by team mates.  Or basketball stars are compared to King Kong on the cover of fashion magazines.

A place where no one asks “Where’s your tail?” Or lets “f*&ing Monkey! ” slip during a heated exchange.  Or a child of colour is surrounded by peers in the play ground making monkey noises.

A utopia where history was not rewritten to depict native Africans as infantile savages needing supervision by European invaders.

So please H&M defenders, reach out and let me know where you all live.. I’m sure you’d welcome me as your new neighbour- wouldn’t you?

X https://youtu.be/epEQhxslprE

Cheers to the fall

livingroom

In March this year, I fell off my bike and completely shattered my forearm and shoulder.  Three hours of surgery, one metal plate, 9 pins and a stay in hospital later, I was discharged home.  Being “fairly young” (surgeons exact words), I was                    expected to make a full recovery.

Physically, the prognosis seemed likely.  I’m fairly healthy (my exact words) and not shy to exercise.   But I just wasn’t prepared mentally for the initial helplessness I felt after the injury and the impact that had on me psychologically. I had been confronted with the fragility of the human body.  My body.  My fragility. My mortality.

I had gone from being a mother and care giver, to needing someone to help me wash, bath, eat, do my hair and help me to look after my son.

In some ways as time progressed things got harder.   I walked in constant fear and hyper vigilance, permanently petrified that someone would bump into my arm.  With the sling gone, there was no visual clue to say “Please don’t barge me I’m injured”  (Which should be a general rule for all pedestrians – but like anyone who has walked the Brixton High Street gauntlet from the Tube station, past Iceland until H&M knows, it’s each person for themselves, buggy or shopping trolley during rush hour.)

Fear and vulnerability become your daily way of life and after a while it’s becomes a tough mindset to get out of.

Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by love and support.  Not just from my amazing friends and family, but with small acts of kindness from complete strangers.  People would stop and offer to tie my shoe laces for me, even when insisted I was fine, or hold a doors, bags or the bubba.  Once a Good Samaritan even carried my bags all the way to my door step.  Those acts of kindness made me remember the beauty of humanity and the resilience of the human spirit, inspiring me to find the strength to push past my fears.

So I’m proud to announce that this week was first time since my accident that I got back on a bike.  Physically, I could probably have done it a couple of months ago, but we are all on our own journeys and this time mine took a little bit longer.

So thank you 2017 for showing me the beauty of true friendship, humanity, my inner strength and teaching me that it doesn’t matter how
many times you fall off that bike- GET BACK ON! Xx

 

 

Tis the season..

bedroom

A royalist I am not.  In fact, I believe the whole idea of monarchy is an antiquated method of crowd control.

However..

Every time I see a picture of Meghan and Harry it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  

I see the ridiculous, barely veiled racism in the typical media outlets.  I hear the “concerned” LBC listeners, who fear poor Prince Hazza “Doesn’t really understand what he’s doing”. (Roughly translated as: “That American vixen has cast her spell over our innocent prince!”) But they really can’t take my joy on this one.

As a person of mixed heritage, it’s not even the thought of future mixed race princesses running around Buckingham Palace calling Queen Elizabeth “Great Grandma” that makes me smile.  

Ok yes it is a little bit..

..but they wouldn’t be the first black British Royals in history- nods to Queen Charlotte.  

#APortugueseMoorByAnyOtherName

And it’s only partly to do with the fact that I still remember Chelsea Davie Harry.. in all his Hitler saluting, safari hunting, tiki cocktail sipping splendour.

It’s just simply that they are so clearly in love and that’s giving me all kinds of feels xx

Merry Christmas Everyone 

https://youtu.be/9p__WmyAE3g

My grand tour… Walthamstow 

bedroom

When my doctor told me that I needed to reduce my stress levels, a day trip to Walthamstow probably wasn’t exactly the remedy she had in mind.  But after being lured to the urban suburb with the promise of a mani and invite to the Spa Experience bloggers event- that’s exactly where I headed..

And it turned out to be the perfect tonic!

Hopping off at the “other end” of the Victoria line, the Waltham Forest Centre was a five minute bus ride from Walthamstow Central.  Initially deceived by the centre’s outward facade, once I walked through the Spa centre’s double doors I was transported  into what I think could possibly be the largest (and most peaceful) spa relaxation area in London 🙂
After mingling with other bloggers (this is of course is code for swapping IG deets and discretely swiping the last pain au chocolate from the hospitality table) I robed up and headed straight for the sauna and steam rooms.

With squeaky clean pores, I then opted for a Vinylux manicure (as I loath the removal process with gels) and an Elemis Superfood facial.  Sam, my beautician, was friendly, bubbly and a perfectionist! My nails haven’t looked this ladylike since the bubba started walking and I definitely had that post facial glow..

And what a difference it made to my whole day!

Feeling refreshed and ready to face the world again, I decided to delay my journey home and explore E17 with an impromptu visit to the William Morris Gallery. Which turned out to be the perfect place to show off my new lady nails (it was only fair I pointed to each display and slowly nodded my head in a thoughtful manner) and it was also a perfect opportunity for a spot of quirky Christmas shopping.
And since I was in the area and feeling footloose and fancy free…

I popped into Gods Own Junk Yard– Yup from from 19th century arts and crafts movement to a Neon necropolis in about 10 mins.
So the moral of this post?
1. If you want energy to do more learn how to take some time out to do less…

https://www.spaexperience.org.uk/locations/waltham-forest?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIj-qSzeaQ2AIVjpPtCh37-g2mEAAYASAAEgIaZ_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
2. Never judge a postcode by a 90s boyband.

Jerk Season!!

kitchen, london

The title is so accurate in many different contexts #LookingAtYouTrump- but I am of course referring to this years Caribbean Food Week

The CFW festival will return to Windrush Square in Brixton on 26th – 28th of August 2017.

In warm up to the festival, I whipped up a couple of meals using Caribbean favourites with a vegan, high protein low fat twist. Ackee and Mixed Bean Mash up for breakfast, Red Pea & Greens Coconut Soup for lunch and Jerk Breadfruit and vegetables for dinner!

So if you’re also feeling inspired, adventurous or simply hungry you should definitely pay a visit to the festival this weekend….

…. then what better way to digest your meal then dancing the night away at Notting Hill Carnival x

Bank Holiday weekend sorted :- D

BH xx

For more information visit:

www.gracefoods.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/caribbeanfoodweek

@carribbeanfoodweek Instagram

And to get you in the mood 🙂

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sKNrCUHIPnM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What have you learnt from your biggest mistake?

livingroom, Wednesday writing prompt

I may not have had a lot of time (or mind space) to write in recent months but I’ve definitely had to do a lot of soul searching and reflecting, so when I saw this …

…. a blog post wrote itself (and then I had to rewrite it a million times 😉

Sometimes we choose the wrong path because we allow our deepest fears to guide us. When it all goes wrong we call it a mistake.

Some personal events this year have been horrendous…but sadly not unexpected. The cast may have switched roles, but the plot and lead remains the same.

The foreseeability of it all made me question myself. When an outcome is so predictable is it a mistake or a choice?

Sometimes we choose the wrong path because our ego whispers in our ear. When it all goes wrong we call it a mistake…but really we made a choice.

And the lesson?

That I can choose my own path and that decisions based on fear or ego will never lead to happiness

What is the best lesson your mistakes have taught you?

BH xx

the United State of mental health in the UK

society, Urban Living

Last month the UK government announced an increase in mental health funding by 1.3 billion.  This should be welcomed news, but I have my doubts.  The total disregard and intentional underfunding of the NHS means I can’t help but wonder whether this is just another tactic to stop us thinking about Grenfell or DUP rather then a true calling of the Conservative government…but on the positive, London  (Feel free to insert your town name here.) needs every extra penny it can get to tackle mental health issues.

You see London (Feel free to insert your town name here.) is a hotbed of insanity.  The fast pace, isolation, exhilaration, inequality, anonymity, poverty and riches make it a head fuck prime location.  Behind closed doors and touch screens people are falling apart.

If in any doubt, take an early morning stroll along Brixton High Street.  You’ll see that full blown, in your face, well recognised “madness”.    At the lights you’ll see Rough Looking Guy shouting at the top of his voice in the middle of the road, daring drivers to go on and kill him then.  Look to your left and see White Laydee (sic) a women in her fifties, with a white emulsion painted face perfectly colour matched to her white lace ballgown.  Hanging out on the corner you’ll see a lady I call “Elsa”, who, regardless of the weather, wears a bikini and so for most of the year must be frozen.

But when I think of the people above, I wonder whether there actions are a result of a clinical mental illness?  I don’t know their stories, or diagnosis’ but would there behaviour be classified in the DSM?  Or is it just that the pressures of life have been so traumatic that they just snapped and no longer wanted to play the game by the conventional rules?   The stresses and strains of living in London; (Feel free to insert your town name here.) with its austerity cuts, institutionalised racism, housing crisis, £7:00 coffees and food banks are immense.  With many Londoners struggling to “keep their heads above water”, are we always just one job restructure away from losing it?

So perhaps if the government is really dedicated to improving the mental health of the London and the nation as a whole,  it should look to healing a broken society crippled by uncertainty, fear, rising financial difficulties and debt.