Archive for August, 2013

THE CHRIS ROCK FILM “GOOD HAIR DAY” WAS AN EYE OPENER.( knew about the film and was reminded at a recent focus group and from an article in The Voice newspaper – Do Black women care more about their hair than their health.( In the film Chris Rock explores the world of hair and the black culture around it. As the journey unfolded I thought – real human hair, given freely by people at religious events in countries like India is sold on. Then black women are paying hundreds and even thousands of pounds or dollars for it to be added to their hair. That amazes and saddens me in a way. And the fact is that if the hair was from a black person, they would turn it away. But you are wearing human hair that once hung out on someone else’s head. There are only four Black owned hair companies in the U.S. it emerged during the film. All this money spent by the Black community is going to enrich Chinese companies.
Some of the men interviewed were talking about not being able to touch their partner’s hair. She (or he) spent so much on that style and you can’t mess with that. But in those hair styles I could see so much creativity and power.

The view of The Washington Memorial from The Lincoln Memorial, Washington.
Taken in 2004.(c Keith Stewart.)
Hearing President Obama talk about Martin Luther King Jr and his work and THAT speech made me smile. He calls King one of his heroes. King,the man who ensured the battle for civil rights was non-violent. A man who dreamt of there one day being a Black President. And here we have that President planning to attack Syria; who has deported more people than Bush; who sends drones to blow up his enemies (no trial needed) and hasn’t gained many air miles from travelling to Africa.
In a BBC news article it was beautiful to hear a young black boy saying how grateful he was for the work done by those who came before him. He was saying that he was going to make the most of the opportunities they opened. Proudly and with confidence he will march through that door of aspiration they left open.
Whenever I attend Black led events in the U.K. I hear so many Black people talking about what is wrong with Black people and the community. Why Black people aren’t this, that or the other. How we don’t have a Black leader. We need a Black T.V. station But they seem to be doing nothing about it. They are able to wax lyrically and run down their community and therefore themselves. In many ways we are replaying the racist’s dream. We are continuously living out for the master the basic goals of slavery. Divide and conquer. Teach the slave to own their lack of worth. Then reinforce that at every move, so the enslaved can do it for themselves.
I am going armed next time – – a site with great examples of Black British achievers.
At some point I have to say – that’s part of my history but it is not my identity now. It is not all of who I am. Most of all I won’t let it define me now.
MAHATMA GHANDI (1869-1948).


What an eventful week -reflective and creative. I am keeping to my target and writing something each week. Almost got some work in Italy but turned out I am too old. 54 and over the hill. It’s all cocoa and slippers now. 


I read the book – The poem of the Cid – an easy read.Thrilling in a way as I could see images from the film and hear the voices of the knights. Heroes and villains well presented. But the main thing is – I read a book. I usually am reading newspapers and magazines. I was inspired to sort my own books out and pull out those with a Black theme – same with the videos and dvd’s. 
Now I have the books out that I haven’t read on one shelf. When I look at my bookshelf the books, dvd’s, videos are there and inspire me. I was surprised how many books with that theme I had and how many I had already read. 

I pulled out IC3 – The Penguin book of new black writing in Britain (ISBN- 0-241-14047-1. New in 2000 when I bought it and now my next read. I have a Kindle but the feel of a real book and real pages to turn is a greater experience. 

I am going to the Afro Comb exhibition in Cambridge
( to see the 6,000 years of MY culture, politics and identity. And see what it can show me in 2013. And I am going to reignite the Black Men’s Group in Brighton. 
There’s a need for some work on getting people registered to vote, educated about the political world and then get them out there to vote. Especially ethnic groups, disabled and older people. Those who are harshly affected by many political events but never consulted. I have been buzzing with ideas there all week. It’s great when your brain comes out of hibernation.


Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – taken on the way up in 2005.(c Keith Stewart)


Unlike the summer. The Bank Holiday weekend is here and with it the nights getting darker earlier. That was summer that was.

But it’s not ALL over. The butterflies still swoop around and the flowers still flower so there’s still lots to be done and enjoyed.


Brighton Beach with the Old Pier in view. (c Keith Stewart)



I attended a good Editors Forum with the Voice newspaper
( and filmed by Star TV for the popular Voice online forum.  The title for the discussion, which will be aired as part of Dawn’s show on Star TV – “Is Labour losing the black vote”. The Voice is the only Black British newspaper and with a 30 year history has a strong reputation. The Managing Director and Editor, George Ruddock opened the event with a breakdown on the newspaper’s research and a lead article the Voice just published under the title.

On the same day I saw an article at last about Labour. I was under the impression they had moved to another country by their immense silence this summer. Billboards telling illegal immigrants they will be kicked out and black people being stopped at tube stations. Not a word from Labour. The article showed pictures of Ed Milliband being pelted with eggs – the thrower – angry because Labour has neglected to fight for poor people.

That’s the state of the opposition. I don’t know what Labour stands for. I know they will do many of the same things as the Tories if they came to power. Cuts are inevitable. The Welfare system has to be reformed. Immigration tackled. But Housing is needed – critical. And Labour offers….?

I don’t feel Labour is fighting for anything or anyone. They seem to me lazy, laid-back vacationers – the fear is the fight will become internal and they implode. Allowing the other parties to continue to write the agenda. And with a  media that is so biased towards the Tory agenda that doesn’t help.

Todays Politicians are on a career path and have no vocation. No real grounded values. New Labour like the New Conservatives are modern day media fads. They move to where the latest Focus Group goes. Photo opportunities galore.

But I believe someone standing and speaking with heart, conviction, eloquence and facts could battle all of that. They could inspire and energise a debate. A debate that will bring out more facts. A debate that could be more nuanced than – send them all back.And our Politicians need to be the people doing this – fighting and becoming the onslaught for right, justice and the “British” way.

Yes Labour is losing but they haven’t lost. They need to believe that they WILL win and fight for us. They need to find and fulfill their destiny. Like Bush, Cameron, Johnson, Obama –  like them or not, they had a clear destiny in their head.

I want Labour to fight for and create jobs, build houses, a fair and empowering Welfare State and a fair place for immigrants.

How can Labour win the black vote?



Preparations for the Queer in Brighton:Differences, Places and Histories conference on 18th September are going well. I am excited to have been accepted to deliver my workshop on “What’s queer got to do with me” and getting lots of help from contacts and friends. My first ever such an event and I am excited about how to get a good debate going.
I am also pleased to be here and writing – keep it up.

It has been a week of rest and work. Watching old films – Cinema Paradiso and Carry on regardless. Finding new comedies – Up all night. And of course the regulars – Big Bang Theory.

I am sure there are world shaking events to worry about but I can’t find them at the moment.



Hello again.
Lots of water under the bridge – especially with these summer showers.
New Royal baby – joy.

Catching ALL those immigrants at the tube stations – and bearing down on the disabled, unemployed and poor – the signs of a true Democracy. And the “caring” face of Conservatism.(although it seems their coalition partners have nothing to do with it all)
0.6% growth in the economy being paid for by poor and ordinary people – the squeezed middle. Who didn’t cause the problems in the first place. While the rich stay rich. And that is the equation of capitalism.

Just got approval for my workshop at the Queer in Brighton: Life stories, Histories and Differences Conference on 18th September.
Exciting – I have never done anything like that before and really up for it. I am holding a debate on words like “queer” “queer activism” – what has all this got to do with me and how does it affect my daily life. Love it.

                            What do you think?

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