This week saw one of the most bizarre stories in the fight towards prison reform in the US. Kim Kardashian successfully got Donald Trump’s ear on the tragic case of Alice Johnson, a grandmother who was due to spend her life in jail for a non-violent drug offence. Alice thanked them both for her release. On CBS news she said: “Thank you for never giving up. You did it. You never gave up on me and you fought until I was free … I’d just like to thank her and hug her.”
Meanwhile, while the media makes a hero of Kim Kardashian for her activist deed, they’ve been hell bent on vilifying Raheem Sterling in the run up to the World Cup having picked on him for everything from wearing the kit created by Nike, to getting a commemorative tattoo for his father. Drill has continued to fall dismally out of favour with journalists who certainly didn’t know what it was until a few months ago. And, Tommy Robinson supporters are trash, of course. Here’s what else went down in the last week.
THE MET POLICE ARE TRYING TO KILL THE DRILL SCENE
In line with its recent efforts against gang violence in the capital, the Metropolitan Police have applied for a court order to stop gang members making drill music, an unprecedented move.
Reports have surfaced that they’ll be issuing a criminal behaviour order (CBO) that would prohibit five west London youths, aged between 17 and 21, from making the genre of rap that detectives believe glorifies violence.
This follows a recent controversial move where the Met Police requested that Youtube take down 50-60 drill music videos whose lyrics and imagery were thought to be inciting real-world violence.
In order to challenge action from the police, several drill musicians in a group called 1011 came together to try and stop Youtube from taking their videos down, by creating a petition that gained over 5000 signatures.
All five of those due to receive CBO’s are part of 1011, a Ladbroke Grove gang which records drill videos that have been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube.
Holding drill music accountable for problems humanity has faced throughout history serves only to further ostracise the people who create it.
WHEN WILL RAHEEM STERLING BE LEFT ALONE?
[Thread] a selection of times when our national press have chosen to run stories on Raheem Sterling.
1. The one where Raheem was ‘tired’. pic.twitter.com/6K3cHu6r7T
— Adam Keyworth (@adamkeyworth) May 28, 2018
With sport, especially football, being a pillar of British culture, people of colour in the industry have a tough time navigating their dual identities.
When they’re winning for our country they are claimed as British, but when they’re doing anything seen as threatening to that hegemonic culture, they are named as their other ‘foreign’ identity, and distanced from country they were once celebrated for representing.
It’s happened before with Amir Khan, who is a British boxer when he’s winning fights, but a Pakistani boxer when his personal life is thrown into the spotlight. This time it’s England midfielder Raheem Sterling, who has come under fire from British tabloid media after getting a tattoo of an AK-47 on his right calf.
Despite the tabloids attacking the 23-year-old footballer for inciting gun crime when his tattoo actually had a very deep meaning about his father, Sterling insisted that it doesn’t affect him and is ‘the least of [his] worries’.
Following the media storm around his tattoo, of all 23 players on the England squad, Sterling’s photo was used in a Telegraph article about how the team’s kit is made by Bangladeshi workers for 21p per hour. An impassioned Twitter thread followed, questioning why the footballer was targeted so often.
If you’re guessing who is in the leading image for this article you’re absolutely spot on. https://t.co/jePPLGzKvQ
— LW. (@___LWilliams) June 1, 2018
Sterling said to The Guardian: “I don’t feel there’s an agenda against me. People ask: ‘Do you feel picked on?’ And I don’t at all. As I said, I can see the reasons.”
Piers Morgan also jumped on the bandwagon of criticising Sterling, saying it was wrong for him to have the weapon on his body when “these very same rifles are being relentlessly used to massacre children in schools”. Though, Morgan’s beloved Arsenal team, aka the ‘Gunners’, pride themselves on their canon emblem.
- Riot officers were called to the ‘free Tommy Robinson’ protest as the demo held to call for the ex-English Defence League leader to be released from jail became violent. Hundreds of protesters blocked the roads around Trafalgar Square.
- Plans to force British landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants will be challenged in court this week as it incentivises discrimination. Under new rules in the ‘right to rent’ policy, landlords could face prison if they do not comply, but it is resulting in them avoiding people with ‘foreign-sounding’ names or without British passports to avoid any potential bother.
- Activists protested this week over the death of Roxana Hernandez, a transgender woman migrating to the US, who died in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While they identified her by the aforementioned name, authorities listed her name as Jeffry Hernandez, and there are questions over how she had been treated during her 16 days with ICE
- IKEA is teaming up with Solange’s Saint Heron collective to launch a new design collaboration. Not much is known about the collection, however, the Swedish homeware store released a statement that read: “Saint Heron is excited to announce an upcoming creative collaboration with IKEA, exploring architectural and design objects with multifunctional use”.
- In better news, Saudi Arabia has issued its first 10 driving licenses to women as the kingdom prepares to lift its sexist driving ban in a couple weeks time
MOMENT OF THE WEEK
Love Island has landed and although we are obviously very smart classy individuals, we may have dipped our toe in the reality TV pool to check on Samira. Well, it’s not going great, it’s been a mess of microaggressions, misogynoir and rude Twitter memes.
— + (@Yvevolution) June 10, 2018