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This week saw anti-blackness uproot a black-owned business and a child arrested for a tantrum

23 Sep 2019

Photography courtesy of Keonna Davis

Ah, Justin Trudeau. The Canadian indigenous First Nations have been sounding the alarm for a while that the “liberal” ally the West often pictures at the helm of progression is, in fact, another privileged ignoramus. Photos of the Canadian Prime Minister with his face, hands and feet painted dark brown for three separate events surfaced online this week.

The fact that a highly-educated political candidate can black-up multiple times at the age of 29, with no understanding of its destructive significance, is a blaring reminder of the white bubble that many people choose to stay in. An improvement on many historical “blackfacers”, Justin left any defensive white fragility at the door during his numerous apologies. But while rich white men with rich white friends go to rich white schools, before climbing onto the rich white politics conveyor belt the wellbeing of people of colour will never be a priority.

Some progress on the blackface front though – Dutch Christmas celebrations will no longer include white people blackfacing! Here’s what else went down this week.

Beauty-supply store owners in financial hardship after anti-black stockists closed their business

The family of the youngest black beauty-supply store owners in California are “struggling” after losing the money they invested in the business. When sisters Kayla and Keonna Davis (pictured above) set up KD Haircare Supply in 2016 they quickly ran into difficulties when trying to stock products, which ultimately led to them closing their store last year.

“Getting products was really difficult, especially from Korean vendors because they would block you out or they wouldn’t answer your calls, or if they did answer, they would speak Korean the entire time,” Keonna, 24, told gal-dem. “I’m very heartbroken about the experience because I just wanted a fair shot for myself.”

Today, the Korean American community seem to have a monopoly on black beauty shops. There are no recent figures, but in 2006, the director of the Black Owned Beauty Supply Organisation estimated that 90% of beauty shops in the US were owned by non-black people. There are now calls for black communities to come together in a boycott of Korean-owned stores in order to invest in black-owned business.

The pair had decided to start the shop after struggling to find local jobs but found themselves accusing a braiding company of discrimination based on skin colour, as the company wouldn’t sell to them. “Money did talk for a certain expense, but the colour of your skin talks a lot more,” said Keonna She thinks it’s vital for black businesses to share knowledge and support one another. “We were first-time business owners and we didn’t realise how dark and hard it was. Especially when you’re trying to do the right thing.”

Police arrest six-year-old black girl for ‘tantrum’ in school

US police have reached a new level of deplorable. A preschooler was handcuffed, put in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile detention facility in Orlando before police took her fingerprints and a mugshot after throwing a tantrum in her first-grade class.

The police officer who arrested the six-year-old is reportedly named Dennis Turner, and he didn’t get the required permission to arrest a child under the age of 12. There is no minimum age for arrest in Florida, and in 2010 a four-year-old was arrested for breaking a padlock on a shed and vandalising property… A FOUR-YEAR-OLD.

Sadly, Florida is one of 13 states with no minimum age of criminal liability – so babies, and especially babies of colour, are at the hands of the institutionally racist criminal justice system. Send America help.


• Ayesha Tan-Jones, a non-binary artist, musician, and founder of Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club, protested on a Gucci catwalk by writing “mental health is not fashion” on their hands in response to the brand’s problematic fashion line that uses “the imagery of straight jackets and outfits alluding to mental patients”.

• The sun had barely set on World Afro Day this week when Black Twitter erupted in dismay at a young, black H&M model wearing her natural 4C hair pulled into a ponytail that had not been gelled down. There is a valid issue of ignorance around black hair on sets, but putting down a young black girl showing off her natural hair serves to stigmatise afro hair further.

• Daniel Kaluuya will play prominent Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton in his biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy alongside Lakeith Stanfield and Dominique Fishback.

• The anime and manga-inspired “Nigerian magical girl” franchise, Adorned by Chi, by Jacque Aye, is being developed for film, TV and animation.

• A 19-year-old Eritrean refugee, Mulubrhane Medhane Kfleyosus, has become the fourth from his friendship group to take his own life after arriving in the UK, tragically highlighting the trauma faced by young unaccompanied asylum seekers. 

• Another Home Office tragedy. Ethiopian asylum seeker Kelemua Mulat, 39, died after being denied potentially life-saving cancer treatment in the UK by the Home Office while they decided whether she should be charged by the NHS or not. 

• South Africa has declared gender-based violence, or femicide, a national crisis.

• Reuters press agency has appointed its first newsroom diversity editor, Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams.

• Two former British Army soldiers, Nkululeko Zulu and Hani Gue, won a racial discrimination case against the Ministry of Defence after they were subjected to a “degrading, humiliating and offensive environment” while serving as paratroopers.

• A new report has alleged that the Home Office is using religion against LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers.

• New laws are being proposed in Indonesia that would criminalise gay sex, and make it illegal for same-sex couples to cohabit.

• A black woman summed up travelling whilst black by posting one of her holiday snaps where two white people in the background are staring at her. Zoom in.

• Two Muslim men in the US were humiliated and allegedly subjected to racial and religious profiling after their American Airlines flight was cancelled because crew members didn’t feel comfortable flying with them.

Moment of the week

We’re so happy for south London rapper Dave for winning the 2019 Mercury Prize. His exceptional album Psychodrama guided us through a lyrical therapy session about his brother’s incarceration. Naturally, some media outlets couldn’t let Dave have his moment, and framed the momentous news around his shout-out to his brother. Also, Slowthai held up an effigy of BoJo’s severed head – lol.