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This week saw AOC accused of a ‘blaccent’, a university walk out and the epic return of J Hus

08 Apr 2019

Image via Twitter / National Action Network

The music industry has made a splash this week. Has there ever been a release from prison as extra as J Hus’s? The UK rapper went from prison to performing with Drake on stage in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, the world is mourning the death of 33-year-old rapper Nipsey Hussle… not Kodak Black though. The 21-year-old held an Instagram Live where he announced his plans to pursue Hussle’s longtime partner Lauren London, but he had so much courtesy that he said he’d “give her a year” – romance isn’t dead.

In a world of inconsistency and instability, the one thing we can count on is Beyoncé being a Queen. She has chosen Adidas for the relaunch of Ivy Park, but allegedly turned down a partnership with Reebok due to the lack of diversity within its staff. ESPN’s Nick DePaula said Beyoncé told Reebok “Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin color, and where I’m from and what I want to do”. Reebok has branded the assertion as “categorically false”.

Here’s what else went down in the past week.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparks huge debate after allegedly speaking with a Southern African American accent

The US Congress’ youngest woman member, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, came under fire this week, largely by right-wing Republicans, for putting on a “fake African-American accent when talking to black people”, one tweet read.

The Latina Congresswoman for parts of the Bronx and Queens, New York, was speaking to a predominantly black audience at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference in New York on Friday 5 April when she allegedly adopted a Southern drawl.

In response to these claims, AOC commented on “code-switching”, saying it is a tool that communities learn “when they’re told their voice, appearance and mannerisms are unprofessional”. She raised the prevalence of code-switching in Boots Riley’s film Sorry to Bother You and explained that code-switching is a “cultural reality for people of colour and communities”.

Ariana Grande was also recently criticised adopting a “blaccent” in her music video for Thank U, Next and Hillary Clinton was dubbed “Southern Fried Hillary” for doing the same in front of black audiences in Alabama in 2007.

University of Bristol students walk out of talk by Eric Kaufman, saying he’s an ‘apologist for racism’

Around 40 University of Bristol students walked out of a talk by “racism apologist” Professor Eric Kaufmann, who has recently published a book titled White Shift: Populism, Immigration and The Future of White Majorities.

The book takes aim at immigration, blaming multiculturalism for a crisis in white identity which is causing white people to “act out”, as Nasra Ayub, the University of Bristol Undergraduate Education Officer explained to gal-dem.

Kaufmann argues that white people should be able to assert their own “racial self interest” as other ethnic groups do, citing demographic changes as the key explanation for right-wing populism.

Ayub, who organised the walk-out with other officers and activists, told us about the “bigger problem” the University of Bristol has: “Before I never used to get involved in student activism, I used to think ‘let’s sit at the table and have a discussion about these things’, but it’s got to the point when I’ve got students coming to me telling me they want to drop out of university, lecturers are being micro-aggressive and racist towards them. They are having a bad time in halls because [other] students are being racist towards them.

“They paid this guy to come to the university. It’s one thing allowing the individual to be in the university, but they paid him. In the same university where they have the white supremacist Winston Churchill hanging up on the wall. I’m actually sick of it, I don’t want to be doing all these initiatives to create spaces for BME people whilst the institutional racism is still happening.”

Students are often accused of no-platforming right-wing speakers and obstructing free speech, but when speakers who are clearly spreading Islamophobia and harbouring racist ideology are being invited and paid to talk at universities it’s natural to want to speak up.

Not even three weeks after the haunting Christchurch Mosque shooting, The Australian wrote about White Shift in an alarmingly positive light, saying the influx of minorities has put “European ancestry groups on the path to minority status”.


  • Nearly 1,000 reports of potential modern slavery were made through the Safe Car Wash app in the UK, enabling users to report concerns over workers, within its first five months of use.
  • Protestors stood outside Brunei-owned Dorchester hotel in London on Saturday and chanted “shame on you” as pressure mounts for the UK government to expel the country from the Commonwealth if it does not revoke its horrific anti-LGBT laws.
  • The racial equality leader at an NHS Trust, Dr Vivienne Lyfar-Cissé, was fired after allegedly telling a white colleague he was “everything she despised in a white manager”. The London tribunal also heard that Lyfar-Cissé was also being tried for three allegations she “bullied and victimised” a female colleague over her sexual orientation.
  • Australian Aboriginals from the Ngaliwurru and Nungali groups have won the right to sue for colonial land loss, meaning that billions of dollars in compensation will need to be paid by governments to indigenous groups.
  • Lori Lightfoot is the first black and openly gay woman to be elected as the mayor of Chicago.
  • Three historically black churches burned down in 10 days in one south Louisiana parish, with officials saying the crimes have “suspicious elements”.
  • Black students in the US face “racial bias” in school discipline, according to a new study that found they are four times as likely to be suspended from school as white students, and three times more likely to be expelled.
  • Coronation Street has introduced its first black family in the show’s history, The Baileys, to tackle the show’s lack of diversity.
  • Durham University signed up to the Race Equality Charter which helps institutions identify barriers minority ethnic staff and students can face and seeks to diversify curriculums.

Moment of the week

In his final council meeting, the legendary Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid called a break and danced to Somali music and jungle. What a guy.