Brian Richardson

Damn

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Two years ago Kendrick Lamar delivered one of the landmark albums of the decade. To Pimp a Butterfly combined the brilliant, imaginative musicality of artists such as Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus and Thundercat with Lamar’s sharp observations about the “post-racial” society that Barack Obama’s presidency had supposedly ushered in. One of its stand out tracks “Alright” quickly became one of the anthems of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

Cressida Dick lands killer job

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The appointment of Cressida Dick as Metropolitan Police Commissioner will have sent shivers down the spines of many Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Londoners. Walk past Stockwell underground station and you will understand why. Immediately to the left of the entrance is a mural with the inscription “INNOCENT Jean Charles de Menezes…Shot dead here 22.07.2005 Sadly missed”.

You Say You Want A Revolution?

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This exhibition is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve visited plenty in my time so that’s a bold assertion but one I make without hesitation.

Taking its title from the first line of The Beatles 1968 song “Revolution”, it leads you on an interactive journey through the years 1966 to 1970, combining art, costume, film, music and propaganda.

As you embark, you are invited not simply to reflect upon times past, but to consider their contemporary relevance and the lessons we can learn for the world we live in today.

Black Lives Matter

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The rise of Black Lives Matter in the US marks an end to the Civil Rights movement's claim that black people in high places could be the solution for all, writes Brian Richardson

“Hands up, don’t shoot!” “I can’t breathe.” These slogans have emerged based on reports of the last desperate actions and words uttered by Michael Brown and Eric Garner before they died at the hands of the police in Ferguson Missouri and New York City in 2014. In the wake of these atrocities, a new movement, Black Lives Matter, was born and protests erupted across the US.

Undercover

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Legal dramas are invariably bedevilled by overacting and wild scenarios which bear little comparison with what really goes on in the criminal justice system. These misgivings aside, I was attracted by the presence of two talented black actors, Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester in the lead roles as Maya and Nick.

Episode 1 begins with a flourish. A juggernaut bears down on Maya’s car as she struggles to answer a crucial phone call. She is racing to Louisiana where her client Rudy Jones is waiting to be executed.

Stand up and be counted

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As activists mobilise for UN Anti Racism Day, Brian Richardson assesses the state of racism in Britain and across Europe, and asks what anti-racists' priorities should be in the coming period.

The late Labour prime minister Harold Wilson is widely reported to have declared that “a week is a long time in politics” during a period of economic crisis in the 1960s. Literally speaking this well-worn cliché is, of course, wrong. There is, however, some truth in the dictum that sudden and unexpected events can dramatically transform the political landscape. Such has been the case both in Britain and across Europe over the past 12 months.

A brief history of seven Bob Marley songs

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Marlon James’s wonderful novel A Brief History of Seven Killings was the worthy winner of last year’s Man Booker prize. It takes as its starting point a dramatic real life event — the attempted assassination of Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley in December 1976.

Marley survived the attack, defiantly performing at the open air benefit concert which sparked the controversy that led to the shooting. Later he addressed his assailants in the song “Ambush in the Night”.

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