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Disgraced MPs to black beauty queens

MAKING HISTORY: From left, disgraced former MP Fiona Onasanya; Miss USA Cheslie Kryst

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY’S six degrees of separation from slavery

What can’t Cambridge University just come out with it and let us know how much money in pounds, shillings and pence it has earned or been granted from the inglorious trade that saw man to man be so unjust? I’m talking of course about the so-called slave trade.

The institution has launched an investigation into its links with the slave trade and how much it has benefited from it.

Oh, for goodness sake, who do you think you are kidding Cambridge Uni if you think we’re going to fall for that old, ‘We’ll look into it and get back to you at sometime in the distant future’.

Two years is how long they are saying this investigation into whether they did or didn’t benefit is going to take. Two more years for the de- scendants of enslavement to be played around like mugs. Two more years for that vast wealth from enslavement to accrue more wealth. Two more years for them to come up with a fudge compromise at best, in which they can get around paying what they owe.

Why can you lot at the Uni not just hold your hands up and confess to wot you lot done and get it over with? Yes, get it over with and pay reparations and we’ll say no more about it for now... as long as you confess and we can be sure that you are contrite and that you let it be known for future generations that this place was built on the backs of blacks.

But most of all, we need to know when the pay day will be for the descendants of enslaved people and their communities, the sum total of the financial benefit you have enjoyed from this inhuman trade, which by now must total trillions in today’s money.

Of course, it doesn’t stop with Cambridge. Oxford University is implicated in the same shame. It should not be let off the hook. And, arguably, Cambridge’s admission or confession will force the hand of Oxford, which is another reason why it is imperative that Cambridge declares its guilt ASAP without prevarication.

All this in a week when these institutions are being urged to ‘decolonise’ their curriculums. Is it not shocking, in this day and age, that these places of learning have to be publicly shamed into including the likes of the seminal work Orientalism by the late and great Edward Said, arguably the 20th Century’s most lucid philosopher, on their syllabus?

Caught you in a lie: The fall and fall of Fiona

We should all learn lessons from the dramatic downfall of Fiona Onasanya. Especially black people. The disgraced former MP for Peterborough went from heroine to zeroine and straight to jail without passing go.

But instead of accepting her fate and disappearing quietly into oblivion, she maintained her innocence, clung on to her parliamentary job and faced humiliation after humiliation until the people of Peterborough recalled her in overwhelming numbers. All this, the consequence of trying to avoid getting a speeding ticket.

First lesson to learn for us all, especially black folk, is: never be the perpetrator of your own downfall. Onasanya should have confessed to driving the car she was driving and taken the penalty.

Second lesson to learn for us all, especially black folk: if you’re going to pervert the course of justice don’t be a solicitor. Third lesson to learn for us all, especially black folk: if you’re going to be an MP, don’t think you’re above the law.

Fourth lesson to learn for us all, especially black folk: all lies die when the truth is told. Fifth lesson to learn for us all, especially black folk: for the love of God, for pity’s sake, for your family, for the community and for the rest of mankind, take off those sunglasses on your way to and from court.

Who’s a pretty (black) girl, then?

Beauty, it seems, is only skin deep in America. Otherwise, why are African-Americans jumping up and down to celebrate the news that this year Miss America (Nia Franklin) is a black woman, Miss USA (Cheslie Kryst) is a black women and Miss Teen USA (Kaliegh Garris) is also a black woman.

Once upon a time, I would have been the first person to jump up and down at the news that black women have scored a hat-trick of the three main beauty pageants in America for the first time ever.

But now I’m not bothered. I couldn’t care less. And that’s not because I’ve lost my roving eye for the girlies, I truly don’t think that goes with age. It’s because I’ve come to the conclusion (somewhat belatedly, I grant you) that the beauty of the black woman is worth more than a sash and a tiara.

It is no sign of the end of racism as we know it, that a handful of white men (presumably) judging beauty competitions now fancy black women.

This isn’t what Martin Luther King died for. It is more important for little black and brown girls to see that the three most powerful women in America are black than that black women scrub up well on the catwalk.

When the President of the United States is a black woman, the head of Amazon is a black woman and Anita Hill is a Supreme Court judge, I will be the first one to jump up and down.

Boy N Da Hood

We have to give a big shout out to the film director John Singleton, who died last week at the tragically young age of 51. Forget everything else that he did, he will be remembered for one film only – Boyz n The Hood.


PICTURED: John Singleton

It was the film that he was born to make and, arguably, he should have got up out of his director’s chair after that and retired quietly from the movie business. As Orson Welles should have after making Citizen Kane (even though he made and starred in a fantastic cinematic dramatisation of Shakespeare’s Othello).

Like Orson Welles, Single- ton was a young genius who made his first movie when he was barely out of his teens. Like Orson Welles, so glorious was that debut that it would never be surpassed.

Like Orson Welles, the imperfection of what followed somewhat diminishes Singleton’s legacy. For we should all know that when you’ve got nothing better to say, shut the **** up.

On that note...

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