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Dotun Adebayo reflects on the highs and lows of 2018

A MEMORABLE YEAR: Dotun Adebayo looks back on some of the moments that defined 2018

ANOTHER VINTAGE year for The Voice. Our paper just keeps getting better and better. And it has never been so needed. Naomi Campbell and Raheem Sterling are just two of the great and good that can attest to that.

JANUARY
This column started the year reflecting on the chances of Oprah Winfrey to succeed Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, following a barnstorming speech at the Golden Globes awards. Not a chance that she’ll make the White House though.

The year had barely got into its stride when the doo-doo hit the fan over a young black boy modelling a hoodie for the clothes firm H&M, with the motif “THE COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE” What plonkers H&M are, I concluded.

I bawled my eyes out for the first time this year – following the news that footballing legend hero Cyrille Regis passed away on January 14.

FEBRUARY
Ex-footballer John Barnes was booted out of the Big Brother house for putting culture before country. Then Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton raced into a storm over his crossdressing adolescent nephew. Hamilton might have got away with it if he had said: “Boys don’t wear skirts – except in Scotland.”

Clearly, the cultural torment that tears us of bi-cultural backgrounds asunder has no platform in modern Britain.


LEGEND: Cyrille Regis

West Ham’s recruitment director, Tony Henry, is sacked for saying the club won’t be signing any more African players. West Ham are the club of John Charles, Clyde Best, Ade Coker and many other black players when football still had a No BLACKS, No IRISH, No DOGS policy.

The Nigeria bobsleigh team take part in the Winter Olympics... ridi-cool runnings!

MARCH
A trip down memory lane to the days of racist television, to see how far we haven’t come with Ofcom having to censor a channel. Not every man can handle a black woman. Certain black women need a man who gives you X-tra. Skepta seems to give Naomi X-tra. Or is it the other way around?

Meanwhile, my Woman of the Year, 18-year-old Rufaro Chisango, served notice on Nottingham Trent University after suffering racial abuse there. Her video of it went viral and the uni was forced to fine the students. I called on them to expel the students but they didn’t. My daughter won’t be going there to study.

On March 13, we lost the great Natural High vocalist and backing singer to the stars Claudia Fontaine, my wife’s long-time collaborator.

THE ‘KING’ OF LOVE was assassinated 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK? My question is ‘why’.

APRIL
Despite being worth his weight in gold, the British press are still treating Anthony Joshua like the World Heavyweight Chump. Like Naomi will later say and as Raheem Sterling will point out, the media has a lot to answer for when it comes to black stars. Thank goodness for The Voice.

I still maintain that young black boys spend more time writing poetry than stabbing or shooting each other, was the argument in my first speech as Chairman of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham.

Fifty years on Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech sounds like a Ku Klux Klan anthem.

I consider whether to send back my MBE in protest at the Windrush scandal. No joke.


THE DUCHESS: Meghan Markle

MAY
Is there no mechanism that we can invoke to deprive Bill Cosby of his race? Because none of us want him to be black anymore. Meghan Markle, on the other hand, is as black as you want her to be. She is OUR princess as she and Harry tie the knot. We lost another great member of the ‘golden generation’ of black British music. Ras Elroy Bailey. Bassie with Black Slate. I pay tribute.

JUNE
Tottenham MP David Lammy endures another week of racist abuse on the internet. I call on the government to root it out.

England beat Nigeria at Wembley.... but let’s not dwell on that. More importantly to discuss is England’s ‘yardie’ factor, one Raheem Sterling. There is nobody more hated and despised in the England squad than him. Please don’t ask me why, cah me no know. But can you blame him for being equivocal about this country and his role in helping it at the World Cup in Russia?

It seems that few of us can win in England if we’re TOO black. There ain’t no TOO black in the Union Jack.

A tale of two reggae radio deejays. The great Tony Williams passed away with tributes from all quarters including from his great rival and nemesis David Rodigan.

Seventy years on: One of the largest batches of passengers to leave Jamaica in peace time will sail this morning (June 22) when the troop ship Empire Windrush leaves port on a long voyage to England, taking a total of 900 passengers from Kingston (Daily Gleaner 27 MAY 1948).

I contend, the Windrush and the people on it have had a greater impact on Britain than William the Conqueror.

Roses are red, violets are blue, but Alan Sugar is not as sweet as you. He tweets racist comments about Senegalese footballers in the World Cup

JULY
British culture ain’t OURS. And it ain’t US. The brilliant play The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, however, oozed out culture. Back to Pele’s prediction that an African team would win the World Cup before the year 2000. Maybe they have already. And maybe an African team has just won it again. Check this list of ‘French’ players in the 2018 World Cup: Presnel Kimpember – Congo; Samuel Umtiti – Cameroon Paul Pogba – Guinea; Ousmane Dembele – Senegal/ Mali; Corentin Tolisso – Togo; N’Golo Kante – Mali; Blaise Matuidi – DR Congo/Angola; Steven Nzonzi – DR Congo; Steve Mandanda – DR Congo; 19-year-old wonderkid Kylian Mbappe – half Nigeria/half Cameroon. Big up Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, the first black Miss Universe Great Britain in the pageant’s 66-year history.


PICTURED: Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers

AUGUST
Once upon a time the cry from black people was “There’s no justice – just us”. Today, I think, that cry ought to be revised to: “There ain’t no justice, just Peter Herbert.” I pay tribute to the militant barrister and part-time lawyer after he won a historic victory against the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. Once upon a time I was ‘rasta as the biggest gathering of rastas in Britain assemble for the bank holiday weekend. Is rasta still relevant? Have we just witnessed the last gasps of Carnival as we know it?

SEPTEMBER
A star is born on BEN Television - Swarzy Macaly, host of the Breakfast Show on the Sky Channel and now the voice of BBC Sounds.

When Serena Williams met Naomi Osaka in the final of the Women’s Championship of the US Open, there was only going to be one winner. US. Because either way, WE – black people, were never going to lose with one black woman on one side of the net and another black woman (albeit with an infusion of Japanese blood in her – but remember, you’ve got to feel it in the ‘one drop’) on the other side. I big up the black Japanese and pray she knows her culture.

At the end of the month Naomi is the first black superstar to speak to me exclusively about the way the media in Britain twists everything she does and say to make her look like an angry black woman.

Three months later Raheem will say the same thing, except they twist it around to make him look like a cocky black geezer. Never before has the black media such as The Voice been so relevant to big up our people.

October, November and December have, of course, been dominated by Brexit. And that was the year that was.

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