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Je suis Skank: Black satire mag poked fun in the 90s

HUMOUR: Skank was the black satirical magazine of the 90s

THE WORLD, it seems, has turned us all into a right bunch of Charlies - Charlie Hebdos that is. And before you join the chorus of ‘Je Suis Charlie’, don’t forget that we had our own satirical magazine, which I published, and that was shot down in broad daylight without a single world leader coming out to march through the streets of London in support of it.

Who remembers Skank magazine? According to the guys who started Viz, Skank was “the world’s most dangerous comic”. It poked fun at the establishment with characters such as Scotland Yardie, Pastor Blunt and White Galfriend and threatened to destroy the new world order with the likes of Mary Mampy (She Wear Tight Panty).

When an issue of Skank came out it sold out within minutes, and the crime rates in Brixton, Handsworth, Moss Side and Liverpool 8 dropped dramatically as the bad bwoys were rolling around in stitches.


Even al-Qaeda didn’t have a problem with it. Despite the Solomon The Somalian cartoon strip. I don’t know if it’s true but I got word that Osama Bin Laden roared with laughter when he read that. It was proper jokes. Trust me.

I guess that’s why the cops didn’t fancy it too much and decided to surround my flat, aka Skank’s offices, with armed marksmen and bully wagons from three different stations in south London. It all started with fake guns, police and a near-death experience.

Having a police marksman point a gun at you is something you can live without. Trust me. It scared me so much I’m still shaking.

And, according to Bobby Joseph, the teenage editor of Skank, it was all because of White Terry.

White Terry wore his baseball cap backwards, his floppy blonde hair slicked under. He rocked a baggy tracksuit to hide his heavy-set frame. A gold chain, a gun-shaped earring and a Black and Proud medallion dangled around his neck.

Why was he called White Terry? Because he’s white. Maybe we could have just called him Terry. But we didn’t think of that back then.

Anyway, Bobby had this plan. A BIG plan. A plan that would turn the next issue of Skank into a million seller.

The Skank crew would poke fun at the stereotype of black boys and guns. So they went out into my back garden.

The sun had come out. It blazed down on them. Birds flew over, airplanes made noises in the sky above. The air smelt of mildew, wet leaves and stale cat poo.

And White Terry stood in the middle, mocking the others, calling them out.

‘Well, what you waiting for? I thought you black guys were gangsters,’ said White Terry. ‘Let’s ‘ave it you c**ts...’

Well, the Skank crew raised their guns, aimed and pulled their triggers.

When it was all over they sat in the garden smoking and drinking beers when Jew Frankie noticed the long firearm of the law poking out of my neighbour’s upstairs window.

‘Yo bredrin, there’s a whole heap of Five-0 pointing guns at we,’ he said.

The next thing they knew they were surrounded.

‘Drop your weapons now!’ a marksman barked at them.


You can imagine how vexed I was when I got home later that evening to hear what had gone down in my back yard.
I demanded an explanation of the crew.

‘Your nosey neighbours saw a bunch of black guys surrounding a white guy with weapons and they called the raddy man on us.’ B. said, ‘They’re racist, man.’

‘Couldn’t they have just assumed you guys were going to shoot White Terry for real?’

‘Nah man. Dem is racist.’

‘What happened then?’

‘Next thing we know five-o had the whole road cordoned off with five or six bully wagons. We said it was a college project about how certain people see black people with guns. We were breaking the stereotype by being ironic. They believed us and left without checking to see if our guns were real or not... can you believe dat?’

‘Black people with guns? How was that ironic? What was ironic about it?’

‘Well, it’s us with guns. Innit, doh?’

That’s when I realised that the yutes who put together the world’s most dangerous comic strip didn’t know the difference between ironic and moronic. And their confusion could have got us all killed. And the rest of you would all be saying ‘Je Suis Skank’.

Please, before you get killed, people, learn the difference. Moronic is when you’re a moron. Ironic is when you do the ironing.

I thought that was funny. Linford Christie didn’t and he finally killed the magazine. But Skank will rise again later this year. After all, NOUS SOMMES SKANK.

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