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Typical black guys like Joshua do succeed

PROUD FATHER: Boxing champ Anthony Joshua poses with his dad Robert after his win in Cardiff last weekend

THE PRESS is so fond of reminding us that Anthony Joshua used to be one ah dam 'typical black guys' with an electronic tag around his ankle. In fact when first went into the ring as an amateur that tag was there, a reminder to anyone who might think otherwise that he was a 'typical black guy.'

I say this because that narrative ain’t going to wash for much longer. Not now that he has become the nation’s ‘sweetheart’ by almost unifying the World Heavyweight Boxing title by beating Joseph Parker in Cardiff last Saturday night and thereby adding Parker’s WBO to his collection of belts and titles.

There is only one more belt to collect before Joshua becomes the undisputed world champion and already the press narrative about him has switched from ‘typical’ to ‘tropical’.

It is an historic moment for this country. It has never been done before. At last Britain has a nearly undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion. And there’s nothing stereotypical about that although, I would venture to say, there’s still a lot that’s black about it and we need that.

But let’s leave race out of it for a sentence or two. Let’s talk about Anthony Joshua being worth his weight in gold.

They reckon that he made £18 million out of that one night’s work in Wales. When I told my cousin that, there was silence on the other end of the line for a moment, as if she was working out a way of leaving her husband and making herself available to AJ if needed.

She is shrewd, my cousin, but she's probably not the only one. Because you can buy an awful lot of stilettos with that kind of money - whether you're a woman or man. Our Tony (for that is who he is) deserves every penny of that dosh. Not just because he’s a thoroughly nice and conscious guy, but also because he’s Nigerian.


What’s that got to do with it? Nothing, absolutely nothing. But you can’t help but think that Nigerians are taking over. Where once upon a time it was Jamaicans who ruled Britain, now, it’s the Naija boyz and galz – whether in sport, business or politics.

Nigerians rule, which ain’t that surprising when you consider that Nigerians are the Jamaicans of West Africa. Yes, I’m sure that’s the right way round. So back to race issues.

I remember 25 years ago when my good friend blew up big with his band in the pop charts and was making money hand over first. It was like money for nothing. He didn’t have to work for it. All he had to do was play his guitar on MTV – money for nothing.

Anyway, I was standing on Offord Road in Islington north London, chatting sh*t and minding my own business, when my man comes screeching round the corner in his brand new Mercedes-Benz and leaves us for dust. I was like 'bo-bo-bo-bo' with my fist pumped up in respect of how my man had grown up in the hood and was now blowing up like nitro in the music biz (as was evidenced by his new set of wheels).

I didn’t even mind that he didn’t notice that I was standing around trying to beg a bus fare to get home. Anyway as my man disappears into the sunset, the bloke next to me mutters: “Typical black guy. Gets a million pound record deal and the first thing he does is go and buy himself a Merc instead of buying a house.”

It p*ssed me off to hear that. I won’t even lie. Until this day I’m still debating whether I should have given the bloke a smack round the chops for his big diss. I mean, what’s wrong with being a typical black guy if you’re a black guy? Why should we be otherwise.

Aren’t white guys also typical? And yet, somehow, when you say “typical white guy” it doesn’t carry as much of a sting as “typical black guy”. Why has it got to be negative when we are being who we are – typically? I don’t get it, do you?

Was it not being a ‘typical black guy’ that got Anthony Joshua to the top of his game in boxing?

And did my man not get to the top of the charts around the world despite being a typical black guy who was going to spend his money on his Merc before he spent his money on a gaff. Do any of us succeed without being typical black guys?

Name me one. Name me one person who has succeeded in his field being untypical or atypical or the antithesis of blackness. And yet... imagine how many of us are typical black guys who have now got a knackered 20 year old Merc that we bought brand new back in the day when we could have got ourselves a one-bedroom flat in Brixton for the money those wheels cost.

Typical black guys who are now homeless because we didn’t buy a one-bedroom flat in Brixton when we had the money and we preferred to shock out with a brand new cars and everybody in da hood gave us ‘nuff respect because we wear our wealth on our sleeves and not in bricks and mortars in our typical community. Ya get me?

Unlike our parents who bought homes first and untypically waited years, if they were lucky, to buy an Austin Cambridge afterwards.

Yeah, therein lies the problem. Typical – WHATEVER THAT MEANS – is not necessarily sensible. But typical is vital and crucial to the black condition.

I guess we’re just going to have to allow it. So I’ll see you in the shelter later – make sure you bring your own sleeping bag and maybe we can go out for a spin in your Ford Fiesta in the morning.

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