Is Black radicalism what we think it is? Kehinde Andrews launched his new book, Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century at Tottenham’s Bernie Grant Arts Centre on Thursday 16 August. Andrews joined actor, playwright and director, Kwame Kwei-Armah around a small coffee table on the stage and took the audience on a journey through the book – a history of Black radical politics, interspersed with lively questions and answers.
Throughout the evening, Andrews handled a wide array of questions on how to deal with the issues that Black people face in the UK – including one that came up a number of times in different forms: how can we realistically tackle the challenges that face a group of people divided along lines of faith, ethnic group and class? His answer was Black radicalism, an ideology which does not necessitate that we erase our differences but rather one around which we can come together.
Andrews stressed that the problems we face today are not specific to the UK but are a result of capitalism. The way to address them is by overturning capitalism and building organisations. He gave the example of the Birmingham-based Harambee Organisation of Black Youth, a group he founded to focus practically on issues facing the local community.
One of Andrew’s key messages, which essentially is a key message of the book, is that we have to build organisations here, where we are, using Black radicalism as defined in the latter part of his book, as an ideology.