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Black in the Union Jack?


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Paul Gilroy, Derek Owusu and Jeffrey Boakye look at Black British experience past and present. Their discussion is chaired by award-winning publisher and founder of Dialogue Books, Sharmaine Lovegrove.

In 2002, 15 years after his seminal text, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, was first published, Paul Gilroy hoped that the book had ‘been kept alive by its solid sense that alongside all the grand but empty political gestures… of Britain’s decaying institutional machinery, there are other stories about “race” and racism to be told.’ In 2019, with the publication of the essay collection Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, edited by Derek Owusu, and Black, ListedJeffrey Boakye’s exploration of contemporary and historical Black culture, it is clear how many of those stories still need to be told. Paul Gilroy is one of the foremost theorists of race and racism working and teaching in the world today. His influential books include The Black AtlanticAgainst RacePostcolonial Melancholia and Darker Than Blue. He is Professor of the Humanities and founding Director of the new Centre for the Study of Race and Racism at UCL, and winner of the Holberg Prize 2019. He is joined by writer, poet and podcaster Derek Owusu, whose work alongside Safe includes the award-winning literature podcast ‘Mostly Lit’, and Jeffrey Boakye, whose first book, Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials, and the Meaning of Grime was published in 2017. Their discussion is chaired by award-winning publisher and founder of Dialogue Books, Sharmaine Lovegrove.

Recorded on: November 12, 2019
Recorded at: British Library Knowledge Centre