It was a full house and one of the most compelling conversations at Greenbelt in years.
‘Forced the audience to confront the idea of white discomfort and move beyond ‘not seeing colour’ – a sentiment that sounds inclusive in theory but erases identity and experience.’
It was also one of the most talked-about Festival moments on social media.
‘A hard-hitting discussion about white privilege and the need for white people to approach issues of race with open-heartedness rather than defensiveness, willing to acknowledge their complicity in the “thousands of micro aggressions towards black people happening daily in the UK.’
‘The Lemonade Effect: Beyonce, Blackness, Feminism and White Discomfort’ was a panel conversation conceived and curated by writer and researcher Sekai Makoni, after addressing similar themes on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. A graduate of the London School of Economics ‘Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies’ Masters programme, Sekai figured it would be good to pull together some of people already speaking at Greenbelt and see what we could all find out.
‘I wanted to know how to get an audience who may not usually think about these issues engaged in a dialogue on their own discomfort with Black feminist issues. How can people move through their discomfort and beyond white fragility towards building more truly inclusive spaces?’
If you want to think more about racism, intersectionality, whiteness, cultural appropriation, black British feminism or other issues raised in the conversation, Sekai’s come up with a reading list.
We need to a talk about racism
Talk by Gillian Shutte
Part 1 of Jane Elliot’s Eye of the Storm
Blue Eyed, Brown Eyed Experiment
Intersectionality – a concept created by an African American woman – Kimberle Crenshaw, a leading scholar of critical race theory and Professor of Law
If you have JStor access – this is Crenshaw’s seminal article on the concept:
Franchesca Ramsey on her MTV online series ‘Decoded’ explores a lot of these issues – this video explains cultural appropriation
Also a nice explanation from Amandla Stenberg on the topic here.
What Does it Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin DiAngelo
White: Essays on Race and Culture by Richard Dyer
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
Black Feminism (US Context)
Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Bell Hooks
Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, Patricia Hill Collins
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Professor Audre Lorde et al.
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, Melissa Harris Perry
UK Black British experience
Black Britain: A Photographic History, Paul Gilroy et al.
Black British Feminism
Links to lots of articles and books on Black British Feminism can be found through this piece.
Strolling – a brilliant Youtube series by Celie Emeke that explores Black identities many of them women in the UK
Black British Feminism: A Reader, Heidi Safia Mirza
Heart Of The Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain, Beverly Bryan
Black European Identities
Episode 1 of Between Ourselves and looks Black identities in the UK, France and Germany
A website bringing together the idea of being an ‘Afropean’
Pictured: Sekai Makoni
Photographed by: Claudia Moroni
To order all the recorded talks from Greenbelt 2016, go here.
To order individual recorded talks, go here.