An Islamic society event on imperialism, race and class, at which the famed rapper Akala gave a talk, leads to the raising of around £7,000.
On the evening of the November 2nd, UCLU’s Islamic society hosted a talk by London rapper Akala (real name Kingslee James Daley) as part of their Charity week.
In his talk, Akala addressed the issues of “race, class and imperialism” from a “pan-African perspective” and how they have “shaped history”.
Akala’s talk focused on how Western African history has been culturally erased by of European imperialism. He argued that the historic achievements of Western Africa, such as the 10,000 mile Benin wall (located in modern day Nigeria) have typically been ignored as its existence does not fit in with the traditional racist view of Africans being “genetically inferior” to Europeans.
Although this view has now started to change in academia, Akala stressed it has “not penetrated public conciseness” for which he largely blames the entertainment industry.
Akala said that when “black people” are depicted in the media they are slaves “wait[ing] for Brad Pit to save them.” Even black history month typically focuses on “slavery and Martin Luther King” rather than on the wider history.
However, even though the depiction of African history was now more accurate, he argued that it was still too narrow, even at institutes set up to study it specifically, such as “SOAS.” He suggested that the only way African history would be fully taught was if “Students declare … they want to hear it.”
At the conclusion of his talk Akala affirmed that “everyone has the power to impact the world.” He focused in on the transformative power of educational programs and community organisations.
After these inspiring words, the Islamic society took pledges to go towards the four charities sponsored in Charity Week, which help children in Syria, Gaza, Bangladesh and Europe (specifically refuges). Impressively £3,920 was raised from the pledges, with Akala donating £500 himself. This combined with the ticket sales for the event means that the Islamic society raised around £7,000 in one night.
In the talk UCL’s role in European racism was highlighted, as it was one of the key researchers of eugenics, which promoted the idea of European genetic superiority.
Featured image: Flickr