Wednesday, September 22

The Gal-dem Talk Special: ‘Spread Knowledge and Light Fire’ | Life and Style

CThis year’s conversations have, by necessity, become more intentional than ever. The silence and stillness of the pandemic, which emptied the streets, threw cars into garages and drowned out the chatter of local supermarkets, was both reassuring and terrifying. No longer would you sit for hours chatting with your favorite hair braider. You would no longer run into a friend in stores. There was control over conversations, at a time when the virus was taking over the rest of our lives.

Even George Floyd’s death was preceded by a kind of conversation, one in which there was inherent danger. “Let me see your hands,” Officer Thomas Lane told the 46-year-old as he approached. “Hey man. Sorry!” was Floyd’s reply. And so began their slaughter. News of his death, like that of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, all murdered this year, spread to the hearts of the global black diaspora and beyond.

In the silence of the pandemic, the deliberation of our conversations, aimed at spreading knowledge and lighting fires, meant that the streets were filled once again. As part of the Black Lives Matter protests, we courted danger, and more death, to demand that those in power remove funding from the police and consider their role in maintaining structures of white supremacy. Since then, many people have approached black friends and opinion leaders to ask them about anti-racism; reap from our lived experiences or our learned knowledge. It has been frustrating and valuable. It is difficult to know where it has left us as the year draws to a close.

What we don’t want now is for none of these conversations, intentional or not, to stop completely. With this in mind, for a black-led media organization like gal-dem, collaborating with Guardian Weekend magazine on a completely black version of their annual talk special feels like a solid way to continue the relationship we developed afterward. of our groundbreaking acquisition. issue in 2018, and on the occasion of this extraordinary year.

The people featured in this issue have not limited themselves to focusing on the stressors and struggles of this period, especially since, while the world’s eyes were focused on the black community in 2020, death at the hands of the state has been a reality. that we have faced since the moment we were first racialized.

But instead, when our eight talkers got together: model and activist Munroe Bergdorf and comedian Lolly Adefope; writers Brit Bennett and Jackie Kay; boxer and Strictly star Nicola Adams and singer Mel B; actors Paapa Essiedu and Lennie James: there was a lot of laughs; mutual fandom; recognition of shared experiences; reflection on the limits of political leadership and an astute dissection of the ways in which their individual industries are evolving.

A recent study by Women in Journalism UK found that black women are not only missing from the front pages, but are also not heard as experts quoted in stories – black journalists still make up just 0.3% of the UK journalism industry. So we’re thrilled to celebrate the writing of three amazing young talents, Amna Mukhtar, Zakiyyah Deen, and Olivia McDonald, respectively winners and runners-up in our Young Black Writers Contest, judged by the gal-dem and Guardian teams along with the author of Queenie. , Candice Carty. -Williams. We had over 100 interesting and heartfelt entries on the topic of conversations from young people aged 16-21 from across the UK. We set the stage for the competition in October, with a free Guardians’ Masterclass on Memoir Writing hosted by columnist Nesrine Malik, in which she expertly analyzed the importance of structure and form to an engaged audience of aspiring writers. young boys.

From a rumination on the harsh lines drawn between queer and faith, and an exploration of a mother’s foray into radical honesty, to the humor and love found in a serious diagnosis, these young men take us from the personal to the political and vice versa. again. Overall winner Amna will receive three months of gal-dem tutoring. We can’t wait to see what everyone does next.

I have never been prouder to be black. My community, those I know and those I don’t, have moved with such care, thought and anger this year and through it all, despite the pandemic, ensured that the necessary conversations took place. I hope you get as much as I do from this issue.

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff is editor-in-chief of gal-dem, an Print and online magazine that shares the perspectives of non-binary women and people of color.

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