Culture

…and they’re off!

…a famous exclamation that we may be familiar with whenever we might have seen an old Pathe News short from back in the day by sports commentators commenting at the beginning of some grand prix where maybe Sterling Moss was racing.
The saying, bizarrely so, comes to mind when I consider the controversial ‘Inside the Gang’ documentary series airing on Channel 5 which began May 8th.
The programme’s airing caused much offense and consternation among the black community across the country particularly on social media platforms, and rightly so!
Campaigns were conducted where many either wrote in or called Channel 5 to express their dismay at their decision to air the show, and to even possibly halt it from being aired.
Instead of ‘the sunken place’ of the Get Out movie, it appears as though its groundhog day where we’ve reached an all too familiar place as a people.
Once again public eyes are subjected to watching young black men (and women) speak gratuitously, which also appears to be with impunity, about gang activities they wantonly indulge in within various urban settings of our inner cities, together with shocking images panning cinematically across our screens courtesy of the scrutinising and misinformed lens of the dominant society.
From how things seem, no technical advice was sort in this docu-series from any credibly respected activists within the black community. In my opinion such grass-roots members among our people, if included, may have had more of a positive bearing on the project by providing more rounded advice as to where such behaviour comes from, and why it exists in the first place.
Alas, in this instance things were somewhat skewed as a result, and the objective, as always, is sensationalism.
But maybe we need to ask ourselves a bigger question in times like these; what are WE going to do about instances such as this when they arise?
To be honest there isn’t actually anything wrong with showing community inadequacies or anomalies, just as long as we’re the ones who control the narrative.
To this day there are many documentaries on Al Capone and his St Valentine’s Day massacre, Charles Lucky Luciano or The Kray twins, as well as movies such as Goodfellas and The Godfather trilogy which to a fair degree not only romanticises the violence displayed by common thugs.
But I would hasten to add that the wider society does its best to place such dramatization into historical and even academic context, which consequentially immunises the community it depicts from any kind of imposition concerning false narratives.
In addition to this, White Supremacy creates counterbalances where it also presents multiple variations of cultural expression in its mainstream media machine, thus allowing for one not to be limited in their observations of western society as a whole.
Bluntly speaking, we do not control our narrative!
We constantly allow for others to impact our community, negatively for the most part, simply because we do not seek solutions collectively, due to the fact that we are currently a divided group where apathy appears to be the rule of the day.
As a consequence this makes us vulnerable as a people, and when there are attacks committed upon us in varied forms we seldom have the means by which to repel the opposition because we tend to act more emotionally rather than proactively.
There’s something we need to embrace; mainstream media WILL NOT stop depicting us as morally bankrupt any time soon!
The only way this changes is when WE collectively establish OUR own media where WE tell OUR stories and depict OUR own lifestyles from OUR unique and exclusive place.
Let’s help keep the ‘and they’re offs’ simply to sepia-toned film footage of yesteryear!

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