Hi Everyone! 🙂
Here is my blog I did for London360 on the Press Conference with Historian, Rapper and Writer Akala in October 2015:
Akala is a Historian, Rapper and Writer who visited the Media Trust in West London on the 14th October 2015. He gave a surprise visit and did a press conference with London360 Multimedia Genius Trainee Journalists.
Whilst growing up in London, Akala played for West Ham United Football Club and was with players such as Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and Anton Ferdinand. He said playing football helped him keep him mostly out of trouble and made him grow up. By the time he was 16, he realised he didn’t enjoy the sport as much as he used to.
He always had a passion for music but didn’t like the celebrity and drug culture surrounding the industry. His sister who is artist and rapper Ms. Dynamite really influenced him in pursuing a career in music and listening to American Hip Hop Group called the Wu-Tang Clan also influenced him.
Akala told us about his love for martial arts and how it helps him with discipline. He practices a Martial Art called Muay Thai which originates from Thailand. This form of Martial Art is very popular around the world and is part of the Ultimate Fighting Championships which originated in the USA.
Akala respects women as equals and respects his mother who is Scottish. He also mentioned about how appearances are deceiving. For example, he said that people assumed that his Scottish family were very rich and well off. The truth was that they were actually poorer than his dad’s Jamaican family. Another example he mentioned that people relate intelligence to older white people not to those of African descent.
Throughout the press conference there were a quite a few questions about history. Akala was more than happy to talk about this and how it still effects present day life.
Akala mentioned that learning history is and integral part of understanding the world. He admitted that when he was younger, he did not like learning about history. He even does lectures at different universities where he does an open-minded history version.
He talked about women of colour being erased from history. A good example he gave was the recent film release based on Suffragette movement. The film only featured white women and he said that there were Indian women who were heavily involved with the movement.
He also mentioned about how the United Kingdom and the British Empire have left a legacy and those in the room at the conference were good examples of it. Akala mentioned that as we grew up only learning about Britain and Europe’s history, we should explore the world’s history too. I was lucky to learn about my own ancestral history whilst growing up and learning more about the world’s history through travelling to researching on the internet.
A few questions were asked about religion being used as an excuse for violence. Specific examples included how the caliphate known as Islamic State say they belong to Islam. He mentioned that religion has always been used as an excuse for violence. He gave an example of Christian fundamental terrorism and how the world tries to ignore it and focuses instead on Islamic terrorism. He also gave examples of other religions being used as an excuse for violence such as Hinduism.
Finally, before Akala left he said that there is no excuse to be ignorant especially living in the United Kingdom where we have connection to the internet.