What about the yutes that aren’t athletes or rappers?
So, “can you tell me why you’re on this earth”? I pondered on this, as I took in Dave’s words on ‘Picture Me’. And I began to question, what really is the density of young black people who are not athletes, rappers or of course high grossing criminals. I love how rich our urban culture is. I take pride in the most expensive footballer being a black man. However, it feels that these are the main routes of ‘success’ for any young black person. Unfortunately, we see the same images thrown at us consistently of black people mainly gaining wealth through drugs, sports or entertainment. They throw the net worth of Jay Z and P Diddy in our faces but never net worth of Aliko Dangote. Opera Winfrey, Tidjane Thiam, Ursula Burns, Mike Adenuga, or Folorunsho Alakija. Unfortunately, most of those names don’t carry much popular appeal. However, they are some of the richest and most powerful black people in the world. In our media all we see are entertainers, public figures, athletes and drug dealers. Now so many of us are focused on surgery, cars, jewellery but very few people are focused on entrepreneurship and the progression of our people. Even the recent tragedies can’t bring us together for a prolonged period of time. It feels like everyone wants to be Rich Porter or Lira Galore but no one wants to be Naana Otoo-Oyortey, Piers Linney or Ken Olisa. So here Dave has asked a very important question, “what about the yutes that aren’t athletes or rappers?”
I think the most impactful problem right now is ‘underdog psychosis’. Underdog psychosis is a term created by Skepta I feel he portrays these emotions expertly on ‘Castles’:
‘All these negative preconceptions just bring more negativity
Instead of investing in new businesses they buy new artillery
Everybody in the hood wants to spray a 16 and I don’t mean lyrically
Underdog psychosis spreading around in the hood like flu
Security guards follow me around like I ain’t got £2 to pay for my juice
Now all this bullshit got me smoking this stupid zoot
Tell Boris he’s lucky that I made it rapping or I would’ve been looting too
Niggas ain’t got GCSEs still don’t wanna work for a minimum wage
These days man will murder a man for a box of grade
Every time the .38 barrel spins Martin Luther turns in the grave
It’s real life, no computer game, we’re living in the streets of rage’
At many stages of my life I have been my own enemy and probably so have you. To the point where I have believed without crime or blowing in football, I could never make serious money. When all you see on TVs is chains, cars and women. Then you go on instagram and see vacations, champagne and designer clothes. I guess it makes you want these things fast. Instead of us investing together, we buy weapons, ‘deets’, and our next supply of drugs. Everyday I see how divided we are, online, in universities and even back home. Men vs women, light skin vs dark skin and Nigeria vs Jamaica. Similar to Skepta, although I fought through the school system, it was one that left me with deep anxiety. I remember being in year 6, and being put on a ‘stupid table’ along with 5 other young black boys. This is an example of how I feel the system treats many black people. It’s a continuous attack on our community to create division, poverty and stagnation. We have been put down all our lives, lack of investment, being forced to take foundation exams and constant micro aggressions. I mean for how long do you expect me to not become rude, aggressive and angry. If that’s all you tell me that I am? I’m not going to go into too much detail on this but I found a book called “Underdog Psychosis: How deprived socio-economic conditions and lack of stimulation can cause underdog psychosis” by Stephen Connell. Underdog Psychosis is you seeing yourself as limited, and this can be cased by deprived socio-economic conditions and as well as a general lack of stimulation. When you’re from ‘ends’ and poor, what really is there to be or become?
It’s about time we stopped using wealth as a measure of success. I want to see our creations forming culture in the world. I want us to be liberal and have the patience to grow our own industries. I want our kindness and charity to be spoken of, all around the globe. I want us to go down as legends, because we stand for what’s right and not because of how much we owned/spent.
Here are a few examples of young black people, who used their 20s and teens to grind and become who they are today. They are a symbol that doing what you love and staying in your lane will give you far more success than following. A friend of mine Tomilola told me a long while. Follow what you love and you will always be the best, so you will always have money. Thank you to these 3 special people for inspiring us with your work, for staying ‘black’ and for being amazing, God bless you.
· Jamal Edwards, 26
Founder of SB TV
Patricia Bright, 29
In my opinion, the number one black British YouTuber
John Boyega, 24
Hollywood Actor, from Peckham
Extended mentions to, Shirley B. Eniang, GrmDaily and Link Up TV also.
What our main obstacles? How can we overcome them?
· System — As a young black person its very difficult to live within a system in which everyone is different from you. So just go with what feels right, never go by expectations. Embrace and learn about the culture of others. But never try to fit in, just do you and work hard. You can always create your own lane
· Division — Area codes, skin tones, wealth, nationality, why do we divide ourselves so much. Don’t we see this is what they do to keep us at the bottom? We must come together to renew our strength as a community
· Police — We would all be dead if they had it their own way. We are the most likely to be search too but often try and record these encounters (When safe too). Understand your rights, particularly with stop & searches
· Investment — We must invest back into our community. Whether that is giving £20 a year to your old ACS. Buying from black businesses or just starting up a new network. Invest into your people, sharing the tools you have
· Education/Information — READ. READ. READ. We are so intelligent and capable. We must all know more about our history, more about the truth, much of the world is “white washed”. We are amazing people who have achieved many amazing things, go and ask Akala. “If you want to hide something frim a black man, put it in a book”, well not anymore… Try harder
· Ourselves — You must consistently develop yourself and shine your light. Inspire, educate and share. You are powerful beyond measure and capable of anything. All you need is to create an ‘obsession’, become obsessed with your craft and become the best. But never forget to give back and love the people that are around you
We are making such amazing progress but we can do even more. I want more black entrepreneurs, more black activists and more black everything. Our cultures can shine along side others, is such a beautiful and inclusive thought. But that can only happen if we create the light. You have potential, never forget that. There are factors standing against you but the biggest one will always be you. Dont ever think, ‘who am I to stay I’m the best?’ You exist only in your own world. Don’t worry, not fitting in doesn’t mean you have a problem, the system is made for the majority, and you are still special. Embrace life, love and your people, be more and lift them up. Understand this is for more than now; this is for our children and future generations. Become a legend.