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17° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 23 MAY IN AUCKLAND
By Laetitia Laubscher
May 06, 2019
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Natives: Akala

A BAFTA award-winning rapper and novelist tackles race politics in Britain.
By Laetitia Laubscher
May 06, 2019
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BAFTA award-winning rapper, journalist, novelist, poet, political activist and founder of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company, Akala, will be in conversation with New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh about his new book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire as part of the Auckland Writers Festival. (Read an extract of his book here.)

In Natives, Akala documents his personal experience of racism in Britain — Akala grew up in North London with a Scottish mother and Caribbean descent father. He argues that systematic racism pushed him to go from being a bookish "wannabe Max Planck to [being] a wannabe gangster" for a part of his life.

Now an entrepreneur, poet, recording artist, Akala weaves together his personal story with an analysis of the larger ramifications of racism in Britain in his book. Natives carefully deconstructs what The Guardian calls the "two pervasive and inter-connected myths; the delusion that we live in a meritocracy and the fantasy that the exceptional achievements of some black people are proof that the obstacles of poverty and race can be overcome by all".

Image: NXSH.

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