Smooth, angry, cool, powerful: how we talk about blackness

Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye has encountered endless labels all of which have informed his experience of being black and British today. Here, he unpicks their meanings BLACK Ive been black since about 1988, when I was colouring in pictures of priests at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic primary school in Brixton Hill, south London. I remember it well. We were sharing tables and colouring pencils and I looked up to find that there were no more skin colour pencils available in the pencil pot. By skin colour, I mean a shade of pinkish beige that was a pretty spot-on facsimile of what we can call white, European skin. Caucasian colour. With a hint of tan. Tea with an overgenerous splash …