’48 years is enough’: activists and celebrities call for release of ex-Black Panther

Seventy-five public figures sign letter to New York governor asking for release of Jalil Muntaqim after nearly five decades in prison Leading civil rights activists, academics, actors and writers are calling on Andrew Cuomo to release Jalil Muntaqim, a former Black Panther who has been in prison for 48 years for one of the most high-profile killings of the 1970s black liberation struggle. Seventy-five prominent public figures have 11 times since he first became eligible in 2002 on a sentence of 25 years to life. He will be 68 at his next hearing. He was arrested in 1971 at age 19 for the ambush and murder in Harlem of two police officers, Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. Days after the …

The world is scary for girls. But there’s never been a better time to parent

I cant shield my daughter from sexism and racism. But she will be more empowered to confront it than I ever was A few months ago I met my husband and five-year-old daughter at one of those soft-play centres. This one has two storeys of obstacle course for the kids behind a floor-to-ceiling net on one side; and on the other side, Wifi and cheap wine for the parents. While my husband had been working at a small table, our daughter had befriended two kids a brother and sister in the ball pit. That boy keeps asking me to play a game with him and I dont want to, she came out and told us. Thats OK, I said. You …

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 …

‘Cops only tackled me and my friend’: why a dark skin tone makes activism dangerous

Black people in general have anxiety around law enforcement. But when youre dark-skinned, Clarissa Brooks writes, it seems to give them a full pass to disrespect you Im a community organizer. I was one of the nine students who Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which organized the Montgomery bus boycotts and the lunch counter sit-ins, and the party, both of which shaped the history of civil rights work in the south. Baker taught King about decentralized leadership and how to galvanize student activists. Hamer continued working with King to organize across the south, and he consulted her to help organize the bus boycotts, which made a name for Rosa Parks, a light-skinned activist. Yet, both Hamer and Baker have been …

‘Blackness will never go away’: how Solange takes pride in her roots

At an immersive, city-wide multimedia presentation of her new album When I Get Home, the singer-songwriter explains how her childhood home of Houston nourished her creative spirit Its one thing to think with your spirit, says Solange Knowles. Its another to actually live it through your body. The Solange of today works with feelings, grooves, and frequencies in mind. If When I Get Home, her latest release, is the sonic manifestation of that blackness. Staccato rhythms and meditative mantras designed to ground and heal her after time on the road ripple on through the bodies of her listeners. Its an album about settling into familiarity: with yourself, the people around you, and the places one calls home. At the SHAPE …