Society and Arts editor at The Conversation. Previously acting Deputy Editor & columnist at Independent Voices. Formerly gal-dem, The Pool, and the FT's Money Management magazine. [email protected] for commissions.
Kuba Shand-Baptiste works as Deputy Editor of The Independent's opinion desk, and will shortly be moving to The Conversation as Society and Arts Editor. She has written essays for Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What's Next? (4th Estate 2020) as featured on British Vogue's website and gal-dem's "I Will Not Be Erased": Our [...]
News, Features and Appearances
A vibrant, inescapably uplifting production, adapted from the original stage musical by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Manuel-Miranda (who wrote the play's music and lyrics), the musical is stunning in every sense of the word.
In a country with as tight a grip on the Tudor monarchy's narrative as Britain, it's not surprising that after dozens of depictions of the 16th century royal family, we still can't stop talking about them. And Anne Boleyn is no exception.
In his widely contested rebuttal to Joe Biden's speech to Congress, Republican South Carolina senator Tim Scott made a familiar claim: "Hear me clearly. America is not a racist country," he said in a self-assured tone.
In the latest of a series of Press Gazette articles looking at diversity and the media, Barbara Blake Hannah Award winner Kuba Shand-Baptise reflects on the Press Gazette survey which last week identified widespread concerns about racism in the UK media.
It didn’t take long for the world to feel the pandemic’s impact on existing inequalities. A year after the arrival of COVID-19, however, and many of those outcomes have proven to be far more wide-reaching and devastating than anticipated, especially where race and ethnicity is concerned. As more research emerged over the course of the past year, the role that structural racism has played in furthering these inequalities has become increasingly apparent. Join us for a lively discussion...
White sandy beaches don't mean much when you have nothing to your name - even less when you've been forcibly removed from your home to a country you haven't set foot in for years. Kuba Shand-Baptiste speaks to the deportees facing not only uncertainty in Jamaica, but violence too
The British media's dedication to antiquity is nothing if not tenacious. But as parts of it struggle to let go of one outdated concept - namely the idea that the "UK media is not bigoted", as the Society of Editors recently stated and then withdrew - another seems to be falling out of favour much more rapidly: the use of the term "BAME".
Barbara Blake Hannah is the first black female reporter to appear on British TV... Recently, independent journalist Kuba Shand-Baptiste has been named winner of the first Barbara Blake Hannah Press award at the British Press Awards. We welcome both ladies as we highlight their tremendous work: Barbara Blake Hannah and Kuba Shand-Baptiste
LONDON: Kuba Shand-Baptiste, a journalist on The Independent 'Voices' news beat, has been named as the first winner of the Barbara Blake-Hannah Award for an up-and-coming journalist from a black minority ethnic background.
Kuba Shand-Baptiste has been named as the first winner of the Barbara Blake-Hannah award for an up-and-coming journalist from a BAME background. Shand-Baptiste was nominated for her work on the Voices comment section of The Independent. She has since joined The Conversation as society and arts editor.
To celebrate the release of Lovers Rock, part of Steve McQueen's critically-acclaimed anthology of films, Small Axe, we speak to West Indian elders about their real life love stories. Aprox. 10 mins in article This article is in partnership with startup accelerator and studio, BBC iPlayer.
Most black women are still not being heard in Britain today. And those who do speak out are often punished for using their voices. How do we take up a seat at the table and speak on our own terms? Black women's experience is now moving from the private to the public sphere, bringing with it new opportunities and challenges for those on the frontline of change.
From Mis-Teeq to Eternal, British pop music is indebted to the powerhouse vocals provided by black groups and soloists. So why are they still curiously absent from the scene? Asks Janine Francois
All the latest breaking news on Alien Nation. Browse The Independent's complete collection of articles and commentary on Alien Nation.
Voices A debate in the House of Commons about Critical Race Theory has again exposed the Conservative Party's agenda of weaponising racism against Britain's ethnic minority population If there's one defining aspect of Boris Johnson's leadership, it is his refusal to take responsibility for anything he or his government has done.
For as long as the United Kingdom has avoided and then reluctantly struggled its way through an overdue discourse about the inner workings of racism, the communities who experience it have been fighting a dual battle: convincing white people it exists and attempting to gut ourselves of the cancerous influence it has on us when that racism is internalised
In an exclusive extract from 'Loud Black Girls: Twenty Black Women Writers Ask, What's Next?', Kuba Shand-Baptiste shares how she came to love Caribbean cuisine and foster a positive body image in spite of white supremacist messaging in the UK.
Voices Our love of pubs seems closely tied to national pride and prioritising a pint with our friends over saving lives is wrong There's always been something curious to me about how tightly the UK is gripped by pub culture.
Voices If people had put in the hours I have over the years - watching a fascinating, psychological game between the cast, the producers and the public - they'd be hooked As much as I love it, I've always felt a creeping sense of guilt about my ability to sink into the bottomless pit of reality TV.
Voices These are the bare bones of the historic event. We should remember that Coronavirus has taken many things from us. Loved ones, job opportunities, the comfort of regular human contact. Cumulatively, it has been devastating.
Listen to this episode from VENT Weekly on Spotify. It's GCSE results day... except this year - no-one sat the exams. After grade A, A-Level confusion with students finding themselves down-graded by an algorithm and losing university places, the Government made a U-turn and dropped the system ahead of today's GCSE results.
We all know the routine when A-level results day rolls around: tell the kids that exams don't actually matter, reel off personal anecdotes about the education system of yesteryear, argue with each other over how we show our support, or lack thereof.
Dawn Butler is optimistic.
When Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's hit single WAP landed last Friday, it was with (pun fully intended) a giant splash. Awash with huge fountains in the shape of large breasts, explicit double entendres and nods to the infamous Lil Kim squat, the video, predictably, has embroiled the internet in fierce debates for days now.
I spent my childhood watching America's black sitcom stars shine. There were a sprinkling of British offerings too: The brilliant 3 Non-Blondes, a hidden camera comedy show headed up, rather unusually even by today's standards, by three darker-skinned black women, Ninia Benjamin, Tameka Empson and Jocelyn Jee Esien; the recently revived The Real McCoy; Desmonds.
Join our next livestream on Friday 17 July, International Day of Justice, at 8PM BST as we celebrate the UK Virtual Theatrical Bohemia Media release of Sundance 2019 Grand Jury Prize winner #ClemencyFilm. We’ll be in conversation with writer and director Chinonye Chukwu and and starring cast Alfre Woodard, Wendell Pierce and Aldis Hodge.
They say dying by lethal injection feels like being burnt alive. The deadly, usually three-drug cocktail has the highest botch rate of all the methods used to kill prisoners in the United States. It is also the most commonly used. That's the ugly truth we're confronted with mere minutes into Chinonye Chukwu's gut-punching film.
It's difficult to admit you're wrong. I, like many quietly strong-willed people, have been trying to figure out the best way to do it since childhood. But one thing I'm glad to say with certainty that I left behind in the playground is the obnoxious assumption that my convictions are worthy of praise, simply because I'm stubborn enough to hold on to them.
It's astounding - no matter how often it happens - how regularly and spectacularly MPs contradict themselves. No free school meals for kids; more free school meals for kids. We're coming out of lockdown; Leicester is going into lockdown. And in the case of Keir Starmer this week: Black Lives, er, Matter?
First, they came for the avocados and coffees we supposedly (but didn't actually) spend too much on. Now Gen Z has taken up the mantle, ruthlessly dragging each and every millennial with more acute and hurtful observations than the boomers ever could have mustered.
Many of you won't have heard of Matthew John Lee. I hadn't, until recently.
Let me start by saying this: What you've been witnessing over the past week since news of the killings of more black people fanned the embers of a discussion we have continually failed to have in an open, mainstream, multiracial forum, is but a slither of a range of conversations, theories and actions that have taken place within a number of black communities around the globe
For a brief second, when the lockdown first began, you'd be forgiven for thinking things might change.
We're not short of infuriating examples of society's sense of entitlement over women's bodies. But those mindless ideas about what certain women "should" or "shouldn't" look like are rarely quite as pronounced when a woman's appearance changes on her own terms. This week, few can feel more familiar with that phenomenon than Adele.
One of the more fascinating, though extremely irritating, aspects of the coronavirus lockdown has been how well the advertising world has adapted to the pandemic, particularly on TV. It makes sense. Appearing to share the values of the average person has always been what they do best, so really, it was inevitable that they'd slot into quarantine life so well.
When I first heard about clap for our carers, I was - like many more than would have admitted at the time - deeply cynical. "What on earth is applause going to do to alleviate the escalating strain on already overwhelmed services?"
If ever there's been any confusion about the fact that white women do not like to be reminded that they are, in fact, white women, look no further than the ridiculous "Is Karen a slur?" debate on social media.
In the 23 years since the UN officially recognised International Women's Day, we have made great strides towards social justice in the UK. We have seen the introduction of statutory maternity pay, the first black woman MP, steps towards making it illegal for employers to discriminate against trans people - the list goes on.
New BBC1 prime-time drama Noughts + Crosses has got everyone talking, and not just because it stars grime superstar Stormzy as a newspaper editor. It's an adaptation of Malorie Blackman's award-winning novels, set on an island not too dissimilar to Britain.
For many of us, it started with towels. Childhood bathtime routines completed, we'd swan around with heavy bundles of fabric atop our heads, swinging it back and forth, enjoying the weight of the terry cloth cascading down our backs.
If you had the pleasure of strolling through Stratford in London on Tuesday, it may well have caught you. Despite numerous warnings against its use, the Metropolitan Police Service has gone ahead with its live facial recognition (LFR) programme, rolling it out in front of the Stratford Centre shopping complex.
You can almost predict the trajectory of the British government's policies by looking at the US. Just like Donald Trump, barely a couple of months after Boris Johnson secured his "powerful new mandate" at the ballot box, immigrants are bearing the brunt of government policy.
As Joaquin Phoenix's Baftas acceptance speech does the rounds, it appears we're about to enter yet another period of "reflection". "How?!", the mostly white industry insiders cry. "How can we make a difference? When will this madness STOP?" I'm being facetious.
Something worrying is happening in the British media. In fact, a tide has been turning for some time. As waves of shouting over Brexit and bigotry roll over us, we are left swimming in an industry-wide sea of contrarian commentary.
The tale of the shameless, unfiltered celebrity relative is as old as the concept of fame itself, but no matter how often it rears its ugly, self-serving head, it is no less unnerving to witness. In the case of Meghan Markle versus Thomas Markle in particular, it's excruciating.
If I had a penny for every time some well-intentioned citizen has interrupted my four-times daily ritual of puffing away on a death stick with a spiel about how bad smoking is for you, I'd be a very rich woman. Alas, that's not the way things work.
The penny should have dropped long before now. That it has taken this amount of time is a sign of a much bigger issue: the UK's unwillingness to accept, once and for all, that black children are exposed to discrimination the minute they enter the education system.
Take a second to trawl through the #TwitterMomentsOfTheDecade and pretty soon you'll notice it. Between every meme and tweets from the disgruntled fans of Vine stars of yesteryear there's also a seemingly endless supply of noteworthy moments from what has come to be known as " Black Twitter ".
For all the glitz and sparkle we associate with Christmas, it can be one of the most stressful periods of the year - and after one of the most divisive election campaigns in years, perhaps particularly so.
If anyone needs a stringent lesson in accountability, it's Harvey Weinstein. Yet judging by the news of the former film mogul's settlement agreement with more than 30 of his accusers - and now his claim that he was a "pioneer" in supporting female actors and directors - no one seems less likely to understand the gravity of his alleged crimes than the man himself.
That this morning is Friday the 13th is poetic indeed. We have shifted towards the Conservatives' cold embrace for a full decade, and now we know we have at least five more years to go.
This election was supposed to be about so much more. With days to go until we all drag ourselves to our designated poll stations, or cast our postal votes, the chance to make it about anything else already seems to be a lost cause.
Whenever something as horrific as an attack on innocent people occurs, the minutes, hours and days following can feel muddled, to put it mildly.
For all its failings, the one thing the Conservative Party has always had going for it come election time is its ability to tap into apathy. It's a peculiar talent, given parliamentary candidates' ongoing struggle to engage with, let alone understand, the average Brit without malfunctioning.
We've come a long way from the days of telling children that they should be seen and not heard. Once a display of insubordination, in 2019 the audacity of piping up at the dinner table or offering unsolicited opinions is no longer considered a punishable offence for a child.
Sorting through the noise of ever-changing political developments in the UK has been something of a challenge since the 2016 referendum. With a bitter and progressively divisive general election on the horizon, that's especially true now.
Just as Boris Johnson's campaign for the general election heats up, his political spin doctors' shameless tactics have plunged to new and indefensible lows. Here we are, overwhelmed by not just one scandal but a whole range of campaign missteps from the Conservative Party - so many, in fact, that you're probably wondering which one I'm talking about now.
There is a lot to love about Warrior Women (Channel 4), the new Lupita Nyong'o-led documentary about an all-female army, and the onslaught of colonialism and slavery that led to its downfall.
For all the strides they've made, I have a funny feeling about Extinction Rebellion. Of course, I'm not alone. There are those who - swayed by their own prejudices about activism - distrust them on that basis alone.
As the inquest into the death of another of the Windrush scandal migrants , I can't help but think about the scale of the issue at hand. Dexter Bristol was a 58-year-old Grenadian man who came to the UK at eight years old and died after what his family called 18 months of unbearable stress imposed by the Home Office.
Whenever something as horrific as an attack on innocent people occurs, the minutes, hours and days following can feel muddled, to put it mildly.
The crimes of rape and sexual assault are complex things, so it's curious how readily some of us are willing to abandon that idea when it comes to certain cases, often over little more than our preconceived views of the parties involved.
Why has this young girl captured the public and political imagination so comprehensively that we refuse to let her go? Because she's the acceptable face of protest
An Honest Account is a podcast about how money affects our lives: our work, health, relationships and more, with a side of practical advice. An Honest Account is a podcast about how money affects our lives: our work, health, relationships and more, with a side of practical advice.
Do we live in a functioning meritocracy? Sceptics will feel entirely vindicated this week after the release of the former prime minister's resignation honours list. Looking at her list, and the wave of criticism that followed, it's clear her grasp on what that actually means was lost long ago.
I've lost count of the number of times I've walked down the colourful, sweaty streets that make up Notting Hill Carnival over the years. I've lived a 10-minute walk from the event, perhaps my favourite of the year, all my life.
We've known for some time just how big an impact rape culture has had on society. Many of us have also, at some stage, witnessed the nonchalance with which some people treat sexual harassment, even in the face of growing, global, victim-led efforts like the #MeToo movement.
Printing motivational words about picking up boxing gloves or taking up the mic instead of a criminal career is painfully weak. This looks like it is all about Brexit Party votes
We're living in terrifying times, according to the current government. Which, to be fair, isn't entirely untrue.
There are some stories that hit us harder than others. Usually driven by our personal connection to a given issue or individual, digesting the news can be an incredibly personal act. Especially when there's a death involved.
Given the eternal life of the written word, it would be odd to call this the end. But with the death of Toni Morrison, one of the most gifted and boundary-pushing contemporary writers we've had, it feels like the beginning of the end of something huge.
When African artists with fanbases too small to go up against powerhouses as combative as the Beyhive are criticised for sticking up for their art, or accused of 'hating', rather than sincerely attempting to protect their property, we should wait and listen
While countries including the Bahamas, one of the 12 member states of the Caribbean Community’s Reparations Committee, continue to call for the world to pay attention, the UK has opted to do the opposite
Try as we might, the chasm between celebrity and everyday life for the rest of us can make it difficult to relate - I mean, really relate - to the superstars in our midst, but sometimes, when the curtain of fame is drawn back, we're given a glimpse into the human experiences that transcend that social divide.
There are some campaigners, and particularly some feminists, who seem to believe that in order to achieve a more equal society there are people out there who need saving from themselves.
There's delicious irony in all of this. Weeks after (once again) dismissing the dangers of doctored political footage on Facebook, its founder and CEO unwittingly landed the starring role in a misleading video of his own. Well, not technically his own, it's part of an art installation called that he had nothing to do with.
Just hours after the news broke that sexually transmitted infections have reached a 40-year high , another three clinics were shut down , this time in Scotland. By the time I've finished writing this, whispers of more shutdowns across the UK will no doubt make their way through communities they once served, with reasons ranging from staff shortages to funding issues.
Hair loss is a particular social stigma for black women, and the shame involved is compounded by a worrying lack of awareness of the varying ways in which alopecia presents itself in afro hair.
As if universal credit hadn't already caused enough devastation, now the government's attention has been turned back to another damaging consequence of the flawed benefits system: survival sex.
I was about 14 when I was first pursued by an older man. I'd come bounding home from school one late afternoon in my uniform - a black tracksuit with red accents known to pretty much anyone who lived in the area - and there he was.
Exactly a week after Republican governor Brian Kemp mercilessly signed away millions of people's right to have an abortion in Georgia, Alabama has effectively joined the war against terminating pregnancies. The restriction, the strictest in America when it comes to abortion laws, will see millions forced to carry pregnancies to term no matter the circumstance, unless it poses a direct threat to the mother's life.
For all the division Brexit has fostered over the past few years, there's one thing most of us should be able to agree on: it's exhausting. Talking about it is tiring, trying to wrap your head around the constantly changing developments is confusing, at best.
The excuses vary, but they amount to the same thing. "I didn't mean it." "It's a joke." And, as of yesterday, when BBC 5 Live presenter Danny Baker was alerted to the racist connotations of tweeting a photo which appeared to compare the newborn royal baby to a literal ape, he said: "Sorry my gag of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up.
Ms. Lauryn Hill headlines Love Supreme this year and her classic album 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' has recently turned 20 years old. To celebrate its impact and to understand its timeless appeal, we talk to contributors from around the world, including Steam Down, Andreya Triana and Myele Manzanza.
This is the same United Kingdom that was so taken aback by Jon Snow's remark on 'Channel 4 News' that he had 'never seen so many white people in one place' at a predominantly white Brexiteer rally, that thousands of people, unfamiliar with being classified as anything but the default, complained
Bret Easton Ellis has been embroiled in controversy for the last 34 years. His cocaine-heavy debut novel, Less Than Zero was dismissed by a then senior Simon & Schuster editor as a novel about "c**k-sucking, coke-snorting zombies" .
The notion of rape culture has cropped up time and again in mainstream spaces over the past few years. Yet, we still seem woefully ignorant to what it actually means. This weekend, a comment from Ukip leader, Gerard Batten, inadvertently gave us a refresher.
It's a tale as old as time: an economic downturn leads to poverty and then right-wing populism seeks to exploit the moment, placing the rights of the marginalised immediately under pressure.
5 minute read I've always suspected I was going to lose my hair. It started when I was a kid. I'd pore over pictures of my mother in her twenty-something years - her short, afro cut with buzzed sides gleaming in the late eighties summer sun, not too much older than I am now, at 26-years-old - knowing that this now very much in fashion cut, was in fact her best means of coping with stress-induced alopecia.
Hollywood feeds the myth that black suffering is all black people can bring to the big screen, but by vowing to put black actors front and centre, regardless of the story, Peele reminds us all we have so much more to say
Like so many others, I remember Jade Goody's death like it was yesterday. At the start of her eight years in the public eye, we watched the Big Brother star pop up loud, brash and unabashed on our screens. She won over the nation, then appalled the nation again on Celebrity Big Brother.
There's been a lot of focus on the media's role in amplifying certain voices over others in recent years. Last week, the devastating Christchurch attack in New Zealand reignited the conversation, with criticism directed at columnists who've unabashedly defended Islamophobia in print and online.
The government has shown, time and again, that its grasp on anything remotely digital has been severely lacking for quite some time now. Last year, the then digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) secretary launched his famous Hancock-up of an app, "Matt Hancock MP".
Solange Knowles has never been coy about the intent behind her music. Beautiful arrangements and seamless production notwithstanding, you get the sense, each time she drop a project, that it serves a distinct, zeitgeist-shifting purpose.
Every once in a while, an internet phenomenon so bizarre, and so apparently dangerous, that it pushes parents and authorities into overdrive. Sometimes the threat is relatively real. "Extreme selfie" challenges, in which people put themselves in dangerous positions in order to get the perfect Instagram shot, are a pertinent example.
We can't seem to get rid of blackface. Each year, there's a new scandal - usually embedded in pop culture, and almost always accompanied by the same response: those affected by it protest it, those who've only ever been socialised to see it as harmless fun don't.
It's strange to think that the formerly abstract threat of Brexit has somehow failed to become any clearer in the two years since the result of the EU referendum was delivered.
We often discuss the alarmingly prevalent stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections in abstract terms. It's bad, we say, things should have moved on by now. But they haven't. Because what often slips under the radar, are the far-reaching effects of treating those things as inherently shameful, when in reality it's often just a matter of being more vigilant, and seeing healthcare professionals more regularly.
Nowadays, major sports events and crackdowns on human trafficking tend to go hand in hand. As last weekend's Super Bowl approached, wild speculation about an imminent sex trafficking threat of epic proportions followed, leading various firms and agencies to announce measures to save women from unthinkable fates. This isn't new.
Liam Neeson has come under fire after admitting that he once harboured violent thoughts about killing a black person in revenge after someone close to him was raped. The Taken actor, 66, revealed in an interview to promote his new film Cold Pursuit, that he had walked the streets armed with a weapon hoping he would be approached by someone "so that I could kill him".
These days, when Liam Neeson comes up in conversation, so too does his onscreen penchant for taking justice into his own hands on behalf of his loved ones. From Taken, "If you let my daughter go now that'll be the end of it.
For the average person with the average bank account, the words "luxury" and "flying" are pretty much incongruous.
Smart, considered representations of oppressed social groups are still relatively rare in the media. It's the reason people like me still exclaim with excitement when, once in a blue moon, a black family (for bonus points, a black family with a dark-skinned black woman at the helm) appears in an advert.
Not all journalists are created equal. Some are just better than others of course, but it's more nuanced than that. Some are better at thumb-sucking thinkpieces, some better at the real-time scramble for breaking stories, others have more contacts and less style, or vice versa.
For those of us who have had the luxury of not coming into direct contact with the criminal justice system, the idea that prison is largely rehabilitative carries a lot of weight.
It's taken a painfully long time for the voices intent on keeping the palatable aspects of R Kelly's legacy alive to be eclipsed by those detailing allegations against him, but in the wake of the six-part Lifetime documentary, Surviving R Kelly, it seems we're finally reaching a turning point.
Following a week of shoving copious amounts of food and drink down our throats, suffering difficult relatives and inexplicably consuming hours of the worst of the worst that Christmas TV had to offer - Bird Box, anyone? - most would be forgiven for being more concerned with questions like: "Are you still watching?"
There are too many examples to count of articles creating so much backlash that writers have had to flee social media as a result. In some cases the alarm and outrage has been warranted: when a piece directly attacks a group of people for no reason, or promotes violence, it can be helpful when people rally to point out the dangerous repercussions of baseless, provocative takes.
Considering the popularity of the notion that women are inherently more fragile than men, it's odd that when our "fragility" - usually actual, excruciating pain and suffering - presents itself in medical settings, we're often left with nothing to remedy what we're going through but a patronising instruction to "just deal with it".
We just simply can't afford to take risks, went Craigslist's statement following the passing of a bill that saw personals "regretfully" removed from the website. "To the millions of spouses, partners and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!"
Given the world's waning levels of patience for different points of view, the tendency to dismiss opinion journalism as mindless content - especially when it comes from those of us whose opinions are routinely discredited because of who we are, or how high or low-brow the topics we cover are considered to be - is far from surprising.
There is hope for the future yet, Michelle Obama urged at the London stop on her highly anticipated Becoming tour at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall. Borrowing from Martin Luther King Jr's often appropriated phrase, she reminded the audience of nearly 3,000 people that, in reference to the current presidential administration, "change is not a straight line".
The first time someone ever used the n-word in a derogatory sense towards me was in the playground at primary school. It was a white classmate, barely aware of the meaning of the word herself, yet somehow she knew that I, one of her only black friends, was the "correct" target for the term.
Stealth has never been Donald Trump's strong point. With aggressive press conferences and blustering, hateful speech, inflicting the world with his innermost inane thoughts seems to be his version of political diplomacy. The US president's refusal to openly criticise Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is one such example.
With the full weight of Trump's presidency on our shoulders, there's something devilishly comforting about losing yourself in a book that so effortlessly pulls you out of today's hellscape and thrusts you back to what, comparably, at least, seem like the good old days.
It's been almost a year and a half since the decades-long allegations of sexual abuse against R Kelly resurfaced in the form of a BuzzFeed expose, poised to be (but not quite) the last nail in the coffin of the R&B singer's career, as other revelations had done for similarly accused stars.
All too often, young people - especially young black people - aren't listened to or included in conversations at governmental level about knife and gun crime. On the Voices desk, we get to start those conversations and hopefully see them gain momentum
For people of colour in predominantly white countries, ignoring underhand comments in languages you may not be fluent in, but in tones you understand full well, is almost a guarantee, says Kuba Shand-Baptiste
You would think that 31 years after its establishment in the UK, we'd be used to Black History Month. The name itself is self-explanatory, and while its purpose should be too, year after year attempts to commemorate the lives and contributions of black Brits are thwarted.
After decades of exhaustive campaigning and public bashing, the victims of disgraced actor and comedian Bill Cosby have finally been heard. In the first tangible step towards giving his accusers some form of justice, Cosby was handed down a sentence of up to 10 years in prison on Tuesday for three counts of aggravated indecent assault, for the sexual assault and drugging Andrea Constand in 2004.
London Fashion Week has come to an end, bringing with it the usual reflections on whether or not the notoriously exclusive fashion industry has moved into a new era of inclusion.
The latest debate around sex work has found none other than Lily Allen at the epicentre of it. Ahead of the release of her upcoming memoir My Thoughts Exactly (as well as the subsequent release of the story in The Mail on Sunday), the singer revealed that she slept with female escorts during her 2014 Sheezus tour, because she was "lost and lonely and looking for something".
The countdown to Notting Hill Carnival, for those who live and breathe the culture that shapes it, begins the moment the summer sun sets up camp in our typically grey skies.
Few albums have stood the test of time like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: a record so sonically perfect that it has propped up the career of its eponymous singer for 20 years. Gifting the world ageless, raw anthems, and endearing skits about life, love and spirituality, The Miseducation spoke with an honesty that only a select few in mainstream R&B could indulge in at the time.
Notting Hill Carnival isn't for everyone. Given that the annual event draws around two million revellers each year, its sheer scale can be enough to put people off entirely. There are the usual complaints about crime (last year saw 300 arrests and 28 police officers injured over the weekend), traditionalists bemoaning its failure to remain "what it used to be", and attempts by carnival detractors to cull the celebration for good.
Through a fog of food-truck smoke, a sea of Ivy Park and feminist slogan-clad fans move through the London stadium. To my left are groups of black girls in co-ordinated yellow or gold-hued outfits; to my right, yards of bee motifs. This was an experience, like many before it, that we'd all tell our grandchildren about.
There’s a belief, often for very good reason, that when push comes to shove, women get shit done. When challenged, we have an almost superhuman-like capacity to just get on with things, usually for the betterment of everyone – even if we aren’t fully rewarded for the effort (see: the indefensibly large and stubbornly persistent gender pay gap). Except having women serve as leaders isn’t in and of itself an indicator that better things are on the horizon for the marginalised
The return of Insecure - the eternally dysfunctional, mirror-rapping reflection of many a millennial - is imminent, and this time there doesn't seem to be any sign of Lawrence (Jay Ellis), Insecure's frustratingly charming, but similarly misguided former leading man.
When government-mandated gender pay gap reports for larger companies were released this April, the response was generally of great alarm. With a picture of structural workplace inequality right before our eyes, women in a number of industries were galvanised to speak out, pushing for better opportunities and more transparency in the process.
Harriet Minter loves Love Island, but don't tell anyone. If you are quietly saying to people "I know I'm not supposed to like Love Island but... " then you are in the right place.
Several weeks on from widespread coverage on the ever-unfolding Home Office Windrush scandal, Kuba Shand-Baptiste reflects on its reverberations within British communities
In the three years since Love Island as we know it first swept the nation, phrases like "Where's your head at?", "on paper" and "a bit of me" have pretty much become as intrinsic to the show as being conventionally attractive, straight and no bigger than a size 10 (only if you're a woman, of course).
There's a lot that can be said about Everything Is Love, Beyoncé and Jay Z's latest highly anticipated joint project and fans have wasted no time in sharing conspiracy theories and wild analyses about the power couple's latest effort since it dropped on Saturday evening.
For many a fan of Sex And The City, the 90s television show was a bastion of truth for the varying experiences of thirtysomething women navigating love and life in big cities.
Lack of opportunity plus discrimination experienced by black nurses is not only hurting them personally, it's also crippling the NHS.
A criminally unknown story about the rape of a black woman at the hands of six white men is finally exposed in Nancy Buirski's latest documentary
Body positivity as we now know it, proud rolls, #effyourbeautystandards and self-love abound, has exploded beyond its 1960s grassroots origins, reaching a pinnacle of championship never before seen on this scale.
The weaponisation of white women's tears has been a point of debate for quite some time among people of colour. We know what it means to raise a grievance at work, at school, in social settings, only to be silenced by the apparent distress of the very person responsible for the issue at hand.
Bridgitte Tetteh explores hurdles single black women face when looking for love in 2018.
We often come across stories on Twitter that seem like the stuff of legend: wildly exaggerated stories about suspiciously eloquent toddlers, creepy urban legends spun as personal anecdotes.
There was palpable anger in the room at the Sunday-afternoon preview of Stephen: The Murder That Changed A Nation. Hopeless, gut-wrenching anger - the kind that forces teeth into a grind and sends tears streaming down cheeks.
Kuba Shand-Baptiste has spoken to students of colour from all over the country who are navigating discrimination at higher-education institutions
Megan Kimberling has had high-fashion spreads in the pages of all manner of magazines. From Vogue Italia to niche, body-inclusive titles like Volup2, her body - and inimitable look - has been heralded by millions across the globe. Yet, like many plus-size women in the public eye, she has been subjected to relentless trolling.
In 2018, the notion of women boxers isn't exactly unheard of. We have come to know the names of a select few women-boxing stars, seen the arrival of a Barbie-doll version of our very own Olympic boxing champion, Nicola Adams - albeit without the muscles that she has built up during her more than two-decade long career - and continued to make strides towards recognising the talents of women in a field that has long been considered incompatible with their gender.
This Mother's Day weekend, many of us will have enjoyed the privilege of spending time doting on the women who raised us. We bought flowers and cards, posted intimate family photos on social media and, in many cases, observed the mother figures who are no longer with us.
Kuba Shand-Baptiste talked to Eclipse Theatre's artistic director about her Revolution Mix movement and its efforts to change the landscape of theatre
The recent exposure of sexual misconduct by charity workers in Haiti, Sudan and Chad has forced us to reckon with a series of uncomfortable truths: revered charities like Oxfam and Save The Children have turned a blind eye to sexual exploitation for years, women and children have been put in danger as a direct result of engaging with said organisations, and it has taken until now for the culprits responsible for sexual misconduct to face any real consequences.
There's been a lot of buzz around this year's Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. And while some of it may have been fuelled by political tensions between the host country and their autocratic neighbours; news of record-breaking condom provision ( yes, really); and the partial ban on team Russia over doping, one of the most exciting aspects of the winter games is the fact that it will be filled with incredible young talent.
The words "inclusive" and "diverse" don't exactly spring to mind with the mention of the two top universities in the country. But once in a blue moon, a story about the achievements of the few black students who have managed to make it in trickles through the constant wave of reports which suggest such a thing is almost impossible.
When it was announced that Scotland was on track to becoming the first country in the world to offer free sanitary products, through a regional pilot scheme, there was an explosion of hope across Britain.
Alec Baldwin has referred to his time working with Woody Allen as "one of the privileges of my career", going against the growing list of celebrities who have chosen to publically distance themselves from the director.
Blissfully unaware of their own shortcomings, these men would invent reasons to justify my appeal to themselves; they preferred to believe that I was thick and not fat.
2017: Women in TV and film; women & homelessness; women of colour in mainstream media.
The world's resident activist extraordinaire-cum-rock star, Bono, is worried. And this time, it has nothing to do with righting the wrongs of the world, or the launch of a new celebrity-fronted humanitarian campaign. It's about the men, man. The men and their displaced rage.
We have this conversation all the time. Whether it's tied to letting non-black people know for the umpteenth time that, no, dressing up as a black person for Halloween does not require painting your skin, or reminding people of the sinister origins of seemingly harmless Christmas favourites like White Christmas, it's a dialogue that most people, regardless of their level of understanding about what makes blackface as offensive as it is, would be hard pressed to ignore.
In the latest effort to divide the #MeToo movement, a poster suggesting that Meryl Streep "knew" about Weinstein's behaviour has begun to pop up around Hollywood
Womanspreading is having a moment, finally. The increasingly popular power-pose, which involves women proudly abandoning demure stances of yesteryear, seems to have become a favourite among celebrities like Solange, Jennifer Lopez, Bella Hadid and Kylie Jenner. What's new about the idea of women defiantly spreading their legs in public or for photos is its popularity, not its conception, of course.
Windrush migration may have been great for this country, but it drove families apart, too. Kuba Shand-Baptiste speaks to her mother, Everine, about her experience
In a world where activity trackers have inexplicably become one of the most coveted features of wearable technology - Fitbit recorded 23.2 million active users by December 2016, while health apps were in the top three mobile trends last year - it would make sense for Google to assume that adding something akin to a calorie counter on Google Maps would go down well.
When it first emerged that Woody Allen had the gall to give his two-cents on the Harvey Weinstein allegations, I could feel the eyes of millions of women around the globe rolling back into their heads.
Londone Myers is one of many models who have called out the beauty industry's shortcomings when it comes styling black women
In the three days since the horrific mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival, we've borne witness to a repeat of the character narrative that tends to follow immediately after similar acts of terrorism.
So, Kylie Jenner is five months pregnant, reportedly. And, as much as I've tried to ignore the news - in my opinion, there is nothing redeemable about the Kardashian family, save for the often shameless, yet genius, PR tactics that keep their empire afloat - it's everywhere.
What do you do when racism strikes on holiday?
If you haven't seen the #drawingwhileblack hashtag on social media - the online movement started by 19-year-old agender and first-generation Ghanaian-American artist Annabelle Hayford - you're likely to have it land on your timeline in the very near future.
John Lewis is the first retailer in the country to remove gender labelling from its children's clothing. The change comes as part of a wider effort to avoid "reinforc[ing] gender stereotypes", so as to give consumers and their children more choice when it comes to what to wear.
The pioneering L'Oréal Paris UK campaign partnership between activist, model and DJ Munroe Bergdorf has ended less than a week after it was announced, due to fears that Bergdorf's comments on racism "were at odds with their values".
What would you say breasts were "for" if you were faced with the task of explaining their practical function to pre-pubescent boys? The answers may vary, but I'd like to think that most of us who understand the impact that heavily gendered language can have on a child's worldview would avoid language that suggests that child-rearing and sex appeal were the only possible answers.
England women's squad striker Eniola Aluko has spoken out about specific alleged instances of racism on the part of head coach Mark Sampson as well as the Football Association (FA), in an in-depth interview with The Guardian.
A simple after-effect of growing and having skin, pretty much, it's depressing that stretchmarks - the stripes that most humans bear on their bodies - have been a source of shame for a great deal of us, and women in particular. 21-year-old artist Cinta Tort Catro, also known as Zineta on Instagram, hopes to change that.
The move represents a few small steps in the uphill climb towards eradicating period poverty
The term transracial has been been thrust into the limelight for all the wrong reasons over the last few years; so Kuba Shand-Baptiste spoke to the black British women who identify as transracial due to being adopted into white families...
Black women shouldn't have to be questioned about their hair choices, but some people still think the way we choose to wear our hair is their business & Kuba Shand Baptiste has had enough...
Kuba Shand-Baptiste examines the efforts being made to improve diversity Dlevels in the financial advice industry – and the benefits that may follow
Freelance journalist and Editorial Assistant at the Financial Times
Unless you're a professional model-or particularly at ease with nudity-agreeing to partake in a topless photo shoot is not something you might readily embrace. But this past January, with the encouragement of my friend and organizer of the photo shoot, Rukiya Newton, I, along with seven other women, did just that.
Kuba is a freelancer and journalist at the FT's Money Management magazine. She recently graduated from City University with an MA in Newspaper Journalism, and can be found tweeting @kubared.
The unprecedented drama of the Best Picture announcement mix-up at the Oscars could not have tried the nerves of both and Moonlight's cast and production team in a more dramatic fashion.
For a great number of people, resistance has a particular sting to it when expressed by women. Whether or not that resistance is voluntarily visible through protest and politics, or involuntarily visible by way of race, gender or one's physical abilities, making one's presence known as a self-defining woman can be enough to provoke anger from those who believe that the privilege of free speech should be enjoyed exclusively by cisgender, white, heterosexual, able-bodied men.
It took me around 17 years to fall in love with my hair. Not quite convinced by my mother's afro-centric affirmations, and swayed by the pervasiveness of anti-blackness - which carries with it unrelenting disdain towards the most identifiably disparate aspects of being black: the darkness of skin, the coarseness of hair - the idea of embracing my coarse, zig-zag kinks seemed entirely unachievable as a child.
The death of Jill Saward, sexual violence campaigner. Plus osteoporosis and career PAs.
The proliferation of conversations surrounding the various injustices that different groups of marginalised people have to face has put white people, and white men in particular, in a tizzy of late.
Four years on from the launch of auto-enrolment, headline statistics only tell half of the story. More than 6.7 million employees are now enrolled in workplace pension schemes, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and that figure is predicted to rise to 10 million by 2020 as more and more small businesses come onboard.
The flaws that hinder naming and shaming firms which dissatisify consumers may soon be resolved Kuba Shand Baptiste looks at the changes in store
Theresa May's recently announced date for triggering Article 50 at the annual Conservative party conference has caused further uncertainty among investors, with many expected to sell off assets once Brexit negotiations ensue.
FCA's latest Mifid II consultation takes hardline approach. Financial advisers will be expected to record telephone calls with clients under new rules imposed by the FCA. In the FCA's most recent Mifid II consultation paper, the regulator confirmed it would require the recording of "services that relate to the reception, transmission and execution of orders".
Theresa May's recently announced date for triggering Article 50 at the annual Conservative party conference has caused further uncertainty among investors, with many expected to sell off assets once Brexit negotiations ensue.
In the latest addition to his seemingly never-ending foot-in-mouth routine, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made yet another blunder to an audience of millions at the annual Tory Party Conference in Birmingham last night.
The on-going quest for visibility has been the bane of women of colour for centuries, a feat held back by revisionist history, eurocentrism and racism. In Britain, where the art of paving over unfavourable relics of the past has been perfected, it's not hard to imagine the sheer volume of figures of colour who remain unknown to the vast majority of us.
With plenty of new legislation this year, Kuba Shand-Baptiste looks into the current state of the buy-to-let market
Qualifications have played an increasing part in advisers' lives in the past few years. Kuba Shand-Baptiste delves into the world of qualifications and...
UK pensions will face more risks due to Brexit, it has been warned. Spurred on by low gilt yields, pension deficits climbed to a record £935bn in June, bringing on a mass of complications for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes.
The National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) is to dramatically alter its remit with a stack of new retirement products in a one-size-fits-all scheme. The plans, announced as part of the Department for Work and Pensions' 12-week consultation on the evolution of Nest, seek to extend the scheme's services to people who are not members, and to offer access to a wider variety of flexible decumulation products, such as drawdown.
Stylist contributor, Kuba Shand-Baptiste, explains why skin bleaching is an indefensible and dangerous process.
We spoke to sex workers, an economist and a sex work charity volunteer about what a $50 per barrel oil price means for the oldest trade on the planet.
Perhaps the most famous song with literary references, Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights relays the tale of Emily Bronte's gothic novel of the same name. Told through the point of view of Catherine during a ghostly visit to her old house, she calls to her lover, Heathcliff, to let her in through the window.
Congratulations are in order for David Solomons, who was awarded Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards last night for his debut novel, My Brother is a Superhero, beating JK Rowling, David Walliams and Terry Pratchett to the prize!
Beyoncé's Lemonade could not have come a day sooner. Released in the early hours of Sunday morning (in the UK), the ever-evolving singer one-upped herself and graced the world with the most honest and sonically brave project she has ever produced. But predictably, Beyoncé's choice to champion her community was not welcomed by all.
With no shortage of storytelling, workshops and productions, Brighton festival is brimming with bookish events this year! Pop along to the festival for a live theatre adaptation of Dave Shelton's novel, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, where you'll be treated to live music and a stellar show.
From time travelling hamsters to trans teens, check out the shortlisted books in the award that recognises editors as well as debut authors
Every day, conversations unfold on the internet that feed the growing cross-cultural appetite for discussions about things like race and culture. BuzzFeed, and BuzzFeed Video in particular, have played a huge part in that, helping race to edge away from its elephant in the room status and to become a widely discussed phenomenon with observational shorts such as: "If Asians/Black People/Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say" and "24 Questions Black People Have for White People".
The make-up game as we know it changed dramatically around the time Kim Kardashian posted an image of her expertly contoured mug on Instagram in 2012. For those who had not been exposed to the mastery of drag culture before - which pioneered the art of "beating" one's face to perfection - it was a revelation.
Are there too few options for women of colour when it comes to make-up? Florence Adepoju, founder of make-up brand MDM Flow, and journalist Kuba Shand-Baptiste discuss.
The Nina Simone biopic has been embroiled in controversy since news first spread of its production in 2012. Angered primarily by the lead role casting of Zoe Saldana, a considerably lighter-skinned woman than Simone, fans and Simone's estate alike questioned the film's potential to be anything other than offensive.
Being underrepresented in any capacity means constantly bracing yourself for inanity. At school, when teachers routinely mistake you for your physical opposite, but racially similar counterpart, you bite your tongue. At work, when your personal space is violated because your boss feels the need to personally inspect your otherness, you hold your breath.
A few days ago, as part of a series of backstage snaps from New York fashion week, the make-up brand M.A.C posted a picture on Instagram of a set of full, Black lips modelling one of its latest lipstick shades, Royal Romance. The backlash was immediate.
Home to icons like Mary Wollstonecraft and suffragette Edith Margaret Garrud, Islington has always been at the forefront of feminist struggles - but the battle for women's rights is still not over. Women fighting today's battles came together at Dispensing Wisdom, an event run by local arts charity All Change, on Monday 7 March at Islington Assembly Hall to celebrate centuries of female struggle.
Twitter is a breeding ground for empty threats and over-hyped proclamations, especially during the tail-end of December, when vows to adopt new philosophies (and hashtags) in preparation for the new year, swamp social media. 2016 was no exception.
The number of people on the brink of homelessness who have been helped by local councils has risen sharply over five years, says the charity Shelter. Councils in England stepped in to help 205,100 households facing homelessness in the year to March, suggests Shelter's analysis of government data.
UK pupils are being offered the chance to speak to astronaut Maj Tim Peake by video-link next year, during his six-month mission around the Earth. More than 1,000 schools, both primary and secondary, have already signed up. A few pupils will be able to question Maj Peake directly, others will send questions via social media.
Like most efforts towards the eradication of social injustices, it is often the so-called 'non-essential' obstacles that are the first to come under criticism.
A SHOW which uses music to celebrate the overlooked achievements of female scientists is coming to the borough, as part of the Tête à Tête opera festival. Minerva Scientifica - Miriam and The Franklin Effect - is a two-part opera which aims to converge the worlds of music and science, composed entirely by women.
Merton's most industrious teenagers were special guests at the opening of the Merton Young Faces Photographic Exhibition at Wimbledon's legendary All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) writes Kuba Shand-Baptiste. The event, which took place on Monday, September 14, celebrated 50 students for their notable efforts in sports, the arts and community work through a showcase of vivacious portraits taken by photographer Nick Gregan.
FROM a chicken coop made out of bamboo, to a herb hedge growing out of recycled wine bottles, the Skip Garden at the King's Cross Railway Lands this week unveiled seven new structures designed and built by architecture students from the Bartlett School at University College London.
High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis visited a number of shops in Chiswick in a bid to address the needs of local businesses in the area, writes Kuba Shand-Baptiste. The minister began the tour with visits to independent businesses along Turnham Green Terrace, ending up at Outsider Tart - a bakery on Chiswick High Street - for a Q&A session with shop owners.