Kuba Shand-Baptiste


United Kingdom

Award-winning journalist and Assistant opinion editor at The i Paper. Previously society and arts editor at The Conversation. Formerly The Independent, gal-dem, The Pool, and the FT's Money Management magazine. Editors: [email protected] for freelance commissions.

The Conversation
The truth about racial inequalities and COVID-19 – and how to address the long-term impacts

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...

the Guardian
Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo review - a rallying cry

ernardine Evaristo hasn't always been a star. But she has - at least according to her own Manifesto - always gleefully aimed beyond the stratosphere. A sort of memoir-manual, her latest book chronicles her life up until the present day and offers career advice for any creative who's ever had a crisis of confidence.

News, Features and Appearances

Whoever said you wake up on your 30th birthday suddenly wise and confident is a liar

As with any goal you relentlessly chase or nervously anticipate, reaching it isn't always as fulfilling as the pursuit. There's a term for it, actually. "Arrival fallacy" - the "positive psychology" concept of believing that reaching an objective (say, getting a certain job, or moving to the other side of the world) will make you happy and keep you there, only to find that, well, it hasn't.

It's time to do away with the traditional (and lavish) Christmas dinner spread

In the years leading up to the cost of living crisis, the question of food - what we eat, why and how we afford it - has become increasingly contentious. From a surge in takeaways over the pandemic to ever more lengthy food bank queues, there's no getting away from it - our eating habits reflect the society in which we live.

Poppy season is upon us - and with it the increasingly judgemental poppy police

It's that time of year again: sentimental train station performances from suited brass bands, coins plonked into donation tins, red wreaths everywhere you look. I'm not talking about Christmas, customary as it has become to consider 1 November onwards the start of the festive season. I'm referring to "Poppy Season".

Why the Olivia Wilde Don't Worry Darling scandal is about so much more than sexism

The unending, juicy and quite frankly confusing Don't Worry Darling saga has been quite a doozy. Originally the fixation of an unsettlingly intense cross-section of fandoms, it has now reached the mainstream on such a scale that it's been dubbed white Hollywood's equivalent of Solange, Jay-Z and Beyoncé in that lift on that Met Gala night.

Lady Susan Hussey's comments should stop us pretending royal incidents like these are anomalies

How do you square the circle of racism in a family that once presided over the largest empire the world has ever seen? It's a conundrum the Firm - and those in support of it - has increasingly had to confront in the past few decades, as the issue, from its alleged treatment of Meghan Markle to reckoning with its brutal legacy of colonisation, has become harder and harder to ignore.

Jamie Lynn Spears' tell-all interview shows we've learned nothing about how to treat Britney

Naomi Osaka's choice to prioritise her mental health at the French Open, Simon Biles's decision to compete in the Olympics entirely on her terms, Britney's final conservatorship hearing. Some events in 2021, miserable as the year may have been for many, did manage to bring some triumphant moments for women and girls in the public eye who've been failed by their industries.

Barbados removing the Queen is yet another example of 'Global Britain' losing its grip

When Boris Johnson delivered his banter-laden speech to the Tory party conference, he made a claim that was clearly designed to stoke culture war flames: "We Conservatives will defend our history and cultural inheritance not because we are proud of everything, but because trying to edit it now is as dishonest as a celebrity trying furtively to change his entry in Wikipedia, and it's a betrayal of our children's education."

An unlikely group united against Cressida Dick shows police reform is no longer a radical demand

We haven't exactly been short of public criticism of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick in recent years. From calls for her resignation over the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil this year, to earlier demands not to promote her to police commissioner over a range of failings, the figure once praised as a record-breaking diversity champion has been falling out of grace for some time.

The Independent
What life is like after being deported from the UK

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

Why dropping the term "BAME" won't fix the media industry's race problem

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".

Press Gazette
Kuba Shand-Baptiste wins Barbara Blake-Hannah Award - Press Gazette

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.

What's next for black british women?

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.

The Independent
Black In Britain (Editor)

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

The Independent
Alien Nation (Editor)

All the latest breaking news on Alien Nation. Browse The Independent's complete collection of articles and commentary on Alien Nation.

British GQ
Colourism: the stigma Black Lives Matter leaves behind

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

British Vogue
Eating Britain's Racism: White Supremacism, Body Image & Me

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.

#60 Bonus: Covid-19 Fact Checkers #8 Grade A Confusion

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.

The Independent
Opinion: Netflix has missed a trick with Strong Black Lead. Black British millennials need it too

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.

Birds' Eye View
Reclaim The Frame | Clemency | Q & A

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.

The Independent
Clemency director Chinonye Chukwu: 'Society doesn't care about black women's humanity'

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.

The Independent
Bizarre 'cancel culture' letter proves again the privileged can't stand being challenged

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.

The Independent
Blackout Tuesday is over and you have posted your black square - now comes the real hard work |...

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

The Independent
I've had it with all these irritating coronavirus adverts and their over-sentimental lockdown...

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.

The Independent
Harvey Weinstein's reaction to his lost reputation tells you everything you need to know about...

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.

The Independent
Opinion: The UK's immigration system is ideologically broken

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.

Apple Podcasts
‎An Honest Account on Apple Podcasts

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.

The Independent
Opinion: Serena Williams' honesty made me face my own prejudices

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.

The Independent
Opinion: Will Zuckerberg blink in the battle of the internet deepfakes?

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.

The Independent
Opinion: Sexual health clinics are on the front line of austerity - and now STIs are surging

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.

The Independent
Opinion: Alabama's new abortion law is going to destroy countless women's lives

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.

Tili Beauty
Kuba Shand-Baptiste: losing my hair has helped me gain so much | Tili Beauty

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.

The Independent
Opinion: How we spent 10 years wasting Jade Goody's cancer screening legacy

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.

The Independent
Opinion: We need to do a better job of debunking HPV myths - women's lives depend on it

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.

The Independent
Opinion: Don't be fooled by the idea that identifying sex trafficking victims is easy

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.

ITV News
Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

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".

The Independent
Opinion: Don't blame Chinese model Zuo Ye for working with Dolce & Gabbana

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.

The Independent
'Editors have a duty of care to the writers they commission - especially in the age of clickbait'

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.

The Independent
There is hope for future but 'change is not a straight line', says Michelle Obama

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 Independent
Becoming by Michelle Obama, review: 'An honest endeavour'

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 Is Exhausting, Travelling Abroad As A Black Woman

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

The Independent
'After Bill Cosby's conviction for sexual assault, why is his star still on the Hollywood Walk of...

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.

The Independent
'Lily Allen's decision to hire an escort during her tour is nothing to be ashamed of'

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 Independent
'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is 20, and it's still one of the best albums of all time'

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.

The Independent
A handy guide to enjoying Notting Hill Carnival

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.

the Guardian
The meaning of Beyoncé: a dispatch from inside the Beyhive

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.

The Independent
Beyoncé is ‘taking control’ of Vogue – will it be a lesson learned for the fashion bible?

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 Independent
Why you should discover the third season of Insecure

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.

On Love Island, Black People Are Rarely Anyone's 'Type'

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).

Meet the women proving fat women can dance

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.

Annie Newton Was Told She Couldn't Box In 1920s London - But She Did It Anyway

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.

Reports Around The Charity Sex-Abuse Scandal Have Overlooked The Exploitation Of Black Children

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.

Student High Street
Five under-25s to watch in the 2018 Winter Olympics

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.

Student High Street
This is what it's really like to be black at Cambridge

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.

Black Ballad
Dating As A Fat Black Woman

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.

Dear Star Sports - A Man In Blackface Dressed As Diane Abbott Is Absolutely Offensive

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.

Where do fat women fit into the #womanspreading movement?

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.

Google maps pulls calorie counting cupcake feature

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.

Being a reality star does not make Kylie Jenner's pregnancy fair game

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.

John Lewis Abandons Gender Labels On Children's Clothes

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.

This Children's Book For Boys Says Breasts Are There To Make Girls Look 'Grown Up And Attractive'

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.

Black Ballad
Meet The Black British Women Who Identify As Transracial

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 Ballad
In Defence Of Wigs And Hair Enhancements

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...

Money Management
More action needed on diversity issues

Kuba Shand-Baptiste examines the efforts being made to improve diversity Dlevels in the financial advice industry – and the benefits that may follow

Chief Sub-Editor

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.

Nasty Women: the essay collection that gets intersectional feminism right

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 17 years to fall in love with my black hair. Why?

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.

Money Management
Auto-enrolment survey: Full steam ahead?

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.

FTAdviser Advantage
FTAdviser Advantage

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.

Call recording demands met with mixed reaction

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".

FTAdviser Advantage
FTAdviser Advantage

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.

Artist spotlight: Heather Agyepong shines a light on Victorian black women | gal-dem

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.

Money Management
Buy-to-let: Time for a change?

With plenty of new legislation this year, Kuba Shand-Baptiste looks into the current state of the buy-to-let market

Brexit impact on pensions

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.

Nest set for overhaul

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.

the Guardian
15 songs you didn't know were inspired by young adult literature

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.

the Guardian
My Brother is a Superhero wins best children's book award

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!

The Independent
Beyonce didn't make Lemonade about white people or black men - so what?

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.

the Guardian
Bookish things to do with children this summer

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.

The Independent
Buzzfeed's 'Questions Black People Want to Ask Black People' was eye-opening

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".

Is make-up contouring skin-lightening in disguise? | gal-dem

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.

The Independent
Zoe Saldana has been cast in blackface as Nina Simone

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.

rentaminority.com: the satirical website tackling racial microaggressions | gal-dem

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.

The Independent
MAC has shown us we only celebrate black features on white women

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.

Dispensing Wisdom: Women unite to celebrate centuries of struggle

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.

BBC News
More people facing homelessness, says Shelter - BBC News

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.

BBC News
Pupils to speak to Tim Peake in video-link to space - BBC News

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.

Wimbledon Guardian
Portrait of youth: Youngsters honoured at All England Lawn Tennis Club exhibition

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.

Parking and business rates top issues for Chiswick stores

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.