Every October in the UK, Black History Month rolls around. We're here to give Mary Seacole a well-deserved rest. Here are a few alternative, tongue-in-cheek BHM 'facts'.
MRS OLUWAFUNMILAYO JENNIFER ONABANJO: First to give a white dude a taste of Supermalt.
“That’s the taste of success and uncommon joy right there,” she is said to have told him.
“We first noticed it when she was small and it’s never got better. She’s five now,” said Drizella’s mother Sandra. “We put some soca on, didn’t we Dennis? – and it was sad to watch. Clapping on the threes. And it was no better with reggae or soul.”
“I tried some home therapy at first,” interjects Dennis. “See, I’m a drummer, and Sandra’s a dance teacher. Boof, boof, boof. One-two, one-two. But it never took. We had to fly to the States to see a specialist. I mean… a black person with no rhythm… something wasn’t right.” He shakes his head sadly.
Sandra places a comforting hand on his shoulder. “And you know what? This is something the black community needs to face up to. I see plenty of people in my classes who are in denial.”
New York club promoter Gill Johnson knows the denial and shame of rhythmlessness only too well. Nicknamed ‘Whitey’ by his friends, he recalls his teen years:
“I basically spent the years I should have been going out crying in my bedroom. Drag balls were not an option. But I knew I couldn’t be alone, you know? The gay scene is real unforgiving sometimes, but when I started my ‘On The Threes’ club night it was kind of a joke… until other rhythmless black people started coming to it. Gay and straight. And it don’t matter. Disco, house music, funk, hip hop… it’s a rainbow of rhythmlessless under one roof. And it’s beautiful.”
Drizella bobs happily, if awkwardly, to a steady mid-tempo beat tapped out by Dennis on his drum kit. Far from sad, it is indeed beautiful to watch. Sandra looks on wistfully. “She’ll fight to be accepted, but the way those arms flail… if anyone starts on her, they’ll regret it. Dancing’s not the be all and end all.. She can learn to box.”
‘The Black Girl Who Dances White’ will be shown on Channel Four this autumn*.
*Will not actually happen so don’t go checking TV Times, innit. Ta.
Kwame was 15 when he attempted this fuckery. He received an eye roll and a kiss of the teeth for his troubles.
Now 37 and still living in Bristol, Kwame acknowledges it was a “risky move. But it’s LL, you know? I had to try it.”