Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire - The Sunday Times Bestseller
The bestselling modern polemic on race in the UK, from the MOBO-award winning musician and outspoken political commentator, Akala.
'My book of the year. It's personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I've been waiting for - for years' Benjamin Zephaniah
'A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain' Independent
'A history lesson of the kind you should get in school, but don't' Stylist
'Powerful ... The kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching' Afua Hirsch, Guardian
'Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy' David Olusoga, Guardian
'Inspiring' Madani Younis, Observer
A searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA- and MOBO-award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.
From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.
Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.
Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company.
With an extensive global touring history, Akala has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Akala has also appeared on Channel 4, ITV, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music and poetry, and speaking on wide-ranging subjects from music, race, youth engagement, British/African-Caribbean culture and the arts, with numerous online lectures and performances that have millions of views on YouTube.
More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism - he has been awarded an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Brighton, written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the Independent, and spoken for the Oxford Union and TEDx - Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK.
- Other details
- Publication date:
17 May 2018
- Page count:
My book of the year. It's personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I've been waiting for - for years — Benjamin Zephaniah
Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy — Guardian
Akala is at his best destroying the comfortable myths that are invoked by white fragility to downplay attempts to correct the historical record ... Akala makes it clear that he is not brimming with optimism. But reading Natives - witnessing the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching - I can't help but be just that — Afua Hirsch, Guardian
What I love about this book is it's kind of like a testimony, a story of contemporary London. He is like one of the Baldwins or Hooks of our generation, who walks among us, you know? When he theorises, it's from a place of knowing rather than some distant place up above . . . He is very good at remembering and honouring the experiences that have shaped him, and he applies it in a very real way — Madani Younis, Observer
A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain — Independent
[one] of the most thoughtful books of the past year — Evening Standard
A history lesson of the kind you should get in school but don't ... This is a searing, thought-provoking book — Stylist
There are lucid, well-cited and sharply argued passages ... which should probably be extracts on the national curriculum — Vice
Fantastic — Novaramedia
A book bristling with intelligence and insight — Irish Times
Akala makes us quietly aware of how much we have left to learn about the world . . . He doesn't shy away from uncomfortable truths backed up with hard facts, which make you sit up and pay attention — Oxford Times
An eminently readable account of what it means to be mixed race in Britain today, and the long-lasting legacies of colonialism. If that all sounds a little heavy for summer, Akala's sardonically droll writing leavens the subject without diminishing its impact — OX Magazine
In personalised chapters covering the police, education and identity, politics, sexual objectification and the far right, he confronts the issues of race and class at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire in this fierce and articulate polemic. — The Bookseller
A fiercely honest appraisal of growing up poor and mixed race in broken Britain. This heartfelt polemic fights every excuse of racial ignorance — Kirsty Allison, DJ Mag
An engaged and nuanced exploration of the complex interplay between race and class — Morning Star
Vital — Blouin Art Info
Even the guy behind the uni coffee shop counter can't help tiptoeing over to say how much he loves Akala's "outlook on life", now immortalised in print as Natives — Q Magazine
Powerful ... impressive in its historical sweep, mapping the construction of racial identity onto the growth of empire and capitalism [and] full of nuanced cultural critique — The List
In many ways, Natives is as thorough a dissection of British racial relations as any you're likely to find . . . But it's also a vivid memoir on his own experiences of racism — The Skinny
an essential voice in Britain's debate on race, class and identity — New Humanist
Blistering — Lacuna
a book that fulfils the mantra of 'the personal is political' to illuminate both the challenges of, and oppositions to, racism . . . a series of essays, some personal, others political, yet one never divorced from the other — Philosophy Football