Black history month is psychological warfare, home-school your children.

Is black history month a good or bad thing? It depends on how it is used I guess. I would argue that the fact that we need BHM at all shows how little progress we have made as a society. However, the month itself is neutral. It can heal or wound. You can legislate a change of law and abolish slavery, but you cannot change a man’s heart.

Who are the gatekeepers?

Who decides what black history makes it into the school’s curriculum. Why does the timeline seem to start from around 1600’s with the transatlantic slave trade? Why is the Islamic Sub-Saharan slave trade, which preceded it by hundreds of years not even mentioned?

Black history is a delicate matter — if you scratch beyond the surface it all unravels. Once again I ask, who are the gatekeepers? What is the process of selection? What exactly is the aim of Black history Month? If it is to uplift then this would have no place in a secondary school.

The UK’s racism is very subtle, but this gesture is just adding insult to injury. Talk about killing a young person’s esteem. How are you supposed to build any character when the only history you receive is that your ancestors were slaves? Did nobody stop and think that this might not be a good idea?

It’s the breaking down of the different tribes by characteristics that is so shocking. The detail that these evil men put into this never ceases to confound me. As an Ibo man, I look at the characteristics and it rings true. Intelligent and gentle, that is how many would describe me. The heartlessness of this act is indescribable. I’m okay at this writing thing but I am truly lost for words.

We never delve into detail about why slavery happened, we seem to dwell on what happened. Over and over and over again. The “what” that we do discuss is limited and has been carefully filtered and selected. We hear the same stories and see the same figures every blessed year. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Civil rights etc. What about Marcus Garvey, Mansa Musa, the ancient Egyptians, The Moors, The black kings of Europe or the Israelites?

I guess that would break the lie of white supremacy into a million little pieces. Nothing happens by accident, this has been planned by somebody high up in the school system. Who sits on the boards, who is in charge of the curriculum, who are the gatekeepers?

Black history IS world history. There is no separation. Chancellor Williams chronicles this journey in his book The Destruction of Black Civilization(going from 4500 B.C to 2000 AD). The education system seems hell-bent on perpetuating the psychological warfare that has been taking place against blacks for 100’s of years.

This cannot be good for a young person’s mental health. Rather fittingly, this article coincides with Mental Health Awareness day/week.

There is a silver lining. With the rise of technology, you are no longer beholden to receiving information from your teachers. You can find documentaries, videos, books and articles revealing the richness of black history. Break free from the limitations and confines of black history month.

This would have caused an uproar when I was in school 10+ years ago. Now it is deemed acceptable. Things seem to have regressed with time. The question is how will the community respond, will we sit on our hands and moan and complain or will you take action and teach true world history to our young people. The choice is yours.

Gentrification Nation: The Great British Land Grab.

We are living in very troubled times. Austerity is the name, oppression is the game. I see cranes everywhere building fantastically expensive “Marketing Suites.” This is juxtaposed by rampant homelessness and rough sleeping.

Since the Tories were elected in 2010, rough sleeping has increased by 101% with UK nationals making up 46.3% of those figures . The top 5 nationalities of rough sleepers, in order, are Romanian, Polish, African, Asian and Lithuanian.

The Queen herself is even involved in this property wave. The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business, created by an Act of Parliament. They invest in and manage some of the UK’s most important assets. Her Majesty’s property portfolio is worth a cool £12 billion. Here’s the kicker, the Crown Estate is a commercial business that pays no taxes but rather invests surplus profit to the Treasury for the “nations benefit.”

Surely they could take some of that property and turn it into a hotel for the homeless? Would that not benefit the nation more than investing into the treasury? The UK budget for 2016 is around £761 billion. The £304 millioninvested into the Treasury is hardly going to make a dent.

Today I was in Dalston, East London, which has undergone a huge wave of regeneration AKA gentrification. I went there to deliver leaflets to promote theREEL TALKS community conference. I met a young homeless man who goes by the name of Leo, you can read his story here.

I gave him a fiver and asked how much more he needed in order to sleep in a hostel tonight. He told me he needed £15 more. As i wrote the story on Instagram I was hearing him beg for money and most of the people did not even acknowledge his existence. Each time he was rejected my heart cried. As i uploaded the image he told me that he was not going to make the money and that he was going to do something illegal in order to make up the rest.

I had a novel idea, instead of me delivering these leaflets I offered him a little job and said that upon completion I would cover the rest of his hostel feels.

He was rapid in his distribution, you could see how much this opportunity meant to him. He cleared out the leaflets in record time. I was impressed and paid him twice the London Living Wage. It started to rain as soon as he finished his distribution. He definitely would not have made enough to sleep at the hostel on his own.

I’m launching my clothing social enterprise JUSTEES soon and I will be paying homeless people a living wage in exchange for leaflet distribution work.

Learn more about JUSTEES at the REEL TALKS LAUNCH EVENT October 27th 2016 6:30–9:30pm. I hope to see you there.

Can you Beat Bipolar Disorder?

I certainly did.

In 2015 i was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features. I had a taser gun used on me and was locked in a police cell too. Furthermore, I spent three weeks in an intensive care psychiatric unit and was pumped full of all manner of medications.

The diagnosis stung and immediately when they told me that I would be on medication, my first thought was for how long.

Six months minimum, they said.

A lifetime is a long time depending on your perspective and I was not comfortable being diagnosed with something that would last that long. I must be able to cure this illness was my thought. If i could identify what caused it and treat that, then surely I would be healed.

The manic experience was one of the best times of my life and I spent months trying to get back to that place. Being a service user showed me the true nature of the UK’s mental health system, especially as a black man who is 17 times more likely to be sectioned than my white counterparts.

I went through phases of depression and elation and frustration and confusion trying to get to find the root cause. I battled substance abuse and put on 17Kg (37lbs) in the process.

(Check out my weight loss transformation below)

Things culminated with me truly hitting rock bottom and contemplating suicide. It was at this moment that I made a decision that would put my faith to the test. I went cold turkey and it was at this point that my recovery began. I am in a better place than I was last year. More creative, more in control and more organised. I understand the relationship between mental, physical and spiritual health now more than ever. I am drug-free and symptom-free, to the bemusement of my doctors.

I am glad that I went through what I did. I wouldn't trade it in for the world. It has helped make me the man I am today.

I have been so productive in these last few months that I have written a book about my whole journey. Section 2 (How I beat Bipolar)

The book comes out on October 27th 2016, be sure to book tickets for the book launch.