Letter #118

05.06.20
Hey,

I hope you are safe, and I hope you’re healthy. Usually I’d say that I hope you’re happy, but I know that you most likely all feel heartbroken and furious at what’s currently going on.

Of the 3,510 songs that I’ve shared, in 117 mixtapes, over nearly three years, every single song has its roots in black music. Of the links that I’ve shared, most are connected to black culture. Even the name Love Will Save The Day is a tribute to a party that was created to unite marginalised people. The reason you’re here right now, is because of our shared love of black culture, and music from black cultures.

So this week, there’s no mixtape, only a plea from me; I want you to support black people how we support black culture and music.

(Before I start, to our black and POC family, what I’ve written below most certainly contains unintentional mistakes and missteps. I will own them, and I will get better, and I’m sorry in advance.)

Last week I wrote ‘don’t be like me, don’t be passive’. I’m writing it again. Please, don’t be passive.

Donate. Vote. Sign petitions. Email MPs. Read. Learn. Ask questions (but don’t burden). Listen. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Don’t turn a blind eye to someone saying ‘all lives matter’. Explain to people that anti-racism isn’t a political issue, it’s a humanitarian issue. Support black artists. Buy black music. Buy books from black authors. Follow black activists on Twitter. Watch documentaries on black history and racism. Do any one of these – preferably do all of them – but for the love of god don’t stay silent.

I know this is going to make white people uncomfortable. Possibly even reading this right now is making you feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel uncomfortable too. To talk about it, to ask questions, to try and not be a burden, trying to say the right thing, trying not to look like your virtue signalling, trying not to be seen as performative, to show genuine intent. It’s uncomfortable. But do you know what’s worse than feeling a little uncomfortable? Spending your entire life existing in a system that is fundamentally geared against you. So please, don’t stay silent. Silence is violence.

We must face into feeling discomfort. We must show solidarity. We must show action. We must amplify black voices. And most importantly of all, we must sustain our actions.

Here’s how to start. Here are some links to things that I’m personally finding useful in driving my own education and actions.

How to be an ally by Amélie Lamont. This is a five minute read, but the most important thing I think you can read on how to actually be an ally, rather than just say you are. Must read.

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith’s essay for Vice clearly demonstrates that systemic racism is NOT isolated to the US, and we cannot and should not ignore that this is a global crisis – and we have a huge problem in the UK too. On that note, sign this petition for justice for Belly Mujinga.

How to help if you’re in the UK, from Citizen Helene. An excellent collection of links and articles on how you can help fight racism in the UK.

This Twitter thread from Obioma Ugoala was an education and contains lots of UK specific points as well as recommending books to read, and black voices to follow on Twitter.

Alyssa Klein and Sarah Sophie Flicker put together another great Google Doc of resources including charities to support, and books and films to look up.

This Google Doc from Perkin Amalaraj is good too and has lots of links to petitions to sign that are UK specific as well as also having lots of groups you can join or volunteer with too.

Those four links above contain lots of links to articles to read, charities to support, books to buy, films to watch, and things you can do to help.

#BlackLivesMatter also has a list of actions you can take to help now.

This essay from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the LA Times sets a very clear and broad context for what’s going on, which is worth reading if you haven’t spent the whole week glued to Twitter and the news.

There are also a number of books that have gone straight to the top of my reading list too, namely;

Today, go and buy music from black artists on Bandcamp – Bandcamp has waived its fees again – here’s a handy list of black artists on Bandcamp. Then on the 19th of June, go buy as much music as you can, as Bandcamp is donating it’s share of revenues to NAACP’s LDF.

Finally, an enormous thank you to everyone that’s taken the time to write essays, or threads, and collate and share lists of links that help educate white people on how we can help. Thank you to; Amelie Lamont, Heather Lewis, Citizen Helene, Obioma Ugoala, Maya Kulemeka, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Perkin Amalaraj, Alyssa Klein, Sarah Sophie Flicker, and Ayeisha Thomas-Smith.

Alongside educating myself, donating, voting, signing petitions, and spreading awareness, I also want to make another two commitments.

  • Platforming; I’ve said this for a few weeks now, but please, if you are black or marginalised, and you would like to guest edit an edition of Love Will Save The Day, please get in touch with me. I want to ensure that your voice is heard.
  • Mentoring; As a senior white man in a media agency, I hold a very privileged position. I’ve made efforts to mentor black people and POC internally, but I know that I need to do that more broadly, and so now I want to do it externally too. If you, or any one that you know, is interested in a career in advertising or media and needs a mentor and/or a leg-up, please contact me / get them to contact me at jed.hallam@initiative.com

As Ayeisha Thomas-Smith reminds us in her essay above, Dr. Martin Luther King famously said “the great stumbling block in our stride towards freedom is not the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to order than justice”.

We must face into feeling discomfort. We must show solidarity. We must show action. We must amplify black voices. And most importantly of all, we must sustain our actions.

Love Will Save The Day,
Jed

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