Akala once again explained knife violence on national TV and even Piers Morgan stopped to listen

Piers Morgan and Akala
Glen Black

Rapper and activist Akala went on Good Morning Britain (GMB) to explain the pitfalls of racialising knife crime. The public were left speechless by his insight. And even Piers Morgan stopped ranting to listen.

We don’t discuss the real problems with knife violence

On 18 March, Akala was a guest on GMB as the show discussed knife crime. Morgan suggested to Akala that there’s a link between young Black males and knife crime. But Akala disagreed.

He pointed out that some of the most horrific examples of knife attacks have been by white people on white people. In these cases the rapper said “race suddenly becomes unimportant”:

But Akala agreed that a very specific group of young Black males are involved with such violence. It’s those that are:

at a very particular stage in their lives, filled with a degree of psychological self-hatred or contempt for themselves that they project onto people which remind them of themselves

When Morgan pushed Akala on whether race is “relevant”, Akala said that:

there is an internalised racism… But we never use it in that way because that would mean a wider dialogue about contempt for Black life in general.

“Glued to the TV”

The public loved Akala’s appearance on the morning chat show. Many welcomed his wisdom and insight:

Others talked of how engaging he was:

Meanwhile, some noticed that even Morgan – known for his tirades – took time to listen:

On the other hand, it seemed not everyone listened closely:

The morning’s discussion came after Nathaniel Armstrong was stabbed to death in London on 16 March. Armstrong was cousin to Alex Beresford, GMB’s weatherman who interrupted a GMB debate on 5 March to argue that changing social environment was crucial to tackling knife crime. Beresford praised Akala on Twitter for putting Armstrong’s murder “into an understandable perspective”.

No more excuses

A topic like knife crime is complex and can’t be explained away by pointing at a single source. While the mass media loves blaming drill music and politicians point to a lack of police funding, Akala shows the problem runs much deeper. And his GMB appearance builds on what Akala told Channel 4 News. On 4 March, he hit out at the “moral panic” over knife crime figures and described the “racial explanations” as a “way out”.

Internalised racism is part of the problem that the UK still has with ethnicity. And the popular focus on ‘cultural’ causes such as music displays just how unwilling many are to confront that problem. But the public response to Akala shows that some people are crying out for insight on the issue. And in giving his thoughts, Akala was even able to shut Morgan up.

Featured image via Twitter – Good Morning Britain

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