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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 16:19 GMT
Dynamite MC on black Britain
Dynamite MC
Dynamite MC wrote talks about his feelings on young black Britain

Rapper and Kiss FM DJ, Dynamite MC answers questions from Amanda Kirton about slavery, young black Britain and his inspiration for recording a version of the song Young, Gifted And Black.

Were you born here?

No, I was actually born in Germany because my father was in the military, so we spent most of my childhood moving around from country to country but I'm the first generation to be born in Europe.

Young, Gifted And Black - why did you do that?

Well first of all, my dad used to play that tune when I was younger - he had it on 7in [single], I always heard it.

It was the first evidence I ever heard of somebody saying that it was all right to be black, because obviously growing up in these different countries, I was the only person of any colour in any school, so I got teased.

I got hit with a lot of racist jibes and abuse and it was always a negative thing to me.

Obviously I didn't hear it from home because they felt it wasn't necessary to say it.

My dad didn't say: "It's great to be black - have a wonderful black day," as I left the house. He didn't even talk about race. It was just the understanding that everything was fine.

I wouldn't bring home my worries from school, I wouldn't say, they called me this or that, I would just take it all inside.

So when I heard that, it was a really nice moment, I was like: "That's the song I used to listen to when I was a kid and I've got to do it."

So I took the beat and I rode it and I wanted to instil the same message that I heard then but in a 2007 way.

Why do you think young black people need that inspiration?

I think young black people can be quite down. I think they're dealing with certain situations. Some neighbourhoods are dealing with poverty and not dealing with the best surroundings, the best things to start their life with.

There's a choice. There's a definite fork in the road they come to and if they don't get on that right path from the earliest point, then it's going to be badness all the way and there's a lot of bad and negative influences for them to follow.

How do you view the slave trade?

It was an atrocity. It is something that should never have happened. It's a stain on history and it's something that a lot of people should be disgraced for.

We need to get stronger from that. It's a horrible thing that's happened and it's definitely held us back, both financially, spiritually and mentally.

But we're in an age now and we're in a country where we can move up and we can move forward and there's no reason why we can't excel and do better than the people that originally held us back because we're built for the struggle.

What do you think have been the lasting impressions from slavery that have remained with black people today?

I think that some people feel that they can't get ahead and they're still being held back - the slave trade was a horrible thing.

Then you've got racism to deal with. Racism used to be in your face and someone would tell you to your face what they thought of you. Now racism is a bit more cloak and dagger. You'll walk out the office, they'll shut the door and then they'll talk about what they think about you.

Would you say a younger person, for instance a 14-year-old would feel the same way?

I think it's possible. I think it's becoming a lot easier. I think racism is a lot less. When I grew up, it wasn't cool to be black. You heard the word "nigger" every day, "black so and so" every day and they said it like you were worthless.

Now black people are in the charts, the pop stars, the idols, the musicians, basketball players, they are role models.

A lot of white people want to be like black people and that was something that never happened when I was younger.

So I think a 14-year-old is living in a perfect instance where other kids are looking up to him and want to be with him, want to hang with him, want to talk like he talks. It's incredible - it's absolutely flipped it

Has multiculturalism helped?

Yes, I think it has. I think if a white kid wants to hang out with his black friends he might see a picture of Malcolm X on the wall, he might not know who Malcolm X is but he might ask and he might be educated in that way and want to know more about it.

The more you understand somebody, the more you want to be like someone, the more you'll try and understand them.

In that way you're embracing that society and you're breaking down any barriers which separate you once you break down those barriers and you understand - you think the same, you have the same emotions, the same feelings, the same goals, the same drives, then there's no reason why you should have these walls and this ignorance which is racism.

Do you think that black people are moving fast enough since slavery?

Some people are taking every opportunity they can and excelling in the best way they can. They are staying in education, they're going on to university, they are going into trades such as law and medicine.

Some people are still not ready to embrace that and are looking for the quick exit, the quick money - they think this country is against them, they think everyone is against them, they don't trust anybody and in the biggest twist of it they end up killing each other.

I think unity is the key and there's a lot of strength in that and there's a lot more we could do. We do need to develop our own struggle, we need to develop as a people stronger and have a stronger grip on this nation. But we're still a minority - I'm reminded of that every day. If you stretch out of your comfort zone, you'll find out you're pretty much on your own and some people don't deal with that too well. So it's an individual thing and I think time is going to be the greatest healer that we've got.

How would you describe young, black Britain today?

Young black Britain is beautiful; there are some beautiful people here. Colleges are full of people with dreams and aspirations and there's shops opening all the time, businesses, the music industry, the media industry. There's a lot of opportunity here -there's second generations being born here, third generations, mixed race. I don't see why we can't be such a powerful addition to this country. We should be embraced more - we bring a lot of style to this country and we should be recognised for that rather than just someone gets shot in the street and there are a couple of black guys on the front of the paper and everyone is scared all over again. I don't like that.

What do you think the future holds?

I think the future can only be bigger and better. I think the future has to be bigger and better. It's not going to get worse, it's been through the worst.

There have been riots. There have been some really serious segregation issues. So it's only going to get better - more businesses, more entrepreneurs, more positive role models.

It can only get better for us because we have a good drive, we have good visions and there's no reason why we can't take it to the top.

What is your message to young black Britain?

We don't have it as bad as they had it in slavery times. So we can't complain in that same kind of way. We have opportunities now. And if there's anybody who's trying stop you from doing what you want to do, it should just make you determined to do even harder than before.

You can make things happen for you here. I would just advise everybody to move up and live up.


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