The population of the United Kingdom now stands at just over 60 million people. Just over 1 million of those people are classed as being Black Caribbean or Black AfricanStatistics show that black people are still six times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police. Black children are five times less likely than white children to be considered ‘gifted and talented,’ but three times more likely to be excluded or expelled. If found guilty, black people almost always receive longer sentences than white people.

According to the numbers, Great Britain remains a racist nation. But numbers can be misleading.

Music is everywhere around us. We hear it thudding from cars as we walk down the street, or playing softly in the background when we walk into a store. An endless number of teenagers with headphones pressed soundly to their ears, oblivious of their surroundings and ignorant to the world. Radio stations and music channels that play the latest hits twenty-four hours a day; the music never stops. It can influence very thoughts and feelings, make us feel anger or wallow in anguish. See, whether its Beethoven’s Symphony Number 9, or Rihanna’s newest hit single, a diverse and seemingly infinite selection of genres, gives music a special power. Every day it speaks to millions of people across the globe.

Close your eyes, picture the scene: The year is 2004. You are in a smoke filled dungeon listening to the deep, subwoofed rumbles of the Digital Mystikz. The crowd of fifty surround the DJ booth. You close your eyes and feel the bass. Ok. Well I wasn’t actually there, I was 15. I was sat in my bedroom listening to tinny drum n bass CDs; but soon my time would come to experience the wonders of Dubstep in a Funktion One venue.

Finding yourself wandering round any town or city nowadays, you are likely to stumble into a bar where there is a small room at the back with quiet adoring listeners gazing at a female in possession of a guitar. You know these nights, you’ve been to them before, but did you ever think how it all started? Boys with guitars have been around for light years, but the girls have always been somewhat trailing behind, until now. Powerful yet delicate stars like Joni Mitchell and Joan Armatrading seem to have melded into the ice queen that is Björk or other foreign fems with crazy headwear on who dominate the popular music scene by stamping all over it. And it is true, we seem to owe much of the folk revolution that is proving so popular to our bearded friends from overseas like Fleet Foxes.

In Response to Ben Johnson's Article

Based on this article, I found it oddly frustrating. I am acutely aware that I can be quite highly strung about music; instances tend to escalate, friends are lost, and I like to think I have learned from these experiences. Yet in this case, I struggled to keep the pressure gauge low, and so decided to let out the bulk of my vehement annoyance by writing a response.

 

When it comes to hip-hop music, there are two distinctive groups: those that dismiss it as just nonsensical noise, self-proclaimed ‘gangsters’ strutting stupidly around in ridiculous gold chains, rapping about violence and women; and those that recognise the potential for something more. Lyricism that can be creative and clever and metaphors that show an intelligence that some would never deem possible from this particular genre of music. It is evident to even the staunchest supporters of hip-hop music that it will never be everyone’s cup of tea – in the same vein that classical music will rarely appeal to teenagers – but there is more to hip-hop than meets the eye. If you look close enough, it’s entirely possible to find something that suits your tastes.

If you haven’t heard of the Spice Girls then you’re either under the age of ten or you lived under a rock for the duration of the 1990’s. The all-girl band took the world by storm with their ‘girl power’ inspired lyrics, their very individual identities and their high-profile romances. This week, tickets have been released into the ether for Viva Forever; the new Spice Girls west-end musical extravaganza. Creator, writer and all-round inspirational woman Jennifer Saunders has confirmed that the show will focus on friendship, ambition and female empowerment: exactly what the Spice Girls stood for. But how far did the Spice Girls truly inspire us girls to become who we are today? Were they just a successful girl band, or did they really influence a whole generation of nineties kids to be who they ‘wannabe’?

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