Despite the best efforts of London’s mayor to get rid of Black History Month (last year Boris cut funding for Black History Month from £132,000 to a miserly £10,000), it’s here again. The potential value of Black History Month is usually lost – most teachers don’t take the opportunity to address the deep racism and Eurocentrism at the heart of our education system, and black history is reduced to a few facts about Rosa Parks and a passing mention of how good Bob Marley was at singing. The only section of the 500-year-long legacy of resistance to slavery that we hear about is the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which is painted as having brought us the post-racial harmony we supposedly have now!

This dumbed-down black history actively contributes to the conspiracy of silence about the history of Africa, its people and its diaspora. Contrary to popular opinion, this history starts *before* transatlantic slavery and includes the development of vast civilisations and major innovations in every branch of science and the arts! The fact that very few people have a clue about pre-slavery African civilisation is a clear manifestation of white supremacy, alive and well.

Luckily, a big group of London rappers are stepping up where the majority of teachers are letting us down. Big respect to Logic, Big Ben, Jaja Soze, Big Cakes, Genesis Elijah, MC D, Cerose, Big Frizzle, Wordplay, Haze, the USG crew, Rodney P and Akala for putting together a deep, memorable and inspiring track for Black History Month.

I’ve tried to transcribe the lyrics for you. Please tweet me about any mistakes!

[Jody McIntyre poem]
Australia is a black country
So’s America
So the superpower warn us of a black terror
It’s not theft if it’s yours and you take it back
Just a correction of an inaccurate fact
So I’m not afraid at the thought of immigrants
More ashamed of my quarter of Englishness
The Scots and the Irish don’t wanna take this
Being occupied by a state that is racist
Black history is a story of revolution and resistance
A salute to all our brothers
From now to Maurice Bishop

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

I am not a ni**er, no mistake made
Cos that’s the word the slavemaster used to call the slave
Brothers trying to kill other brothers to make the papes
The way they move I bet Rosa Parks would turn in her grave
Think of what she stood for and how she would feel
Think of Steve Biko and think of Emmett Till
And eight bars ain’t enough time on the beat
But go google every name, black history

[Big Ben]
Imagine Adam was as black as a pint of Dragon
And his descendants built guided by stars’ patterns
Pyramids, with just the knowledge of the atom
They might not tell you in your class but that’s what really happened
Before the kidnap, chains, rotting in the cabins
Your family tree’s from a root greater than you fathom
There’s real power in that blood the guns are out splashin
It’s real power when the people start to take action

[Jaja Soze]
You can’t hide the truth from me, you’re only fooling you
My blood is of a slave, shout to Shaka Zulu
No ni**er-monkey round here bruv, monkey who?
I’m medicating yoots just like I’m supposed to do
You should be a king instead of trying to shot a Q
I’m speaking to my people just like Malcolm X would do
And don’t make who you are be a mystery
Just educate yourself and learn the black history

[Big Cakes]
This is black history, this is our history
The pyramids in Africa and stars are in symmetry
Big dog you ain’t a ni**er or a nig-nog
A black man made the first clock, tick-tock
You got a watch, big up Benjamin Banneker
My brudas got ripped and shipped up from Mother Africa
Hip-hop story, lines outta rhymes
Tell you how a black man made clocks out of time

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

[Genesis Elijah]
Black magic, black clouds, black hearted
Black beauty black balled on black markets
The black comedy is tragic
That black card did nothing
They still parred him, called him a black bastard
Ain’t nothing new black, they used to call it black music
No black supremacy just equality the news is
Black’s the new black I rep that Black Panther movement
Teach black history, speak black future

[MC D]
Blacks get sold in auctions like Christie’s
But to suppress the knowledge is too risky
So instead of that the feds wanna frisk me
And handle me like they did the blacks in the 60s
But I’m a king like Tut and Shaka Zulu
I gain knowledge and I learn what we been through
Wisdom is more than the colour of your skin, true
And when you’re wise you realise you’re a king too

I am Kunta, not Toby
Free thinker, you’ll never control me
Go further, Nat Turner
The massa got shot by his own burner
By any means like Malcolm
They never hear me when I talk so I’m shoutin
Back to Africa like Garvey
One love like the brother Bob Marley

[Big Frizzle]
Yeah listen to the saga
Mamadu Diallo fathered little Aminata
Taught her in the ways of the Qu’ran no drama
Eleven years old she was taken from her mother
The hardest journey ever across that great river
Three moons in that giant canoe
Now they deliver
Back to back, blacks on blacks
Look how she shivers
You wanna know how she grows
Well learn more when you read the book of negroes

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

I went and picked up a book, took an hour to read through
Learn about a party that’s empowering the people
About Huey P and Bobby Seale, the Panthers
Not the media spin, I’m reading Howard [Bingham]
How they try and discredit these guys’ names
FBI, Cointelpro, the CIA
But I never forget my man dem, bredders like Fred Hampton
Died for the rights of my people, I’d like to thank them

Fuckery and misery, black history
Legacies never told, youngun come and sit with me
Take the fag out the zoot, bun a spliff with me
Listen to my thoughts, find that epiphany
Yeah we are kings, genetically and spiritually
From the start to the end, I mean literally
Marcus Garvey, 2Pac and Malcolm X
Only up above lord knows who’s coming next

[USG crew]
The way they ? ? ain’t fair bro
That’s why we’re killing each other on these roads
They don’t wanna see our black seeds dem grow
They wanna see us living broke in a ghetto
That’s why I got the rifle by the window
By any means necessary, using Malcolm’s lingo
And they try and put my flag at half mast
Labelled me a mongrel, I’m black not half caste
Us fellas here with no fear like Mandela
So they’d rather see us rot in the damn cellar
But them pricks can’t harm me
Cos I’m black and I’m proud like Marcus Garvey
Can’t leave my people in the field, nah, I love dem
I lead the way like I’m Harriet Tubman
And they can’t say we’re fighting for something
Ancestors legendary, nothing above them

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

[Rodney P]
I’m a bald black bredder like Khalid Muhammed
Sayin hail up the dread as we roam the planet
In step with Imhotep, I follow the lead
Intellect like Menelek, I follow the creed
And I wanna believe, although I don’t go church
I just carry god with me know say this is God’s work
I know my livity I’m trying to achieve
And the yoot dem have to know so that they warrior breed

Celebrating our history is not a favour
Correcting the myths that still persist to justify behaviour
Showing civilisation before colonisation
Some would rather say the pyramids were put by aliens
Than accept that a bunch of coons ever taught a thing
Ever in human history to people with lighter skin
Diop set em straight, intelligent debate
At the Cairo Symposium, still they wanna negate
We can’t change a thing, if we don’t wanna face
Our education conditioned us to the myth of race
So you probably never learned about the Moors in Spain
Benin, or Luanda in 1668
Lalibela or the Citadel, our truths they hid it well
If we knew ourselves would so many sit in a cell?
When Europe has the influence in African affairs
That Africa has in Europe, we can talk about a world that’s fair

Follow the protagonists on Twitter:

Rodney P
Big Ben
Jaja Soze
Genesis Elijah
Big Cakes
Big Frizzle
Jody McIntyre
Last Resort (producer)