Really interesting read. I have much respect of the poet's and their work mentioned. However, I have problems with the framing of this article as if three white men speak for everybody.

There is a counterstory, on the perspectives of Black and Brown poets/creatives in the local area. The framing of this article fails to mention that this is a local arts scene that benefits white men and centres the largely cis white male gaze. It comes from a worldview where things like racism and misogyny are not barriers to their success as artists. In fact, it is because of inequality that privilege is allowed to prosper.

As someone that has been doing poetry locally for over a decade, other than Bespoke mentioned (big up Marly) I cannot really point to any sustained efforts by local arts organisations to be anti-racist and include Global Majority artists as our authentic selves. Other poetry events appeared to be made by white people to centre themselves. If Black/Brown people want to perform, we are often treated as a fringe, 'extra' or 'add-on' to the white pictureframe.

Local white spaces have shown me a hostility to us speaking of our reality and it shows. In my experience, to be Black and unapologetic in the local arts scene is to be marginalised further - as you are choosing not to align yourself with dominant whiteness. It's interesting, because there is a history of Black artists as activists in Northampton (i.e going back to the 1960s and Caribbean communities).

Today, local poetry is largely made for white men/people. The arts more widely in our community privileges white people above others. To go to these events but still be the only POC creative (maybe one or two) in that space despite the diversity this town holds, is incredibly revealing about who these events (and local sector) is aimed at and who it works for. The yardstick of whiteness continues to be the metric of measurement. It is a huge problem.

Dave, Paul and Chris are brilliant artists but I would challenge NN Journal to investigate further - as there is a rot in the local arts world and its name is white supremacy.

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I get the feeling that this article is meant as a dip into the pool that is Northamptonshire's spoken word and arts scene.

The Bardic Basement (which was founded by a white man) is also skipped over, so...

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I would be very careful before using a comment by a Black person about a specific thing to centre yourself (a white man). Not having to learn about whiteness is how whiteness works. It's highly disrepsectful and furthermore, racist. Just seems like a brazen example of white entitlement and privilege. Exactly proving the point of my comment lol

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Apr 12, 2023·edited Apr 12, 2023

Whilst I agree that a black representative of the Northamptonshire spoken word and arts scene COULD (and, yes I agree, should) have been used in the article, the fact that the article isn't an in-depth overview of every single thing in the current spoken word scene AND just happens to not mention any POC does not make the article racist. It's only your opinion (as a POC in the Northamptonshire spoken word and arts scene) that makes it appear so.

Arguably (as an aspie), I could make the point that the article is being ableist, as it's not brought any attention to the fact that any of the representatives interviewed are or are not disabled in some form or another. That being said, would I paint the article in this light? No, as that has nothing to do with the point of the article.

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Are you still speaking? I would suggest you go learn something about race and intersectionality before engaging in these debates. White autistic people like using your autism as a deflection to clear racial bias and whiteness issues also makes disability justice work harder for us Black autistic doing this work. I like to think of racism as having bad breath. You can sort it out. So go do it

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Really good overview of the current spoken word and arts scene in Northamptonshire.

One odd omission that I noticed was that there was no mention of the Bardic Basement, a Northamptonshire-based spoken word and arts group / platform that has been running since August 2018.

The Bardic Basement have a YouTube channel, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKJoloE-V705SRrOLD6k4oQ

They also have a podcast, which you can view here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/the-bardic-basement

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