Ehren Joseph Layne

Everybody Looks the Same? – Response to A.A. Gill


44% of London’s population consists of Black and Brown persons, yet A.A. Gill composes a picture of a city that is woefully and unwaveringly white. This, I must be honest, pisses me off. It is too often that travel writers or travel critiques write in a way that completely excludes Black and Brown persons (unless, of course, they’re are writing about Africa or South America). Black people(which I happen to be: go Black people!) are never given proper representation in travel documentation unless we are the spectacle that is to be seen by tourists. Besides such spectacle, Black and Brown persons are presented as non-existent – with the reason being that due to our lack of “history” in mainly white cities, we hold no value to the physique or aura of said city. I will have Mr. Gill know that Idris Elba was born in the U.K., and he is one hell of a Black man. He is a Londoner, and much like Mr. Gill, Idris Elba matters. He matters to the history of the U.K. He matters to the U.K. entertainment business. He is another Black Londoner whose struggle has been interwoven into the current U.K. mainstream entertainment that white Londoners have enriched themselves off of. So before you talk about your city and its rich history, that history better include Black people.

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