January 09, 2020
“I left the UK because I was so tired of the racism. I can relate to Meghan – America holds promise for the Duchess like it did for me.”
Why Black People Think Racism Drove Meghan And Harry To Quit The Royal Family
Mutale Nkonde, a fellow of Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University, told HuffPost UK she could relate to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s decision step back from “senior royal” duties in favour of splitting their time between Britain and the US.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed these plans in a bombshell statement on Wednesday night.
 The news came after the couple had endured years of relentless scrutiny from parts of the mainstream media – and frequent racist abuse from the public, especially online.
Nkonde, a race and tech expert, continued: “The UK expect members of the establishment to be complicit with British racism and sexism and as a Black woman she faced both.
“Why stay there when Oprah and Gayle are in your circle?”
  View this post on Instagram“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PAA post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST 
Anti-racism campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE said he is not surprised that the royal couple decided to step back and also believes the media played a part in that decision.
“I think the media is a key factor,” he said. “You just have to look at the recent treatment of Stomzy – which again raised concerns about racism, despite the fact that he was misquoted.
“The media and other mainstream institutions still have an issue of our visibility and success. When you call racism out you are punished with little support.”
Vernon, who has co-authored a book called 100 Great Black Britons to be published later this year, added: “The impact of racism on our mental wellbeing is still not acknowledged and I guess Meghan and Harry are developing their own solutions: self-care and charitable venture.
“The experience of Meghan clearly reminds us we are millions of lights years from a post-racial Britain.”
 I'm no royalist but the racist, bullying and misogynist treatment Meghan has received from the British media, commentators and online trolls is absolutely abhorrent. It also reflects treatment dished out to Black women and woc in public life. Racism fuels even more misogyny.— Shaista Aziz (@shaistaAziz) January 9, 2020 
In November 2016, Harry took the unprecedented step of issuing a statement about the harassment being experienced by the duchess – his girlfriend at the time – and her relatives.  
Calling for privacy, the statement condemned the “wave of abuse and harassment” aimed at Markle, calling out “the racial undertones of comment pieces and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments”.
Since their wedding, the hounding of the couple by some media outlets has intensified. It recently culminated in the couple launching legal action against The Sun and the Daily Mail.
Reacting to news of the couple’s decision on Wednesday, Marcus Ryder, a media executive producer and diversity champion, tweeted: “My Twitter time-line (full of black journalists) talks about the importance of race in this story. The BBC’s main online story currently does not mention race once.”
 BBC reports on Duke & Duchess of Sussex statement to "step back as 'senior' royals". My Twitter time-line (full of black journalists) talks about the importance of race in this story. The BBC's main online story currently does not mention race once https://t.co/pqXiPwkSTU— Marcus Ryder (@marcusryder) January 9, 2020 
He added: “I cannot think of any major UK broadcaster or newspaper who has a royal correspondent who is a person of colour or any who report to a person of colour. (I may be wrong & happy to be corrected). This fact alone influences how this story is reported”
Richard Palmer, royal correspondent at the Daily Express, swiftly replied: “Because it’s not about race and never was. You’re wrong about the ethnic background of journalists certainly in the wider royal press pack. The UK’s black population is 3.3 per cent of the total and, although we could always do better, there is a fairly diverse group.”
But the wider consensus is that this is about race.
Author Bernardine Evaristo echoed the notion that the couple’s decision was fuelled by racist treatment by parts of the British press, writing: “Dear Meghan, my sister, you go and do your thing with your family and get away from the race hate you’ve been subjected to in my country.”
 Dear Meghan, my sister, you go and do your thing with your family and get away from the race hate you've been subjected to in my country. Your cover for September's #VOGUE shows us who you are and what we stand for. #CHANGE#Meghan#MeghanMarkle#MeghanAndHarry#KensingtonPalacepic.twitter.com/dJWLCcDwhL— Bernardine Evaristo (@BernardineEvari) January 9, 2020 
Evaristo, who last year became the first Black woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction, added: “Your cover for September’s #VOGUE shows us who you are and what we stand for.”
Many hailed the couple’s wedding as seminal moment for diversity in Britain – a white prince had married a mixed-raced woman.
But that status presented challenges for the duke and duchess.
In July 2019, at the European premiere of The Lion King, US recording artist Pharrell Williams told Harry and Meghan that their union as a high-profile mixed race couple was “significant for many of us” in “today’s climate”.
The duke and duchess reportedly nodded at Williams’ warm comments.
“Thank you so much. That’s so nice of you to say. [...] They don’t make it easy,” Markle replied. Harry echoed her words in the September issue of Vogue magazine.
  
Andrea Bruce was never optimistic about Meghan and Harry’s marriage changing the establishment’s stance on race. 
“If you value assimilation then their marriage was an important moment for diversity,” she said. “But I don’t feel that an institution that was built literally on the backs of colonised people should be expected to be truly diverse or to care about being diverse.
“What went wrong was that some people maybe expected her entry in to signal a shift in the UK’s historic racism and that just didn’t happen. Instead, she exposed what was already there – racism and bias.”
  
The 35-year-old account director feels the couple’s decision had a lot to do with racism and hostility from the press and public.
“I think that the monarchy should pay back everything they stole from commonwealth countries and they should provide reparations,” she said. “We can’t look to them to lead diversity or anti-racism.
“Harry has defended his wife and that’s nice to see but the overall premise of the royal family is built on violence and oppression against non-white people.”
Meghan’s experience of racism is only being discussed because of her status as a duchess, added Bruce. “If she was a random woman living in the country, her experience wouldn’t be discussed – but all experiences are worth discussing.”
  
Yvonne Witter was full of praise for the couple, describing Harry particularly as progressive.
“He has set his priorities above materialism, pomp and ceremony and is creating a future for his family which will circumvent his mum’s fate,” she told HuffPost UK.
The international business consultant and writer said the UK’s political climate has helped legitimise bigotry to the point where racism is “no longer in the closet”.
“I find that people struggle to articulate to me their reasons for hating Meghan. They regurgitate press reports – and when interrogated further about a personal experience, of course, there is no knowledge of who Meghan actually is.
“Political leadership has made it OK to be openly racist – in addition to rhetoric from Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, the Brexit campaign and press reporting on immigration.
“The public get their information from the press. None of us know [Meghan and Harry] personally but the press has shaped opinions. They have been relentless in their reporting which has had racist undertones throughout. Danny Baker felt emboldened to liken the baby to a monkey.”Related... Madame Tussauds Removes Harry And Meghan Figures From Display Meghan And Harry’s Royal Retreat Has Been A Long Time Coming Princess Diana's Former Personal Chef Loses It Over Meghan Markle
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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