June 02, 2020
Clara Amfo gave a powerful and heart-wrenching speech about “insidious” racism and how the last week’s news cycle has affected her mental health during her Radio 1 show on Tuesday morning.
Clara Amfo Moves Radio 1 Listeners To Tears With Powerful Speech About George Floyd
Speaking candidly live on air, Clara said she had been so affected by the death of George Floyd that she had been forced to miss work a day earlier, stating that her mental health was in “a really, really bad way”.
“As you would have noted, I wasn’t in work yesterday and I want to talk to you directly about why that was,” she began.
“Now, before I get into it, I just want to say that I am fully aware that we are in the middle of this devastating pandemic, and I am fully aware that I am not a medical professional or a frontline worker. I am just a woman who does a radio show, but my Job is very public-facing, so I want to talk to you.
“If you have small children or would rather not hear what I’m about to say, because I am going to discuss race and violence, please check out something else on the Sounds app for the next few minutes. If not, then I really welcome you to stay with me.”She continued: “As you know, at Radio 1, we talk a lot about mental health. And mine was in a really, really bad way yesterday. In fact, it has been for the past few days in particular, in relation to the death of George Floyd. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, who died whilst being held under arrest.
“Now, I didn’t have the mental strength to face you guys yesterday, to ask ‘hi, how was your weekend?’ like I usually do with my happy intention, because I know that my weekend was terrible.”
Pausing to gather herself, Clara said: “I was sat on my sofa crying, angry, confused, and also knowing stuck at the news… stuck at the news of yet another brutalised Black body. 
“Knowing how the world enjoys Blackness, and seeing what happened to George, we, Black people, get the feeling that people want our culture, but they do not want us. In other words, you want my talent, but you don’t want me.
“There is a false idea that racism – and in this case anti-Blackness – is just name-calling and physical violence, when it is more insidious than that.
“One of my favourite thinkers is a woman called Amanda Seales, and she says this and I feel it deeply, when she says ‘you cannot enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues’. And I say that with my chest.” Powerful piece of radio broadcasting from @claraamfo this morning (1/2) pic.twitter.com/NgV2ta65WM— David ✨ (@d_cshn) June 2, 2020(2/2) pic.twitter.com/bmznTX4hWB— David ✨ (@d_cshn) June 2, 2020Clara went on to urge her listeners to listen to Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show that night, where she would be celebrating “Black artists that have enriched the music landscape”. She also gave a shout-out to 1Xtra presenters Seani B and Ace – “my Friends, my brothers, my colleagues” – who she said “will be speaking about their experiences as Black men in this country” during their usual show that day.
“I want to say to our Black listeners, I hope you feel seen and heard today,” Clara concluded. “And to those of you that already let me know that you are doing the work, to be committed to doing better, I see you, so let’s do this. Let’s all be anti-racist.”
The presenter ended her speech by playing Alright by Kendrick Lamar, which became associated with the Black Lives Matter movement after its release, and opens with the poignant line: “All my life I had to fight.”
Almost immediately, Clara won a wave of praise on Social Media, including from many of her BBC Radio colleagues:@claraamfo you beautiful woman you are so brave on @BBCR1 right now— Annie Mac (@AnnieMac) June 2, 2020I love you from my soul my spirit my heart, I honestly have no other words other than that right now.— Yasmin Evans (@YasminEvans) June 2, 2020So incredibly proud of my sisters @claraamfo and @YasminEvans today. Using their national platforms to uplift and empower with openness and integrity.— Dotty (@AmplifyDot) June 2, 2020That was one of the most incredible, powerful, moving bits of radio ever. @claraamfo You are incredible and strong and brilliant ♥️— Chris Stark (@Chris_Stark) June 2, 2020“People want our culture but they don’t want us” - listening to Clara Amfo right now on Radio 1— Xiomara, You Did Look Like You Were Possessed. (@daraabolaji) June 2, 2020Please listen to this clip from Clara Amfo on her Radio 1 show earlier. Important and powerful radio. pic.twitter.com/KXtnXhHqVG— Steve Holden (@SteveH1982) June 2, 2020"You cannot enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues" https://t.co/PLqTpt7uBk— Kamilah McInnis (@KamilahMcInnis) June 2, 2020clara not being able to get thru this without choking up... 😢 let’s pls tell the bbc how good and vital we thought this was bc i GUARANTEE racists are fixing their fingers to complain about it https://t.co/lH3JYpJf2q— G (@oneofthosefaces) June 2, 2020So much love for Clara Amfo on @BBCR1 right now. Crying listening to your moving speech ❤— Jen Litt (@Jennicat1) June 2, 2020@BBCR1 support you completely Clara Amfo .. sitting here crying with you. Thank you for being strong enough to share.— Haven_71 (@lolakahha) June 2, 2020Big love to you @claraamfo! Im crying! So brave for what you just said! As a white woman I would like to stand along side you in solidarity against racism and hate in general! I hear you and and respect you 10 fold!! Well done @BBCR1 for standing with Clara aswell! 💜💜💜— Lynsey Jayne Boston (@LynsBoston) June 2, 2020.@claraamfo just gave a powerful piece of public service broadcasting on radio 1. thank you for using your voice, for your searing honesty, for your talents, for you. thank you sister for being a guiding light in our industry.💕listen back - 11:10.https://t.co/3pcCOJOj85— David Chipakupaku 🐝 (@David_Chippa) June 2, 2020wow wow wow wow wow @claraamfo speaking on radio 1 just now. THAT is public service broadcasting. if you can, go back and listen https://t.co/0k4Oa4EYqK— 🐽alim kheraj (@alimkheraj) June 2, 2020@claraamfo using her @BBCR1 show to speak about #mentalhealth, racism in the UK and blackness in the wake of #GeorgeFloyd is exactly the content I needed today. Thank you so so much Clara. Thank you pic.twitter.com/Vt8ByuVqth— Abimbola Johnson (@BarristerAbi) June 2, 2020Clara Amfo’s speech on Radio 1 is absolutely heartbreaking 💔😭. Black lives MATTER ❤️— Abbie Bourne (@abbiebourne) June 2, 2020Big love to @claraamfo for this clearly painful message. I see you and pledge to do better #BlackLivesMatterpic.twitter.com/ZcyfP0WGGS— Mike J-C 🏳️‍🌈 (@MikeJ_C) June 2, 2020Thank you @claraamfo I felt every word, we cry together #BlackLivesMatter#BlackLivesMattterpic.twitter.com/acTGXFTZoA— THE GENRE IS BTS⁷ BLM (@DdaengLife) June 2, 2020Bravo @BBCR1 for allowing @claraamfo to speak her truth on daytime radio.And sending love to Clara always. I see you (and hear you monday-Thursday 11-1) xxx— Juno Dawson (@junodawson) June 2, 2020Powerful radio from @claraamfo today on BBC Radio 1 – listen back to her important words from 11:09 onwards https://t.co/c4MFTJWKFr— El Hunt (@El_Hunt_) June 2, 2020My heart is hurting listening to @claraamfo. Very brave for discussing racism in such a raw and heartbreaking way. She is using her platform on @BBCR1 in the best possible way and I am here with you Clara.— Liz Haigh (@lizhaigh) June 2, 2020READ MORE: 'We Need To End This Nightmare Of A Presidency': John Legend Leads Celebs Tearing Into Trump After Latest Speech 'Keep Your Dutty Mouth Shut': John Boyega Dismisses Claim He's Using His Platform To 'Spout Hate Against White People' Billie Eilish To White People Saying 'All Lives Matter' During Protests: 'Shut The F*** Up'  
 
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