Namugga’s soulful City Fox highlights Police harassment of young black men
PUBLISHED: 14:08 16 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:08 16 November 2020
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While American racism has been one of the most talked-about topics of the year, there’s still plenty to be done this side of the pond.
So argues Namugga, a 24-year-old North London musician and graduate of the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in Kilburn.
Her latest single, the lyrically thought-provoking City Fox, focuses on the uniquely British relationship between ‘roadmen’ and the police, using the allegory of the fox and the hound to illustrate their sinister interaction.
She said: “I wanted to talk about the young, directionless boys from estates who always have the police on their case.
“It’s a precautionary tale about how frightened those boys are.”
The ‘roadman’ social status, which emerged in the last decade, connects to the experience of young black men across the globe, but Namugga stresses its ties to a specifically UK brand of racism.
She continued: “We like to think we’re not as bad as America because we don’t have guns. But the discrimination and the racial prejudices I hear are just as bad, they’re just more covert.
“In a way it’s more sinister because you know it exists, you’re just choosing not to be aware of it.”
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Namugga added that the Black Lives Matter protests, which erupted on both sides of the Atlantic this summer, exposed just how little most know about the experience of black people in Britain today.
“This year especially, it felt like an awakening to the white majority.
“I went to the same protests in 2015 and there was an uplifting energy that made me feel like we’re going to make progress and change things.”
Five years on, Namugga says, that optimism has dampened, but the willpower is stronger than ever.
“We’re realising that this is a worldwide issue. Black people have always protested, but with businesses and corporations becoming increasingly aware, this year felt like a different kind of global awakening.”
Namugga’s lyrics are inspired by events, and her music by gospel and soul, but her professional ambitions are motivated by the success of friends and fellow ICMP graduates who have already hit the mainstream.
One of them, Tiana Major9, was recently signed by Motown and appeared last week on the popular Tiny Desk YouTube concert platform.
Namugga says: “She’s an amazing artist and a really cool person.”
When the worst of the pandemic is over, Namugga hopes to attend a reopened KOKO and perform at Camden’s Jazz Café.
If her future work is anything like what we’ve heard so far, she’ll be right at home.
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