3.0 / 5
Following the success of the Grime 4 Corbyn campaign in the run up to the general election earlier this year. There has never been a better time for young people, particularly those from African and Caribbean backgrounds to engage in the political process and have a platform to discuss issues which disproportionately affect them.
Grime 4 Corbyn was pivotal in engaging the youth vote, using social media to their advantage in order to raise awareness of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign platform. The campaign can take credit for Labour’s gains in the June election particularly as Corbyn’s policies resonated with many of his supporters. The Labour leader has openly criticised the Tories decimation of the welfare state through austerity measures and has been outspoken on issues which plague the poorest in society. Jeremy Corbyn offered a viable alternative to the disdain of many within his party, shifting them to the centre-left which resonated with traditional Labour voters and the working-classes. Corbyn’s popularity translated into promising results for the party, despite media affirmation that his leadership would lead to the demise of Labour. Youths overwhelmingly supported Corbyn in the election, with 64% of 18-24 year olds casting their vote, the highest turnout since 1992.
This disrupts the apathetic narrative the mainstream media have imposed on young people. To the contrary, youth participation saved the Labour Party from total annihilation with them gaining 32 seats including a historic victory in Kensington. This goes to show that young people are engaged with issues and are just as concerned with the state of the country than previously thought.
But what – if any – is the long-term impact of the Grime 4 Corbyn campaign? After Labour’s gains in the last election, will the party’s endorsement resurface in elections years to come? How about educating the disaffected into the political sphere? 19-year-old music artist, Dave released “Question Time” last month, posing questions to Theresa May and the Conservative coalition regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the Grenfell tragedy and the 1% pay rise which has been denied to public sector workers until it was recently overturned. This is just one example of the post-Grime 4 Corbyn era where the intersection of popular culture and politics is being traversed. However, was the campaign merely an opportune for the Labour Party to appear ‘down with the kids’? How can we maintain the vivacity of the Grime 4 Corbyn movement now the media frenzy has died down?
22-year-old filmmaker and Bsc Television and Broadcasting graduate Jake Wiafe, creator of a brand new topical YouTube series, Who Asked You? feels he has the answer,
“I think it is that Who Asked You? and Grime 4 Corbyn are ideological cousins in a way and both seek to show what a powerful force a younger electorate can be”
“Grime 4 Corbyn has actually proven that when we want to, we can rock the establishment and make our voices heard.”
The creator and director of the series, which debuted on YouTube last week, felt there was a deficit within political satirical programming aimed at primarily young, black audiences,
“So I looked at the satire we had in Britain, Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You and I just found it hollow. It just seemed like a bunch of neoliberals making hollow jokes about how Boris has stupid hair… and that just didn’t appeal to me as a young black person.”
“I didn’t feel like my opinion or my way of debating things or my humour was reflected in any of the panellists.”
The programme features cast members offering their opinion on topics of the week. Jake hopes this divergence from the traditional format of British political programming forms the solution to the diversity deficit in political satire, encouraging those hailing from the African diaspora to be equipped with the tools to navigate the political domain with a satirical twist,
“And it’s important to point out that Black people are funny. Like we are so funny and our humour deals with tragedy and unfairness in such a unique way.”
“So I developed a show that uses the unique and hilarious black perspective on current events to inform and entertain people. Because an informed, young, black electorate is the establishment’s worse nightmare. That… and socialism.”
Young people deserve a programme which enables them to enter the political domain which is often seen as inaccessible, particularly to those from multi-cultural backgrounds. Therefore, Who Asked You? is a viable alternative which hopes to address these issues and break the mould of its predecessors. Programming aimed at predominantly Black audiences are genuinely marketed towards a younger, more urban demographic which is evident within the content of television channels such as, ‘Channel AKA’ formerly, ‘Channel U’ and radio stations such as ‘Capital Xtra’ and ‘BBC Radio 1Xtra’. However, there is a call for a new genre of programming aimed at audiences debating ‘hard’ news topics which is what Who Asked You? hopes to achieve.
Photographs used with permission from owner.