THE HATE U GIVE @ IMPACT HUB BIRMINGHAM WITH ANGIE THOMAS

Last weekend for the first time I went to an event at Impact Hub Birmingham. The event was in conversation with Angie Thomas (the author of ‘The Hate U Give a.k.a THUG) and Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK). Before that, there was a screening of the refreshing and thought-provoking small film entitled ’50 shades of melanin’ followed by a Q&A with the film director Naomi Grant and Siana Bangura. The Impact Hub is a beautiful place tucked away in the centre of Birmingham, which hosts programs and events. It is a creative safe-space to work and connect amongst other innovative individuals.

Upon Arrival at the event I have to admit it was awkward for me, I went alone and I did not know anyone so obviously I’m just standing. However, it was like a small community everyone knew each other and it was something I haven’t really seen before in Birmingham and I just started having conversation and it was natural, nothing forced you know, I felt welcomed.

The documentary ’50 Shades of Melanin’ was showed followed by a Q&A led by Aliyah Hasinah with Naomi and Siana, the documentary focuses on colourism within the UK. It was a great piece and you should check it out. Not going to lie though there was some viewpoints within it that I side-eyed but I think that was important about the documentary that it was real and shown a glimpse of the different perspectives in the UK.

The Q&A also gave the audience and opportunity to ask questions to both women about the themes of the documentary and the process itself. It was concluded with a gripping poem by Siana about identity and being comfortable with who you are specifically blackness, is it possible for a poem to go off? It was so good!

After that, there was a compelling spoken word performance by Damani Dennisur and a discussion between Angie Thomas and BLMUK as her book was inspired by the black lives matter movement (which by the way is excellent, the book that is). The conversation spoke about the similarities and differences of BLM in the UK and in the US as well as the discussion of who is accountable and what actually needs to happen with the system, while covering topics of colonialism and white privilege.

“Empathy is More Powerful than Sympathy”

Then a soulful performance by Janel Antoneisha and an interview with Angie Thomas led by Rakeem Omar. She spoke about growing up in Mississippi and college – having to assimilate in a white space in a creative writing class. Inspired by a conversation with her professor, who told her that “those stories need to be told” referring to stories of the black youth. Angie Thomas wanted to write something to show the beauty in the neighbourhood like hers, this is shown through one of the motifs in the book Hip-Hop (which she prides herself in having an unofficial degree) in particular Tupac. She loved the fact he was more than a rapper, he had empathy. Angie also felt it was important to pay homage to the younger generation and the beauty of being black. She also hinted at movie in development too, which is exciting too as the book has a range of different characters. An extract from the blurb of the book to get an idea of what it is about: “…Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.” The interview was ended with asking what Angie wants the readers to take away from the book and she states: Empathy. Empathy is more powerful than sympathy. It is easy to say black lives matter but do you really mean it?

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A CHEESEMAS WITH BYRON HAMBURGERS

If you know me, you know I love to eat. So I got told about how Byron Hamburgers were having this promotion on the 23rd November, which basically is the first 150 people get free burgers. So me being me, I knew I had to go after sixth form to secure some. I messaged my friend Zil because he is always about and we went.

Imagine, we get there for around about ten to six in the evening (bear in mind that the promotion/event starts at 6) and we were slapped by one hefty queue, I felt sick. Free things are always bait. I completely forgot about the German market as well, passers-by that were in town for the German market hopped, skipped and jumped when they seen free burgers especially with the ongoing extortionate prices at the German market this was like blessing for some of them. Anyway I didn’t let this discourage me because I was gassed at the idea of even getting a free ‘restaurant standard’ burger plus it was my first time eating at Byron.

At 6, the workers braved the cold in just t-shirts (I don’t know how because it was cold as fuck) and handed out wristbands which basically confirmed whether you got a free burger or not. Let me just say, I wouldn’t even be writing all of this if I didn’t get one. It was so close-though the waitress had only 10 left in her hand when she gave me one. At this point there was no going back nor was the idea of leaving because the line was not moving.

The line moved slowly to be honest and I could understand why – with all the fresh meat they had to cook and the constant stream of hungry customers. On the bright side, while in the line a Wagamama waitress came out every so often offering samples of their food. Wagamama’s was doing the most to try to finesse customers offering stuff like: squid, firecracker chicken and all that good stuff. As me and Zil got closer to the front of the entrance of the restaurant, Byron clocked on to what Wagamama was doing and started handing out samples too. In comparison to Wagamama, it was not the best. It was like this weak ass dry floured chicken nugget.

So we get to the front of the line and step inside, all I can hear is this heavy house beat and I’m not even mad about it – I really liked it, obviously along with the collaboration of chatter and drinks clinging. Welcomed by a waiter we went to our table, he seen our wristbands he knew we weren’t here to play. Oh, we also got free beer, which we won in a raffle they had at the door. Anyway, the food came: peng, peng, peng and peng. We both got cheeseburgers (the burger you got for free) and I got this massive salted caramel milkshake, which was possibly the best milkshake I’ve ever had probably because the only bought milkshake I’ve had is the McDonald’s one. On top of all of that I also bought cheese fries this was nice too but I would’ve liked more cheese on them. The cheeseburger itself was filling and the taste got better with every bite. Yeah, so it was really good. I also clocked all that music was from a live in-house DJ and at one point, this guy slapped on a follow the leader instrumental and of course people made up a train of customers and staff, I would’ve joined but I was too invested in my food.

It was a good night, I would say the burger is easily in my top 5 for best burgers I’ve had. Can’t name it the best as I haven’t tried them all.

So I ask who n what n where is the best place to get a cheeseburger?

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