The Mark Duggan Verdict

I’m sure many of you are as confused as I am right now. I didn’t realize that we lived in a country where shooting an unarmed man dead in the street after following him in unmarked cars can be considered “lawful killing”. 

Would love to hear your thoughts. 

Casey

Well, looks like the EDL morons have come to our city. I would advise anyone to stay away from the city centre if you can avoid it as it wouldn’t be surprising if these idiots turned violent. 

With any luck, they’ll soon get bored of chanting their racist, hateful, xenophobic nonsense. 

Stay safe everyone, 

Casey 

Here’s our music video for previously posted song. Please like and reblog! Thanks! Casey x

Hey all - since there’s still thousands of you following this blog, I’d really appreciate it if you all listened to the new single I just released with my band, Swami. We’ve worked incredibly hard on our new album over the last few years and we’ve finally put this song, "Back It Up" out as the first single. I sing co-lead vocals on the verses and chorus, and I co-wrote the song with my cousin, DJ Swami. The song is available as a free download here - and if there’s any fellow South Asians reading, there’s an alternate Desi remix version available at that link too :)

I don’t really plan on using this blog for self-promotion much, but we really have worked incredibly hard on this, and I thought some of you might like to know what I’ve been up to. Enjoy the track (Please feel free to reblog it if you like it), and you can follow my personal Tumblr and/or band Tumblr… and of course, I’m on Twitter too. Side note - if you know any radio DJ’s, journalists, music bloggers that may be interested in hearing this track, please feel free to send it on, or send me their contact information so I can send them a press pack. Thanks! Casey x

heronlord said: Hi, Casey, thank you for keeping the Midlands informed last summer. I’d like to ask your opinion on something.I noticed in the article you wrote for the “this is Birmingham” blog on the talks about the causes of the riots that you believe a repeat of august 2011 might happen again during the Olympic period if the problems behind the riots aren't addressed. I would be interested in hearing about your views on this subject in more detail if that is at all possible.

Thank you. Clearly there were many reasons that led to the rioting last year. Aside from racial profiling - the Mark Duggan situation being the straw the broke the camel’s back - we have high unemployment and rising costs. This government seems determined to slash and burn and the people getting hit the hardest by that are the people at the bottom. 

Frankly, it’s not exactly an ideal time for us to have to the Olympics. It’s incredibly frustrating to see the amounts of money being spent on that (and the Jubilee celebrations) when so many people are struggling to keep the wolf from the door.

Clearly I don’t condone more events like the last summer, but if the reasons why it happened are still there (and perhaps even worse than before)…… then what else can we expect?

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing good. Just wanted to check in with you all. I’ve been pretty active recently, releasing solo music, doing interviews, shooting a music video, and gearing up for the release of “UPGRADE” - which is the new album by my band, Swami - it’ll be out later in the year. 

Just thought I’d ask, if you’re reading this, would you mind giving me a follow over on my personal Tumblr? Since there’s quite a lot of you here, would be nice to see a few of you over there too :) Hope you’ve all been having a great 2012 so far - can’t believe it’s already March!

Thanks!!!

Casey

Participating as a contributor to a debate on the riots and social media right now for The Guardian - take a look and feel free to comment!

WMP are giving me an award… why I’m accepting it

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ will know that yesterday, I received an email from the Chairman of the West Midlands Police telling me that they would like to present me with an “Authority Award” at a ceremony in December - because of this very blog. 

A moral dilemma immediately ensued. Should I accept it or not? I immediately found valid reasons for both. As I always said, I never did this for any recognition. Given that police failings, racial profiling and the Mark Duggan situation were all a factor in the riots in the first place, would it therefore be wrong for me to accept this award? I’m a young ethnic minority in the inner city myself, I’ve been racially profiled, stopped-and-searched and accused of criminal activity myself on more than one occasion for no apparent reason. My entire life, frankly, I’ve felt like the police are not on my side. It’s a sad fact that most of us young people, especially minorities are made to feel like criminals when we aren’t. We regularly get tarred with the same brush as gang members, anti-social vandalists and criminals. I can’t speak for rioters but I do feel that many young people feel that if we’re already being treated like criminals, why shouldn’t we act like that? This is the “Me too” attitude of many of the looters/rioters that I spoke about before, where I said that most of them weren’t troublemakers but simply following the crowd.

For all my cynicism that the offering of this award might be a tokenistic PR move by the WMP - as my cousin told me, “that’s how life works”. From politics to business, so many things are done on the basis of PR. But is it really that shallow? If it isn’t - then what this means is that the police have at least acknowledged (if not accepted) the criticisms I presented to them throughout this very blog, both during and following the riots. Surely that’s a positive thing, even if there’s scope to question the motives? And in accepting the award, am I showing that it’s wrong for them (and society in general) to tar all us young people with that same brush? Am I proving a kind of legitimacy and being an example for others? It’s certainly possible, and for those reasons I am accepting it. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe the positives outweigh the negatives. I also hope that the ceremony will allow me the opportunity to express legitimate concerns to somebody on the inside with the power to make a difference.

Something that I care equally about is that this blog, regardless of any award, is a triumph for new media. The frankly shameful efforts of the mass media organisations are the primary reason this blog became so popular in the first place. I don’t have any bones to pick with the likes of the BBC and the Murdoch empire but I would hope that they reviewed their strategies regarding so-called “citizen journalism”, how quickly they can operate in a rapidly breaking situation/landscape, and their social media strategies. Every “old media” person I spoke to in the aftermath admitted their failings. So are the people at the top paying attention now? 

I still have so many thoughts rushing through my brain on the situation but for now at least, I’m going to end it here. I hope all of you are well and I really appreciate all the replies I got yesterday on Twitter when I was trying to decide whether I should accept the award or not. 

Peace…1luv

Casey

x

Anyone still reading this? How are you all doing these days? :)

Riots Debate Write Up

Hey all, how are you? Hope everyone is well and successful with your endeavours, whatever they might be.

As some of you saw/heard, I attended the Radio 4 Today Programme’s riots debate last week at Birmingham Town Hall. The following day, the I Am Birmingham blog asked me to do a writeup on it, so I thought I’d post the link here for anyone that missed it.

http://thisisbirmingham.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/birmingham-riots-under-the-spotlight-in-public-debate/

Enjoy. Oh - and for the record - I am a professional writer on the side from being a signed and touring vocalist and songwriter, so if any blog, magazine, newspaper or media organisation would like to offer me some work or see a resume, feel free to get in touch on Twitter or send me an email - the address is reinkarnal(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks…

Casey x

P.S - It seems that a few bigger blogs and newspapers have mentioned this blog and the coverage I did, over the past few weeks. If you happen to see this blog mentioned, please submit the link to let me know… Thanks!! :)

BBC Today Riots Debate

Hope you are all well! Just thought I’d make an update to let you all know that BBC Today are holding a “Riots Debate” next monday at Birmingham Town Hall - tickets are free and they’ve asked me to attend and live tweet the events.

Click here to get more information and apply for tickets.