Saturday, 26 September 2015

Turtle Bay UK Insults Black People and Rastafari.

I have been investigating the new Caribbean and Latin American Turtle Bay UK themed restaurant company. Its a new business with a chain of eateries right across the country.  The company boasts hipster boutique interiors, adorned with popular images of Caribbean and Latin American folk heroes. The food is a British take on a range of traditional Caribbean and Latin dishes and a wide range of beach bum cocktails.

What I have discovered, with the help of on line blogger @Lamzyco #  is a company owned by a Stephen Entwistle and Ajith Jaya Wickrema, who unsurprisingly are neither Caribbean or Latin American.

This is a company whose level of cultural appropriation that is quite frankly staggering.

Turtle Bay UK has launched an incredibly offensive marketing campaign in which white customers are shaded up and given dreadlocks whilst in their venues Jamaican flags appear everywhere alongside pictures of Redstripe and Dominoes

This recent 'promotional' campaign #Rastafyme is a deeply insulting racist campaign of the worst order. These adverts bring to mind the Tar Baby soap adverts of the 1920’s or the crass racism of the 1970’s Love They Neighbor comedy’ series.

We are presented with a series of racist caricature,s degrading black people, reducing the  Rastafarian faith to  a joke. This sick marketing campaign is quite simply beyond belief.

If their disgusting media campaign wasn’t enough, one look at one of their many social media accounts seems to depict a company with virtually no Black or Latin staff.

And then to add insult to injury as recently reported in the Independent newspaper waiters at the chain are forced to pay the company between 3% - 4.4% of their tips to management. 

This ‘ tipping policy’ in effect forces employees to pay the company for the privilege of working for them.  All this in the revolutionary hipster chic ambience of Bob Marley and Che Guevara.

An anonymous Turtle Bay waiter told The Guardian about a time recently when: "The tips didn’t cover 3 per cent of the sales I'd made, and by the end of the night I had to get £20 out of my pocket and give it to my manager."

With five venues in London and many more across the country, many located in traditionally black neighborhoods, this company is set to open its latest bar in Brixton South London. 

I have contacted the company asking them for their workforce diversity profile I am keen to know how many Black and Latino workers and managers do they employ and what their supply chain looks like.  Are the sourcing form black businesses? 

The gentrification of Brixton and other ethnic areas of London continue apace and Turtle Bay represents one of its most insidious and insulting aspects, the exploitation of workers, the co-option of Brixton diverse culture and the degradation of Rastafarianism. 

The opening of Turtle Bay in Brixton could have the effect of forcing locally owned Caribbean and Latin food shops out of business.

These businesses support local community events, employ local people and invest in local communities, often helping out with funerals, youth education projects and cultural festivals. To lose these them would rip the heart out of Brixton

The on line back lash has started already as people on twitter decided to call out the company. Turtle Bays response seems confused, first blocking and then unblocking critics.

If you’re interested in supporting a campaign to ensure that local employees are not screwed for tips, where our culture and the Rasta faith is respected and ensuring this company abandons its racist marketing campaign and adopts a corporate social responsibility investment programme, then send then email me using Turtle Bay in the subject area. 

I will facilitate a planning meeting.

You can let them know what you think of then on their Facebook Page You Tube Channel Instagram  or Twitter @TurtleBayUK Please use hashtags #TBayUK #TBayBrixton 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Where is the black leadership in the UK ? Public meeting Birmingham.

If you're in Birmingham tonight so am I. 

Public Meeting Monday 21st September 2015 

NUT Hamilton House (Mander Hall) Mabledon Place 

Kings Cross London WC1H 9BD 18.30 

The world is experiencing the biggest migration of refugees in eighty years. Thousands including
children are stranded in the EU, homeless and desperate. Instead of a humanitarian response to the crisis, many EU countries are adopting a "Fortress Europe" policy. Hungary recently fired water canon and teargas on innocent refugees, after closing the border with Serbia. 

Shamefully Britain is opting out of proposals to accept refugees stranded in the EU. Last week over 100,000 people marched in London to demand that Britain welcomes refugees. Hundreds of thousands more have donated aid to refugees. This meeting will argue that Britain should adopt a more humanitarian approach and welcome refugees. 

Hear from a range of speakers including a report from the weekend's aid convoy to Calais, where refugees are living in squalid slums - some of the worst conditions seen.

Speakers at the meeting include:

Catherine West MP (Labour)
Natalie Bennett Green Party Leader
Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary
Maurice Wren Chief Executive, The Refugee Council
Colette Levy Child refugee from Vichy France
Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Lee Jasper, Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts
Maz Saleem Calais Solidarity Delegation Co-ordinator
Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism

Sponsored by NUT

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Police Brutality 2015 Notting Hill Carnival

Police brutality at the 2015 Notting Hill Carnival. Watch as a brother is punched and pummelled by the Metropolitan Police for no reason. The brother is under control and there is no threat to the officers. 

He is punched repeatedly whilst on the ground, then as he is being led away on handcuffs, he is punched again for no reason. This is the type of behaviour that results in communities having little or no trust or confidence in police.

I would certainly offer our support to this young man if you or any of your friends know him then please pass my contact details. 

I think we should all be demanding this be properly investigated at a public investigation and the officers be immediately suspended pending investigations. 

I wonder if any of the officer involved or who saw what happened reported and complained about the disgusting behaviour of  their fellow officers?  I doubt it. Then that leaves us to support this brother who no doubt will be falsely charged with police assault. 

I think its time when marched to New Scotland Yard and demanded answers. Whose with me ? 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Campaigners call “refugees welcome here” national day of action after government fails to meet needs of refugee crisis

A major national day of action under the slogan “Refugees Welcome Here” has been called  on Saturday 12 September 2015 in response to the government’s failure to properly address the refugee crisis and to urge for a more humanitarian and compassionate response to people including children dying whilst desperate to flee war, persecution and poverty. 

The event will include a march and rally in central London and local events around the country such as football supporters unveiling “Refugees Welcome Here” banners at matches.

There is strong support for a more humanitarian response with the event going viral on social media with tens of thousands pledging to attend the march and rally in London, and hundreds of thousands of people signing a petition calling for an emergency Parliamentary debate.

Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Organiser said:

“David Cameron’s approach of refusing to take refugees currently stranded in Hungary, Calais and other parts of the EU is woefully inadequate. It is also a grotesque dereliction of duty to expect poorer countries surrounding Syria to shoulder the burden - who currently take 3.7 million Syrian refugees - whilst the richer EU only takes substantially less with several hundred thousand with some countries failing to comply with the UN Geneva Convention on Refugees. We support the call of the Chief Rabbi for a more humanitarian, compassionate and responsible to the refugee crisis. As anti-racists we are concerned about Britain’s failure to provide sanctuary to African and Arab people and the dehumanising message this sends.”

Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition Convenor said:

“David Cameron has responded to the refugee crisis in the most abject way. He is refusing to take many refugees. But he is still promising to try and make parliament agree to more bombing of Syria. This will only force more refugees to flee Syria.  Every day thousands flee war and chaos, many dying in the most terrible circumstances, suffocating in lorries or drowning during dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean. They are being treated terribly by many of the governments of Europe, including our own. The majority of these refugees are the victims of war, many of them fleeing the disastrous conflict in Syria, but also from Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The British government must accept responsibility for the outcome of these wars by accepting the refugees. There is always money to bomb, but not to help some of the world’s most desperate people. That has to change. We urge everyone to join the demonstration.”

Lee Jasper, Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts Chair said:

“The British Government's totally inadequate response in providing sanctuary for refugees is contrasted by the out pouring of public support all over Britain demanding we do more. Britain should match Germany's magnificent response and restore our international reputation as a nation of sanctuary. 

“Lest us not forget that modern Europe was made rich on the profits made from slavery and colonialism and now many EU nations are rejecting the descendants of nations they bled dry. Progressive European values of solidarity mean nothing in the context of such moral failure.

“This Day of Action will be the largest pro migrant demonstration seen in decades and I urge everyone to do what they can. Our message is compassionate, clear and simple #RefugeesWelcome.”

Weyman Bennett, Unite Against Fascism, Joint Secretary said:

“We must learn the lessons of history. After the Second World War and the horrors of the Holocaust following the Nazis rise to power, we said “never again.” Britain has a historical tradition of welcoming refugees with measures such as the Kinder Transport. Today we have racist and Islamophobic statements by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, saying Muslims are not welcome in Hungary, conceding to Neo Nazi Jobbik. David Cameron should be standing in British tradition taking a lead and providing sanctuary for these people, not ignoring the current problem in the EU.”

Notes to editors

  1. Refugees Welcome Here
Saturday 12 September
Assemble 12pm Marble Arch for march to Downing Street
2pm Downing Street rally

2. Stand up to Racism

3. For interviews and further information please contact:

Sabby Dhalu 07794 633097
Lindsey German 07472 198941
Lee Jasper 07984 181797
Weyman Bennett 07734 032 314