Raised In Hackney

June 4, 2020

Raised in Hackney is a podcast created by young Black British men and boys raised and living in Hackney.

Funded by Young Hackney, the project was conceived and produced by Hoxton Hall, as a counter to negative media headlines that often portray these young men as perpetrators or victims of crime. “Young Hackney have been able to fund an extremely important piece of work which is bringing to light the lived experiences of young black men and boys in Hackney. This project gives direct insight into the lives of young people through their words, creating an invaluable opportunity to understand their experiences first hand and provide the support where it is needed” Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor of Hackney and Cabinet Member for Education, Young People and Children’s Social Care.

Raised in Hackney is a vehicle for young black men to have their say and give voice to the issues directly affecting them. The project worked with 20 young men to create this audio documentary. In a series of four episodes, six participants aged 13 – 18 years cover topics from mental health and wellness, the portrayal of black men in the media and debate whether it is ever appropriate to use the ‘N-word’. This youth led project explores topics chosen by the young men sharing their concerns, aspirations and experiences of growing up black and male in Hackney.

“Participants didn’t just discuss the issues; they interviewed each other and edited the episodes. This helped them develop new skills including interviewing techniques, how to use editing software, public speaking, self-care, cultural awareness and team building,” said Project Lead Facilitator, Christian Nembhard and Hoxton Hall, Participation Manager, Grace Hammonds.

Raised in Hackney is available to listen to here. These intimate and candid discussions allow the audience an insight in to the lives of black boys and men growing up in London. Hoxton Hall’s aim is for this audio documentary to act a useful tool to facilitate intergenerational conversations, and kick-started the debate with a virtual panel discussion on 1 June.

 The Raised In Hackney Round Table chaired by Hoxton Hall’s Artistic Director & CEO, Karena Johnson included panelists: poet, photographer, creative facilitator and mental health researcher Kay Rufai whose S.M.I.L.E.-ing Boys project received widespread acclaim; poet and writer Derek Owusu (Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space) and Raised In Hackney Project Lead Facilitator, Christian Nembhard.

During the discussion, Derek Owusu reflects on having had similar conversations 15 years ago and what London will look like in 50 years from now; and Kay Rufai said, “I’m proud of the team who were able to provide the environment for young boys to articulate these complex emotions in a non-judgemental space which is so important and difficult to achieve.”

This was the first project of its kind for Hoxton Hall. “We’re continually seeking new and innovative ways to support and encourage young people in their development and understanding of art as a tool for social change. This is a refreshing alternative voice to the clichés of the popular media and we believe Raised In Hackney is an important contribution to reframing the debate on race and masculinity now,” added CEO & Artistic Director, Karena Johnson.

 The conversations and debates opened as a result of this podcast have given these young black men an authentic voice. The success of this project has encouraged Hoxton Hall, subject to funding, to develop the platform further to give other communities in the borough an opportunity to share their compelling thoughts and views about living in Hackney.

Raised In Hackney is available to listen here:

Round Table Discussion

Ep 1 – Being Black

Ep 2 – Music

Ep 3 – Young Minds

Ep 4 – Media

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