Posted 20 hours ago

Maybe I Don't Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery

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PRESENTED DOCUMENTARIES FOR THE BBC 'WILL BRITAIN EVER HAVE A BLACK PRIME MINISTER, WHY IS COVID KILLING PEOPLE OF COLOUR. The Migration Museum explores how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has made us who we are – as individuals and as a nation. But there is another story to Empire, there is another story to British glory which monarchy represents. Brutally honest, brave and enlightening, David Harewood's memoir and account of his breakdown is a fascinating read.

I've had issues with identity and belonging in the UK but those feelings came from inside me, because looking like the majority white population, I never experienced rejection such as described here and by other black British men (and to a lesser extent, women). A tremendously brave account of how a young black man loses his grip on reality and is sectioned under the mental health act. I've never simultaneously wanted to cheer for and throw my arms around somebody in the public eye as much as I do David Harewood.The following year, for his performance in "Free in Deed", Harewood won Best Actor at the 2018 British Urban Film Festival awards. Harewood began acting in 1990 and has appeared in The Hawk, Great Moments in Aviation, Harnessing Peacocks, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Blood Diamond, The Merchant of Venice and Strings. It'd be a criminal understatement to say that this book is a brave undertaking in sharing such a deeply personal and debilitating moment of one's life. And many people aren't, but I think I've done probably more work than most in being happy in whatever space you are. We are all human and all susceptible to mental health conditions, it would do everyone good to remember that, to treat others fairly how they want to be treated and understand it could be them so very easily.

Maybe I Don't Belong Here shines a light on the interplay between race, identity and mental well-being with tremendous moral courage. It's so interesting that that is how you choose to describe it, because so much of what you just described in historical terms, you've had to do in your own personal journey.You know one has to respect Elizabeth and respect her time on the throne and respect what she's done to the institution.

For me this held both lessons and affirmations of what it means to be a Black British man and the struggles to reconcile our inherent contradictions. I listened to the audio version which was beautifully read with some great notes of humour at times.

And I think that speaks to just how much mental pressure there is on most black people everyday, sometimes without us even knowing. I think having had some success in America, being recognised the way that I have been recognised, and rewarded for the talent that I have, has greatly benefitted me as an individual. That Harewood, during his first psychotic episode, heard the voice of Martin Luther King telling him to head to Camden, north London, at 3am on a mission to close the spiritual gap between good and evil has everything to do with the post-racial vision of the famous “I have a dream” speech. But for me it's also about being a part of a rich, a very, very rich history, and a very, very rich culture. That section of the community only wants to talk about it's glory, and it doesn't want to engage on the more uncomfortable subjects of Empire - slavery, oppression, subjugation, brutality - they don't really want to engage on those subjects.

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