Black History Month speaker hopes to inspire change in media industry

By Matthew Chandler


Beverley Cooper-Chambers (left) and Yvonne Connikie (right), who gave talks at the same event

Changing the way Black Caribbean families are represented in British media is the ambition of a speaker at a De Montfort University (DMU) Black History Month event.

Beverley Cooper-Chambers, whose family are of Jamaican descent, spoke last week about the stereotypical portrayal of British Caribbeans in UK television and the media.

In her talk, Beverley referred to Channel 4’s crime drama series ‘Top Boy’, about a London gang comprised of predominantly black members, to explain how prevalent this stereotype is in mainstream media.

“I’m black 24/7, 365 days a year. It must be that we’re part of the mainstream”

“You get to the situation where they get the guns, the drugs, the money, they’re having kids left right and centre without any responsibility,” she said.

“That image now is coming on the TV screens, so you think all black men are wearing hoodies and taking drugs and that’s not the reality. So my idea is there needs to be more positive TV drama.”

Beverley, former editor of Jamaican newspaper Love Herald, is doing a PhD at DMU on ‘The creation of a blueprint for television drama series that elevates the perception of British Caribbean families beyond the historical and sociological trauma of ‘fictive kin’ and the psychological manipulation of social engineering’.


Beverley at her graduation

But she hopes to offer viable solutions to these well-documented issues. She said: “I want to be able to create a solution so it stops happening. We know what the problem is. What we need to do is how to solve it.

“It’s all very well that you have Black History Month, but guess what? I’m black 24/7, 365 days a year. It must be that we’re part of the mainstream.

“In reality the people that control the mainstream aren’t going to do that – they don’t have to. We need to do it ourselves and stop waiting for other people to do it for us.”

While she also feels there are similar issues in the education system – saying it’s like black people “didn’t exist” before slave trade – Beverley is concentrating her efforts on changing the television industry, with her philosophy entitled ‘transform your viewing’.

She added: “I’d want us to have a British Caribbean television network where we have a similar thing to Sky, but it’s British Caribbean, so we have our drama, our own news, we have our reality shows, we have everything, and we are the gatekeepers.”

“I’m not saying I want to isolate us, but you need to have a base from which we can work.”

De Montfort asked to supply names of Brexit lecturers by ‘show off’ MP

By Holly Hume


A politics expert has condemned an MP’s request to acquire university teaching material regarding Brexit.

In an interview with the Leicestershire Press, Alistair Jones, Associate Professor of Politics at De Montfort University, who last year published Britain and the European Union (2nd edition), speaks about Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris’ letter to UK universities.

The letter requested a list of names of those who teach Brexit and access to those teaching materials.


Alistair Jones, Politics lecturer at De Montfort University

The MP later claimed the purpose of the letter was for personal research toward writing a European history book. Many Universities have denied the MP of this information on the grounds his behaviour is, what academics are calling, McCarthyite.

The Vice Chancellor of De Montfort University, Dominic Shellard, has now confirmed that whilst a list of teachers and syllabi was compiled, the results were not sent off to Mr Heaton-Harris.




Controversial plans for alcohol recovery centre approved

By Charlie Bourne.

Controversial plans for an alcohol recovery centre in Leicester were approved this week despite passionate objections from a nursery next door.

Council story photo

The proposed site of the alcohol recovery centre

Leicester City Council Planning and Development Control Committee approved the scheme on Hill Street, in the city, on Wednesday, over the objections of Little Angelz nursery.

The objectors’ main concern was the location of the centre, as parents and staff alike feared for the safety of the children. The nursery feared parents may stop sending their children there as a result of the approval, which could threaten its viability.

Councillors took into account the objections, but approved the plan as the Inclusion Healthcare centre may aid in improving the anti-social behaviour in the area, by helping street drinkers.

Councillor Patrick Kitterick, who spoke on behalf of objectors, said: “Services like this are vital, but they bring problems, it will close the nursery quicker than you can lock the front door.

“With 30 children at the nursery, it wouldn’t be unfortunate if it closed, it would be a disaster.”

Before the verdict of approval was given, applicants Inclusion Healthcare emphasised how a new recovery centre would help to solve the problem of anti-social behaviour in the surrounding area, as street drinkers would no longer be lingering on the streets.

Wayne Henderson, executive director for Inclusion Healthcare, said: “Inclusion Healthcare has acknowledged concerns with street drinkers.

“Our clients do not usually use public houses, clients use off licences and then use the Anchor centre.”

But Ashleigh Burne, member of staff at Little Angelz nursery, said: “Working at a nursery, staff strive to help children reach their full potential.

“We fear for the children due to second hand smoke, foul language and anti-social behaviour that will come with the centre’s approval.”

Despite the heartfelt and emotional pleas, it was not enough to prevent the approval of the centre, which now has three years to begin its development.

DMU students show disdain to right wing Conservatives

Louis Hatton and Rhys Shipman spoke to the following De Montfort University students about their feelings on the current UK Government. The feedback was expectedly negative, probably due to cuts made around student budgets among other policies.

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Free advice being offered to young people around Leicestershire on how to vote

Emma Broomhead handing out registration forms by The DMU Student Union

Emma Broomhead handing out registration forms by The DMU Student Union

By Jake Piercy

Young people across Leicester are being encouraged to register to vote as soon as possible by the Leicestershire Citizens Advice Bureau.

The group has been targeting students and young people in particular due to their contribution to the vast numbers of no-voters in previous elections, which is shown by the 16 million people in the UK who did not vote in the 2010 general election.

Emma Broomhead, talking on behalf of the organisation, said: “Young people have the lowest participation rates of any age group in the UK, and we are absolutely desperate to try and help those people register to vote and have a clear idea of who they want to vote for.”

Due to changes in the way citizens are registered to vote, each individual must personally register either online or with a registration form, meaning figures for no-voters are expected to rise even further.

With the deadline to register to vote falling on Monday April 20, the Leicestershire CAB has been handing out registration forms around De Montfort University and providing impartial advice on how to vote before the general election on Thursday May 7.

Emma continued: “We are also trying to help and encourage women and people from lower social classes to vote because there is a big gap in the figures – in 2010, 1.5 million fewer women registered to vote than men, and working class people also have a history of lower turnout rates.”

Once you have registered to vote, the locations of your nearest polling stations and detailed on your polling card, as polling stations are assigned to different postcodes, so you will be told where the nearest polling stations are to your home.

The organisation has been formed over the last five years by advice bureaux across Leicestershire merging together, and is a free and confidential service that offers advice and campaigning for better policies.