- 05 Nov 21
Read Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism in the new special edition of Hot Press.
In the new issue, we've launched a special new project, 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism, with 35 pages of the latest issue dedicated to the theme.
In addition to our cover stars Damien Dempsey, Celaviedmai and Sharyn Ward, the project features Offica, Bob Geldof, Ryan Lincoln, Miss Ireland Pamela Uba, Sinéad O'Connor, Maverick Sabre, Willzee, JyellowL, Wallis Bird, Gary Lightbody, Steo Wall, Jacknife Lee, Demi Isaac Oviawe, Kwanghi Chan, and many more – sharing their experiences and thoughts on racism in Ireland.
“Ireland can only benefit from becoming a properly diverse and inclusive society,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes observes. "That has always been an article of faith for us here at Hot Press. We are for an open, multi-cultural society of equals.
"We believe passionately that people of every gender, colour, creed, ethnic group and sexual orientation, and from all economic and social backgrounds in Ireland, should have the equal right to participate, wholly un-compromised and with dignity, in every aspect of Irish life – whether in the home, at school, in college, in the workplace, on the street, in the sporting arena or online.
"That is why we agreed to partner with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), for their vitally important national awareness campaign, #AllAgainstRacism.”
Since the launch of the #AllAgainstRacism campaign last December, the IHREC has done brilliant work in challenging the kind of individual and societal attitudes that lead to people from different ethnic backgrounds experiencing racism here in Ireland.
"It is a great honour for us here in Hot Press to join them in this campaign – and to being together so many powerful statements about racism, and how we can address it," Niall Stokes resumes. "What comes through very strongly is a real sense of solidarity among musicians.”
At Hot Press, we talk to artists from a multitude of backgrounds everyday. We also listen to, love and appreciate their work. As such, it seemed fitting to invite a selection of these figures to have their say on racism in Ireland – where it exists, and how it works.
We received a towering response to the call out for testimonies, covering both the progress that's been made in recent years, and the crucial work that remains to be done.
The cover of the new issue features three musicians who have contributed to the project: Damien Dempsey, Celaviedmai and Sharyn Ward.
"I come from Galway," rapper Celaviedmai says. "You might think that because it's living out in the countryside almost, that there wouldn't be that many Black people there – well there are now! I didn't observe that much racism in Galway, but I've noticed since I moved to Dublin, that living in a bigger city, racism seems to be more prevalent.
"I used to live life through such a rose-tinted window, where it was all love and peace and positivity," she continues. "I used to be very social. I used to love going out, hanging out with people, but I think it’s maybe because, in Galway, I was so sheltered.
"Whereas now, I'm starting to see how things like covert racism can affect you. It's not so in your face, and that's why I think a lot of people can't comprehend that there is racism in Ireland. They assume that because you're not using any derogatory terms that you're not racist."
Sharyn Ward, meanwhile, speaks openly about her experiences as an Irish Traveller attempting to enter the music scene.
"Music should be a safe place to unite, no matter who you are or where you’re from," she says. "But as an Irish Traveller singer and woman, I feel I have to fight a bit harder. I don’t get many gigs. I feel it’s because they have a fear that my fans would be Travellers, and then they’d have lots of Travellers on their premises. They’re worried about all the stuff they read in the newspapers, so they judge you before they even give you a chance.
"I wrote some music recently about the Traveller life and culture, so I’m hoping people will learn a lot through that, and that it will open people’s eyes," she continues. "My aim is that people will learn about Travellers, and we can break down this horrible wall that everybody has built up around us."
The 100-plus people who also made submissions have displayed remarkable courage and honesty in sharing their experiences. We hope that the strength of their combined voices can play a role in shaping – or reshaping – public attitudes on this crucial issue.
The first 55 responses are featured in Part 1 of 100 Voices, in the current issue of Hot Press. Available to pick up in shops now, or to order online below:
You'll find Part 2 of the project in next month's issue, as well as on hotpress.com
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.