- 25 Nov 21
Malaki shares his thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
When George Floyd died in 2020, a lot of American people standing together in solidarity allowed Irish people to do it as well. I was living in London at the time, and I saw the Black Lives Matter marches there in person. It was incredible, because it showed the sheer number of people – no matter what background or race – who really cared. When I came back to Ireland, I was able to stand in solidarity over here as well.
The most important thing I can say to people in Ireland is to educate yourself. For years, there has been such a deep-rooted, systemic racism against people from the Traveller community in this country. We’re seeing it as well against Black people, Muslim people, asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. I really try to stress the phrase ‘educate yourself’, because we were once seeking asylum too. We were the victims of racism. Read your history: it’s not that long ago.
Obviously we have to recognise our privilege now. I don’t understand what those who are subjected to racism go through every day, but I need to challenge my prejudices. I’m a white, straight male so it’s difficult for me to speak out about it, but I still want to be an ally for people who have struggled or are struggling. A lot of my friends from all walks of life have experienced discrimination. I want to show them that I’m here to support them and want to second-guess my biases.
Hopefully people living in our society, and world leaders alike, can begin to understand these issues on a cellular level.
Going out of your way to work with people of colour and artists of a different background is so important. When I make music with people from different races or nationalities, it gives me their perspective. We tell each other stories, so you hear about their lives. I perceive the world differently, hearing their experiences. I’m learning from it, which is crucial.
We already live in a multicultural society. Being able to be supportive, and accepting, within that is vital. Turning a blind eye should be a thing of the past. We need to stand up to racism that we see on an everyday basis. Supporting these communities is key. So why not be an anti-racism advocate in your organisation, school, job?
Years ago, this wouldn’t have even been talked about. It shows how far we’ve come that a movement has been built. Long may it flourish.
• Tolü Makay and Malaki’s single, ‘The Light’, is out now
Read Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism, in the current issue of Hot Press. Available to pick up in shops now, or to order online below:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.