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Guest Editor's Letter: The Significance of Black British DIY Culture

I recently went to see a friend speak at the Stuart Hall Foundation’s annual conference. He referred to the means that “us lot from ends” adopt and enlist as we survive, navigate, and attempt to establish ourselves, as manifestations of a ‘DIY culture’. The context he used was a young man he’d stopped to speak to in Brixton pulling out his trap phone mid conversation to arrange to meet a “cat” round the corner.  Ruminating on the phrase ‘DIY Culture’, I thought intensely about myself. I thought about Skepta and JME, and the Boy Better Know empire. I thought of J Hus, his sound and the success it had afforded him. I thought about the Receipts ladies, their billboards last year and podcasting. I thought about my friend sitting next to me in the audience and how she had established herself as an expert by experience in her field. I thought of my friend on the podium - a lecturer who’d carved out his career in academia researching, writing, teaching & speaking about our everyday existences, and theorising how the pain of the mundane contributes to serious youth violence. What the phrase and my thoughts most pertinently highlighted to me was how much we were essentially creating lives for ourselves, rooted almost exclusively in our experiential black-Britishness.