One evening earlier this year, I walked into my best friend’s flat to find him and a group of his friends laughing hysterically at an Instagram video being streamed on the TV. It was a peculiar scene, witnessing this group of black men laugh so deeply it brought tears to their eyes. It was one of those priceless moments shared amongst brothers that I felt privileged to witness. I am so here for carefree black boy joy, but I must admit that turning my attention to what they were hysterical about instantly made me feel uncomfortable.
In the video a man appeared visibly distressed, switching between tears and laughter in the middle of what I can only describe as an angry monologue. The rant catalogued his grievances with a handful of high profile UK rappers. I had no context for this man behaving erratically on the screen, hurling insults at a random assortment of British musicians, and I genuinely could not tell if he was joking or not. After a few minutes watching the video, my resounding thought was, “Is this man OK?”