Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company. With an extensive global touring history, Akala has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. Akala has also appeared on Channel 4, ITV, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music and poetry, and speaking on wide-ranging subjects from music, race, youth engagement, British/African-Caribbean culture and the arts, with numerous online lectures and performances that have millions of views on YouTube. More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism - he has been awarded an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Brighton, written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the Independent, and spoken for the Oxford Union and TEDx - Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK.
Powerful ... impressive in its historical sweep, mapping the construction of racial identity onto the growth of empire and capitalism [and] full of nuanced cultural critique * The List * Even the guy behind the uni coffee shop counter can't help tiptoeing over to say how much he loves Akala's outlook on life , now immortalised in print as Natives * Q Magazine * Vital * Blouin Art Info * An engaged and nuanced exploration of the complex interplay between race and class * Morning Star * A fiercely honest appraisal of growing up poor and mixed race in broken Britain. This heartfelt polemic fights every excuse of racial ignorance -- Kirsty Allison * DJ Mag * a book that fulfils the mantra of 'the personal is political' to illuminate both the challenges of, and oppositions to, racism . . . a series of essays, some personal, others political, yet one never divorced from the other * Philosophy Football * An eminently readable account of what it means to be mixed race in Britain today, and the long-lasting legacies of colonialism. If that all sounds a little heavy for summer, Akala's sardonically droll writing leavens the subject without diminishing its impact * OX Magazine * Akala makes us quietly aware of how much we have left to learn about the world . . . He doesn't shy away from uncomfortable truths backed up with hard facts, which make you sit up and pay attention * Oxford Times * In many ways, Natives is as thorough a dissection of British racial relations as any you're likely to find . . . But it's also a vivid memoir on his own experiences of racism * The Skinny * Blistering * Lacuna * Fantastic * Novaramedia * an essential voice in Britain's debate on race, class and identity * New Humanist * There are lucid, well-cited and sharply argued passages ... which should probably be extracts on the national curriculum * Vice * In personalised chapters covering the police, education and identity, politics, sexual objectification and the far right, he confronts the issues of race and class at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire in this fierce and articulate polemic. * The Bookseller * A book bristling with intelligence and insight * Irish Times * Akala's singular voice speaks to us with deep wisdom about the past, righteous anger about the present, and stubborn hope about the future. He is a radical for our times. -- Marcus Rediker, author of THE SLAVE SHIP: A HUMAN HISTORY A history lesson of the kind you should get in school but don't ... This is a searing, thought-provoking book * Stylist * [one] of the most thoughtful books of the past year * Evening Standard * A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain * Independent * In his lucid, wide-ranging Natives the rapper Akala shows how race, class and the legacies of empire shape life in Britain today . . . Akala's study interweaves sociological analysis with memoir. Half-Scottish and half-Jamaican by heritage, he challenges cultural assumptions and highlights their consequences, is trenchant about structures of disadvantage, and is discouraging, in the end, about the future -- John Kerrigan * TLS * What I love about this book is it's kind of like a testimony, a story of contemporary London. He is like one of the Baldwins or Hooks of our generation, who walks among us, you know? When he theorises, it's from a place of knowing rather than some distant place up above . . . He is very good at remembering and honouring the experiences that have shaped him, and he applies it in a very real way -- Madani Younis * Observer * Akala is at his best destroying the comfortable myths that are invoked by white fragility to downplay attempts to correct the historical record ... Akala makes it clear that he is not brimming with optimism. But reading Natives - witnessing the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching - I can't help but be just that -- Afua Hirsch * Guardian * Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy * Guardian * My book of the year. It's personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I've been waiting for - for years * Benjamin Zephaniah *