Walking us through his childhood experiences, from racist teachers to being stopped and searched by the police, Akala eloquently explains how Britain is in denial about its own history and the legacy of its empire. This phenomenal book guides us through police brutality, the education system and the rise of the far-right in a country that refuses to accept its own reality
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.
A book bristling with intelligence and insight
A history lesson of the kind you should get in school but don't ... This is a searing, thought-provoking book
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
Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy
A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain
An engaged and nuanced exploration of the complex interplay between race and class
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
A fiercely honest appraisal of growing up poor and mixed race in broken Britain. This heartfelt polemic fights every excuse of racial ignorance
There are lucid, well-cited and sharply argued passages ... which should probably be extracts on the national curriculum
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
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
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
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
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
An essential voice in Britain's debate on race, class and identity
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
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
One of the most thoughtful books of the past year
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.
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
An urgent, profound and accessible book. Akala weaves the elements of this wide-ranging book into an engaging, angry, and often funny account that should be pressed into everyone's hands: a personal story, compellingly told, and a devastating analysis of race and class prejudice in our society. Akala is an incredible writer, and this is an important book.
Akala argues with gripping clarity . . . He's trenchant and highly persuasive
He is an extremely articulate and intelligent human being, with a great command of the English language . . . I don't think he has any formal degrees but his knowledge is knowledge that he has gone out and sought, he has gone across the country and he lectures and speaks at the top universities. What I like about him is that he is eloquent and knowledgeable about a lot of the issues I am interested in - so racism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, class structure in society, imperialism, post-imperialism and all those kind of things that he is so sharp on. His most recent book, Natives, takes in a lot of those issues and he uses his life as an example of how these different -isms interact.
A thoughtful history of racism and British views of empire . . . relevant and useful.
Akala approaches issues of race and culture with a rare clarity
Breaks down centuries of colonisation, classism, racism and almost every aspect of British society in a disarmingly accessible way. His language is clear and concise, and like the best writers, he challenges assumptions while building comprehension.
He is acute on how ideas of race served British global power over centuries, and on the violence at the heart of the imperial project
An astounding and brilliant book about black identity
I recommend Natives to everyone