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ARTS & CULTURE

How you can use your voice to help shape a positive narrative against racism

June 23, 2020
Denieka Lafayette
June 23, 2020

Denieka Lafayette on Black Lives Matter: Navigating Britain as a black woman, the importance of artistic expression in the pursuit of equality, and the role of storytelling within the black community and wider.

COVID-19 UK FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Are you getting all the help available to you?

As creative practitioners, we are aware it can be difficult to navigate between financial
options available depending on your status. Make sure you are getting all the financial help
available to you by using the table below.
We will keep on updating it with new resources to always provide the most up-to-date financial support info for you!

* If you have another employment paid through PAYE your employer may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

COVID-19 UK FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Are you getting all the help available to you?

As creative practitioners, we are aware it can be difficult to navigate between financial
options available depending on your status. Make sure you are getting all the financial help
available to you by using the table below.
We will keep on updating it with new resources to always provide the most up-to-date financial support info for you!

* If you have another employment paid through PAYE your employer may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

© Darnell Temenu

About Guest Writer, Danieka Lafayette

Denieka, or better known as Dee, is a British journalist (and singer), based in London. Beautifully using her voice to express her identity through different mediums, she eloquently tells her story and poignantly sparks conversations about the overlooked intricacies of everyday life. 

Dee has been a part of the SSSHAKE creative community from its beginning stages, and was featured in our Creators + Photographers series in 2017, previously known as the SSSHAKE Stories.


The Creators

The Creative

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Universal Credit (1)

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:
• you’re on a low income or out of work
• you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
• you’re under State Pension age
• you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
• you live in the UK

MORE INFO

COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme (3)

If you have employees, you can claim for 80% of their wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus. If you have an other employment paid through PAYE your employer may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

MORE INFO



Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (3)

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either: have coronavirus, cannot work because they are self-isolating at home or are shielding in line with public health guidance.

MORE INFO

HMRC’s Time To Pay (5)

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
• have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
• traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
• are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
• intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
• have lost trading pro ts due to coronavirus
• your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income

MORE INFO

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) (7)

Small Business Grant Fund Eligibility:
• Businesses with a property that on the 11 March 2020 were eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) Scheme.
• Businesses which on 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the Rural Rate Relief
• Scheme are also eligible for this scheme.
Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property.

Hospitality and Leisure Grand Fund Eligibility:
• Properties which on the 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the business rates
• Expanded Retail Discount Scheme had that scheme been in force are eligible for the grant.
• Charities which would otherwise meet this criteria but whose bill for 11 March had been reduced to nil by a local discretionary award should still be considered to be eligible for the RHL grant.
• Recipients will receive one grant per eligible property

No need to do anything you’ll be contacted by HRMC if you’re eligible

MORE INFO

Council Tax Reduction (2)

You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

MORE INFO

HRMC income support scheme (4)

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
• have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
• traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
• are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
• intend to continue to trade in the tax year2020 to 2021
• have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

You will need to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will as usual use a risk based approach to compliance.

Your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income for either:
• the tax year 2018 to 2019
• the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019

MORE INFO

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (6)

You’re eligible if:
• your business is based in the UK
• your business has an annual turnover of up to £45 million
• your business has a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, if not for the coronavirus pandemic
• you can self-certify that your business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus

MORE INFO

Creative industry-specific Grants & Funds (8)

We've compiled a list of grants and prizes available to UK residents, which you can filter by creative industry, to make sure you're seeing grants that are relevant to your practice. We'll be doing our best to keep this list up-to-date with the latest grants and initiatives to support creatives around the UK. All grants listed are open for applications and are automatically removed after the deadline. 

If you are feeling anxious, wondering what the coronavirus crisis means for your practice, feel free to reach out to us at any time.

We’re not experts, but we’re happy to share our knowledge and to try to help you stay optimistic during these tough times. You can contact us from our website chat or on any social media.

MORE INFO

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) (9)

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
• is based in the UK was established before 1 March 2020
• has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

MORE INFO

Universal Credit (1)

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:
• you’re on a low income or out of work
• you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
• you’re under State Pension age
• you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
• you live in the UK

MORE INFO

Council Tax Reduction (2)

You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

MORE INFO

COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme (3)

If you have employees, you can claim for 80% of their wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus. If you have an other employment paid through PAYE your employer may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

MORE INFO



Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (3)

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either: have coronavirus, cannot work because they are self-isolating at home or are shielding in line with public health guidance.

MORE INFO

HRMC income support scheme (4)

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
• have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
• traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
• are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
• intend to continue to trade in the tax year2020 to 2021
• have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

You will need to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will as usual use a risk based approach to compliance.

Your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income for either:
• the tax year 2018 to 2019
• the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019

MORE INFO

HMRC’s Time To Pay (5)

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
• have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
• traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
• are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
• intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
• have lost trading pro ts due to coronavirus
• your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income

MORE INFO

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (6)

You’re eligible if:
• your business is based in the UK
• your business has an annual turnover of up to £45 million
• your business has a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, if not for the coronavirus pandemic
• you can self-certify that your business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus

MORE INFO

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) (7)

Small Business Grant Fund Eligibility:
• Businesses with a property that on the 11 March 2020 were eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) Scheme.
• Businesses which on 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the Rural Rate Relief
• Scheme are also eligible for this scheme.
Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property.

Hospitality and Leisure Grand Fund Eligibility:
• Properties which on the 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the business rates
• Expanded Retail Discount Scheme had that scheme been in force are eligible for the grant.
• Charities which would otherwise meet this criteria but whose bill for 11 March had been reduced to nil by a local discretionary award should still be considered to be eligible for the RHL grant.
• Recipients will receive one grant per eligible property

No need to do anything you’ll be contacted by HRMC if you’re eligible

MORE INFO

Creative industry-specific Grants & Funds (8)

We've compiled a list of grants and prizes available to UK residents, which you can filter by creative industry, to make sure you're seeing grants that are relevant to your practice. We'll be doing our best to keep this list up-to-date with the latest grants and initiatives to support creatives around the UK. All grants listed are open for applications and are automatically removed after the deadline. 

If you are feeling anxious, wondering what the coronavirus crisis means for your practice, feel free to reach out to us at any time.

We’re not experts, but we’re happy to share our knowledge and to try to help you stay optimistic during these tough times. You can contact us from our website chat or on any social media.

MORE INFO

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) (9)

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
• is based in the UK was established before 1 March 2020
• has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

MORE INFO

Black Lives Matter is a phrase that over the last several weeks has found itself on the lips and keyboards of large numbers of the population, more so than ever. However, it is not at all a new concept. Nor is the racial injustice that was behind its original creation. George Floyd was the African American man killed by the police during his arrest in Minneapolis on May 25th 2020. Since then black people and allies across the globe have raised their voices in solidarity, not just for the tragic killing of George, but for all the lives sacrificed previously in the name of racial equality. Racial equality that we are yet to see. 


The slave trade happened over 400 years ago and is the one part of black history that is widely recognised, however in modern society racism takes many shapes. It’s systematic; that means that it blends itself into sectors that impact every corner of black people's lives. The media, the justice system, education and healthcare are just a few examples.


Back in 2016 three black women; Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi established the Black Lives Matter movement in a bid to raise awareness of the incessant mistreatment of black people. That same year, I was still in university, and back then, I was eager to be everywhere and learn everything in order to prepare me for the leap between my studies and the working world. I knew I had to hit the ground running to stand a chance not only in the journalism world, but as a young black woman. 


Representation is a major stumbling block when it comes to issues of race. This repeated lack of representation is restricting to black people in society because it stifles our voices. In my own experience, what this looks and feels like mostly is erasure. “Representation in the fictional world signifies social existence; absence means symbolic annihilation”, rightly says George Gerbner, the founder of the Cultivation theory.


Pertaining to race specifically ‘symbolic annihilation’ plays out frequently and it often means the majority of society (white people) hold onto stereotypes of the minority. That leaves black people in an exhausting cycle of existing in a society that wasn't designed for our success whilst simultaneously does not wish to hear what we have to say about that. Black people's voices, and identities, in this country become heavily suppressed. 


In a recent IGTV, Akala (Black British journalist, activist and rapper) touched on the fact - to paraphrase - that this country has a liking to acting as if there are no racial separations, here. “I don’t see colour” is a phrase often used; at face value it seems like a statement of inclusivity. In actuality it dismisses the reality of how race impacts people. We just pretend it’s not a thing and that we all have the same experiences.


We each have our own stories, and having autonomy over them relies heavily on representation. It’s refreshing to see blackness be more widely accepted and not just commodified. We’re moving from a time of complete erasure to now being able to tell our stories ourselves, but the role of censorship is not to be overlooked. As a result of long standing race issues in this country, many of the gatekeepers of these platforms are white men, meaning that being aware of how much creative freedom you are given is key. Otherwise, we risk perpetuating an existing issue. So in short, if a black person is sharing their story, that is a time for understanding and not trying to water down their experiences, their truth.


Creativity is a means of expression. I encourage black people to continue to use their creativity as a vehicle to tell their stories. It is important to use our voices in order to continue to push along a positive narrative of who we really are and the role we play within society. And as allies you can begin to understand how your contribution begins with education and becoming familiar with all of history. From the minute you enter the world as a black person you are burdened with the job of constantly educating people on racial injustice. To be an ally means you must accept white privilege and begin to relinquish black people of the duty to educate you.


As freeing as it is to create and share stories, another important aspect is to make a conscious effort to pay attention to the stories you are being told. Acting as an active audience member is crucial. Digest them, unpick them, discuss them. Eagerly seek out the source of these stories and establish their wider context. Avoid just letting these stories evoke emotion, take it a step further and let them lead you to gaining a deeper understanding of how those stories have been informed by real life.


As I have already mentioned, storytelling is often incredibly personal and not every story will be one that resonates with you. But as you consciously seek to educate yourself you will no doubt begin to see how your own stories mesh with other people's. And how you can use collaboration not just in art, but also in everyday life to help amplify the voices that aren't given space and diminish the gap that our differences have created. 


As humans we all have a role to play in the continuation of a more accurate depiction of black people in society. And again whether you write, direct, research or anything in between it is within your power to tell your story. 


Lastly, storytelling informs our decisions to help us better play our individual roles. No matter who you are or what you do. There is something you can do to contribute positively to working towards genuine equality!



Being an individual who thrives on creativity, I understand how important it is in making sense of the world. But equally important are the facts.



Whether you're a reader or a movie lover there are so many resources to teach you all about the racism that continues to infiltrate society. The first step to create more positive and inclusive narratives is to hold ourselves accountable, to educate ourselves on race, and the injustices faced throughout society.

Black Lives Matter is a phrase that over the last several weeks has found itself on the lips and keyboards of large numbers of the population, more so than ever. However, it is not at all a new concept. Nor is the racial injustice that was behind its original creation. George Floyd was the African American man killed by the police during his arrest in Minneapolis on May 25th 2020. Since then black people and allies across the globe have raised their voices in solidarity, not just for the tragic killing of George, but for all the lives sacrificed previously in the name of racial equality. Racial equality that we are yet to see. 


The slave trade happened over 400 years ago and is the one part of black history that is widely recognised, however in modern society racism takes many shapes. It’s systematic; that means that it blends itself into sectors that impact every corner of black people's lives. The media, the justice system, education and healthcare are just a few examples.


Back in 2016 three black women; Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi established the Black Lives Matter movement in a bid to raise awareness of the incessant mistreatment of black people. That same year, I was still in university, and back then, I was eager to be everywhere and learn everything in order to prepare me for the leap between my studies and the working world. I knew I had to hit the ground running to stand a chance not only in the journalism world, but as a young black woman. 


Representation is a major stumbling block when it comes to issues of race. This repeated lack of representation is restricting to black people in society because it stifles our voices. In my own experience, what this looks and feels like mostly is erasure. “Representation in the fictional world signifies social existence; absence means symbolic annihilation”, rightly says George Gerbner, the founder of the Cultivation theory.


Pertaining to race specifically ‘symbolic annihilation’ plays out frequently and it often means the majority of society (white people) hold onto stereotypes of the minority. That leaves black people in an exhausting cycle of existing in a society that wasn't designed for our success whilst simultaneously does not wish to hear what we have to say about that. Black people's voices, and identities, in this country become heavily suppressed. 


In a recent IGTV, Akala (Black British journalist, activist and rapper) touched on the fact - to paraphrase - that this country has a liking to acting as if there are no racial separations, here. “I don’t see colour” is a phrase often used; at face value it seems like a statement of inclusivity. In actuality it dismisses the reality of how race impacts people. We just pretend it’s not a thing and that we all have the same experiences.


We each have our own stories, and having autonomy over them relies heavily on representation. It’s refreshing to see blackness be more widely accepted and not just commodified. We’re moving from a time of complete erasure to now being able to tell our stories ourselves, but the role of censorship is not to be overlooked. As a result of long standing race issues in this country, many of the gatekeepers of these platforms are white men, meaning that being aware of how much creative freedom you are given is key. Otherwise, we risk perpetuating an existing issue. So in short, if a black person is sharing their story, that is a time for understanding and not trying to water down their experiences, their truth.


Creativity is a means of expression. I encourage black people to continue to use their creativity as a vehicle to tell their stories. It is important to use our voices in order to continue to push along a positive narrative of who we really are and the role we play within society. And as allies you can begin to understand how your contribution begins with education and becoming familiar with all of history. From the minute you enter the world as a black person you are burdened with the job of constantly educating people on racial injustice. To be an ally means you must accept white privilege and begin to relinquish black people of the duty to educate you.


As freeing as it is to create and share stories, another important aspect is to make a conscious effort to pay attention to the stories you are being told. Acting as an active audience member is crucial. Digest them, unpick them, discuss them. Eagerly seek out the source of these stories and establish their wider context. Avoid just letting these stories evoke emotion, take it a step further and let them lead you to gaining a deeper understanding of how those stories have been informed by real life.


As I have already mentioned, storytelling is often incredibly personal and not every story will be one that resonates with you. But as you consciously seek to educate yourself you will no doubt begin to see how your own stories mesh with other people's. And how you can use collaboration not just in art, but also in everyday life to help amplify the voices that aren't given space and diminish the gap that our differences have created. 


As humans we all have a role to play in the continuation of a more accurate depiction of black people in society. And again whether you write, direct, research or anything in between it is within your power to tell your story. 


Lastly, storytelling informs our decisions to help us better play our individual roles. No matter who you are or what you do. There is something you can do to contribute positively to working towards genuine equality!



Being an individual who thrives on creativity, I understand how important it is in making sense of the world. But equally important are the facts.



Whether you're a reader or a movie lover there are so many resources to teach you all about the racism that continues to infiltrate society. The first step to create more positive and inclusive narratives is to hold ourselves accountable, to educate ourselves on race, and the injustices faced throughout society.

BOOKS

MOVIES

And finally, if you can, donate, sign and share - it can go a long way. Here are links to relevant charities and petitions (donating if you can, or signing and sharing petitions is great immediate help).

BLACK LIVES MATTER, TODAY AND ALWAYS.

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September 14, 2020
Rolling until further notice
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Help Musicians: Fusion Fund

How much can you get? £2,000-£5,000

For professional musicians to undertake UK-based projects that develop and test new work, ideas or potential career directions through inspiring periods of collaborative research and development. We want to highlight that in this round we welcome applications that will explore the above through the use of remote, digital or online collaboration tools or performance spaces. For example, the use of Skype rehearsals or live streamed performance.

Eligibility

• UK-resident

• In financial need

• Have an active career as a musician

• Also open to bands up to 6 people

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About Guest Writer, Danieka Lafayette

Denieka, or better known as Dee, is a British journalist (and singer), based in London. Beautifully using her voice to express her identity through different mediums, she eloquently tells her story and poignantly sparks conversations about the overlooked intricacies of everyday life. 

Dee has been a part of the SSSHAKE creative community from its beginning stages, and was featured in our Creators + Photographers series in 2017, previously known as the SSSHAKE Stories.


"When I was first introduced to the SSSHAKE team their mission of bringing people together through creativity was evident. In the following years their consistent inclusion of diverse individuals both in the immediate team and those who are externally welcomed into the SSSHAKE family stands testament to that."

Denieka Lafayette

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