Give Chris Kaba the Same Energy You’re Giving Queen Elizabeth II

Chris Kaba against a black background and a black and white picture of Queen Elizabeth against a white background. The image is outlined in yellow.

With the death of Chris Kaba drowned out by news of Queen Elizabeth II, we discuss the importance of and connections 

“It’s complicated”. That seems to be the phrase of the day. And it would seem that our reaction to Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, like with many things, needs to be approached with nuance. 

Although, personally, my feelings about the Queen passing are not complicated at all. I see the Queen as being representative of an institution responsible for the death and destruction of racialised peoples land and culture, and being of Sierra Leone, Liberian and Nigerian descent I cannot turn a blind eye to the harm that she has caused in the name of the monarchy, that would be ignoring my heritage, that would be ignoring the enslaved ancestors who fought for our freedom.

However, being a person who tries to move with compassion  I can understand why some people may feel the need to mourn. I can understand its complexity, because a seed was planted long ago that has led many to believe that the Queen had a God Given right to rule.

However, what I am struggling with is the lack of energy people are giving Chris Kaba, a man who was murdered at the hands of police in Streatham on 5th September 2022. Chris Kaba was a rapper, known as Madix or Mad itch and part of the MOBO nominated group 67. Kaba was due to be married in 5 months, and was expecting his first child. Chris Kaba was a person, someone's son, someone's brother, someone's friend, someone's fiancé,  someone's father and someone’s inspiration. He was someone we may have walked past once, or sat next to on the tube or on a bus. He was from our community, and someone whose life has now been stolen from his family and from this earth.

Chris Kaba didn’t die peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family like the Queen with the best hospital care money can buy, instead, he died after having been chased down by police who deliberately collided into his car on a residential street, proceeding to fire rounds of gun shots into Chris’s car. 

When I first heard of the news of Chris Kaba’s passing, I instinctively knew that he was unarmed, because that’s usually how the story goes: police chase and kill an unarmed Black man. And then the Metropolitan Police’s Public Relations teams get to work to try and mitigate the public's reaction. Just to make it absolutely clear, no firearms except for those used by Officers were found at the scene and the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) are investigating. This is the very same IOPC which is funded by The Home Office in grant aid, who also funds and are in charge of the Metropolitan Police. That doesn’t sound very independent does it? But that’s another story, for another time.

Chris Kaba’s family have called for an investigation into his murder. They have released a statement saying “We are devastated; we need answers and we need accountability. We are worried that if Chris had not been Black, he would have been arrested on Monday evening and not had his life cut short.”

His murder does not need to be approached with nuance. We know that murder is wrong, we know that Chris Kaba was innocent and we know that he has left a hole in the lives of people who know and love him. So why are the public not giving him the same energy as they are giving the Queen?

It’s simple, Black people are constantly reminded that our lives do not matter, and the monarchy reminded us of this whether it was Queen Elizabeth II never acknowledging the part the monarchy played in the enslavement of Black people, or the Queen’s banning of Black people working at Buckingham Palace, or the fact that she ignored the harm caused by Prince Phillip’s racist quips, we know that in this country, we are still viewed as ‘the other’ and ‘less than’. We witnessed the treatment of Megan Markle and we are witnessing it now in how people are white washing history and turning a blind eye to police brutality. 

Over the past 24 hours I have seen the same people who posted a Black Square in 2020, give their condolences to the Queen, which is hypocritical to say the least. I have seen these platforms and organisations acknowledge and mourn a person who presided over some of the worst events in history, trying to tell people how to grieve, but not for a single second have they mentioned Chris Kaba. These platforms and organisations have benefitted from Blackness when it has suited them, these are either people who suddenly had a wake up call in 2020, buckled to peer pressure after George Floyd, or people who can pick and choose to support the Black community when it’s palatable. 

Chris Kaba deserves the same energy we are giving the Queen, in fact, he deserves far more. Because unlike Queen Elizabeth, he was innocent, he was unarmed, he did not have wealth and power behind him, he was not responsible for the death and destruction of millions of lives. He was just a Black man on his way home. 

To support Chris Kaba’s family you can do the following:

  • Follow @ievault to support actions demanding #JusticeForChris 
  • Attend protests demanding #JusticeForChris, follow @collectiveactionldn for protest updates
  • Follow @4FrontProject who are posting actions and information around Chris Kaba
  • Amplify Chris Kaba’s story, by sharing information across your social media platforms and by talking to people about the incident

For people struggling with their mental health following the recent news of police brutality, you can access mental health resources on Spark & Co. here. For more urgent care please contact The Samaritans on 116 123.

This piece was written by Educator, Campaigner, Content Creator and Spark & Co.’s Brand and Engagement Lead, Zoe Daniels (They/Them). Find out more about them here