I Saw Akala Speak Live — Here’s What I Learned

Well-spoken, well-researched and highly eloquent

Hana Makhlouf
3 min readOct 31, 2022


Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (image source)

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a talk by Akala at work. This was part of a series of events organised for Black History Month.

For context, I read Natives (a book by Akala) about 2 years ago. This was my introduction to Black British history and gave me the foundation I needed to read and educate myself more about a big part of the history of the country I now live in.

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire is a part memoir, part analysis of the interaction (and intersection) between race and class in Britain. The talk I attended was a conversation about race and class in Britain. There was no specific focus on a sub-topic as it was a shorter talk to allow for Q&A.

I have included a few Twitter threads with some enlightening statistics that Akala quoted in his interview. I would really encourage you to take a few minutes to read them.

Some of the main talking points covered below include:

  • How does media contribute to perceptions of race and class?
  • How does class impact people in comparison to race?
  • What can those in the audience (largely in privileged positions) do to help?

Here are a few takeaways:

How does the media contribute to the perceptions of race and class?

Akala spoke on a variety of topics under the umbrella of the media’s negative portrayal of black people.

The thread below, focusing on ‘black-on-black’ violence, is very informative. This covers the main points Akala mentioned in his talk.

He also provided examples of how ‘white-on-white’ violence is never labelled by colour. However, there is always an attempt to racialise crime when committed by black people.

How does class impact people in…



Hana Makhlouf

Software engineer by day. Passionate about everything tech, reading and self-development👩🏽‍💻