Unless you have been living under a rock over the last week you will know that the Royal Wedding happened. Now, the Royals have a lot of faults, and can easily be criticised for many things, yet this wedding was an important milestone in their history, and in the fight for equality. Yes, Harry married a divorcee and a commoner, but more importantly he married a black woman. A black woman, whose culture and community was embraced during the wedding, and this would never have happened twenty years ago.
Now, I love Meghan Markle and I realised long before their wedding that her marrying into the Royal Family was a big important moment for the black community, but it wasn’t until I was watching the coverage that I realised just how monumental this moment was. My delayed realisation is probably because I’m not black, and I can in no way fully understand the stigma and racism that the black community goes under on a day to day basis. The wedding had the potential to ignore Markle’s heritage, to white wash the whole affair, but it didn’t; instead it embraced and shone a light on her community, their talents and culture. It was the moment when the gospel choir sung, unprecedented at a royal wedding, that I truly realised how important this wedding was for equality.
You may not like the royal family, and that is fine, but look at the bigger picture. For a young BAME American sat watching the wedding, they did not see the white washing that they see normally. Instead they saw inclusiveness and acceptance by a rich, white family who is known all around the world; they saw that their race did not have to be a hindrance. Of course, as Doreen Lawrence said, we still have a long way to go, because if your race is still a big deal then full equality is not present yet. However, on Saturday 19th May 2018, I realised that progress had been made because for little boys and girls around the world – they were seeing their race be accepted and celebrated.
Bishop Michael Curry quoted Martin Luther King during his wedding sermon, and that for me was when the penny dropped. Yes we still have a long way to go in terms of equality, however, Martin Luther King dreamt of a time when white schoolchildren and black schoolchildren could play in a playground together peacefully; and yesterday we saw a multiracial couple marry, and be celebrated by the Royal Family and wider world. We saw a black community be raised up and celebrated, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on such a big scale.
In the time of Trump, UKIP, Katie Hopkins and more it is encouraging to see hope of equality, when all you seem to see is despair and segregation. Even if you don’t like the Royal Family, you have to admit that yesterday we saw a change from an institution who would never allowed a black American Divorcee to marry into the family fifty years ago, to an institution who celebrated equality and different cultures.
Yes the wedding was different to previous royal occasions, but firstly, it represented them as a couple, and secondly celebrated a community which does not get celebrated enough.
Photo Credit: USA Today.