A Media Note on the “Forever Family Force”

From Mail Online:

‘A paramilitary-style force marching in the streets’: Hundreds of protesters from coalition of groups branded ‘terrifying’ by Nigel Farage as they walk through London – with one confronting officers yelling ‘F*** the police’

Former MEP Nigel Farage blasted today’s Afrikan Emancipation Day march through London, describing the event as ‘divisive’ as protesters dressed in paramilitary-style clothing took part in the event.

…The coalition of action groups – led by Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide and the Afrikan Emancipation Day reparations march committee – took the drastic action to ‘make themselves heard’ in a bid for reparations from the UK government.

…Among the groups of people marching were one group, dressed in black and equipped with what appeared to be anti-stab vests. One protester was wearing a balaclava, while another, angrily confronted police officers telling them to f*** off.

It doesn’t seem that the Mail journalist was present: most the article is made up from agency photos, a bland police statement (“The gatherings today have been largely peaceful”), some details from social media videos, and material cribbed from the Press Association without credit (e.g. a quote from “Antoinette Harrison, who lives in nearby Clapham” and who “attended the event to march with her cousin and her cousin’s children”). Presumably it was decided that Nigel Farage was a familiar name who would hook Mail readers and generate a sense of controversy and alarm, which is why the story starts so lazily with his fulminations as expressed on Twitter. The event took place in Brixton, so it’s a stretch to call it “a march through London”.

Photos show that the group in anti-stab vests were present under the corporate name “FF Force”. This group also calls itself “Forever Family Force” or “Forever Family Fund” – an enigmatic website for the group with little content but containing links to some social media platforms was registered last month, and a company called “Forever Family Ltd” was registered the next day. Certainly, the group made for some striking imagery, but although the Mail headline virtually conflates them with all of the protesters it’s not clear how representative they were of the event as a whole. There are images from the event where they are not visible.

The group’s presence may have been amplified due to the fact that the wider event was not a march, although it has been in previous years. According to the LBC write-up:

The group that organises the event each year – the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee – claims this year’s march will be different, calling it a ‘Rebellion Groundings’ instead of a march.

…Esther Stanford-Xosei, spokesperson for the Committee, wrote in a blog: “This year will be different. We are instead organising the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Rebellion Groundings, which will take the form of a Brixton Road lock-down.

However, FF Force was part of a march in Brixton to the event, rather than as part of it. A caption from a photography agency (Alamy Live News) carried by the Telegraph makes this clear, stating that “Black Lives Matter march from Clapham Common (led by Iman, the Forever Family Force and the Slow Boys, on motorbikes) to join the Stop the Maangamizi: Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Rebellion.” The Mail, though, shortens this to “The march was led by Iman, the Forever Family Force and the Slow Boys, on motorbikes as it made its way through Brixton”. Read alongside the Mail headline, this gives the impression that the event as whole was march, and that FF Force had a leadership role. (1)

The event was also noted by the Sun, which stated:

This afternoon, hundreds of people joined a demonstration in Brixton’s Windrush Square and Max Roach Park.

A short distance away, another group observed speeches before a three-minute silence was held to mark Afrikan Emancipation Day.

It’s not clear who this other group is; my instinct is that this is a reference to FF Force, but as with the Mail article the overall write-up and photos present the group as characteristic of the event as a whole.

UPDATE: The information vacuum on social media has naturally inspired all kinds of confident speculation on social media. Thus on Twitter, it variously claimed that the group is either Black supremacist or identitarian, or has been created to enforce Shariah law. It is also suggested its look might be modelled on a Black American militia called the NFAC (Not Fucking Around Coalition). There is also aggrieved commentary that the police have not acted against the group while far-right white organisations face suppression.

UPDATE 2: The Times has profiled the group:

The director of Forever Family, which was incorporated on June 20, is Khari McKenzie, 28, a rapper who preforms under the stage name Raspect… Mr McKenzie has also been a member of G.A.N.G, a group that would respond to incidents of gang violence by going to the area dressed in stab vests and using a loudhailer to encourage residents to come out on to the street to “reclaim the space” for the community.

The article adds that the group

posted a video on Instagram stating that its purpose was to “mobilise, organise and centralise community initiatives.

“We are forever family united in building a self-sufficient and stable community.

“We value the safety of our senior and junior generation. Their voices will be the motivation in what we stand for.”

We’re also told that neither McKenzie nor Rachelle Emanuel, who is the Forever Family secretary, “responded to a request for comment”.


1. It’s not clear who or what “Iman” is here, but I doubt that it’s a reference to the famous fashion model of that name who is David Bowie’s widow.