Anu Shukla

I am a freelance multi-media journalist, newspaper reporter and documentary film researcher. 

Red Pepper Magazine

‘Reforming has done nothing. That’s why I’m an anarchist.’ An interview with Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah is still angry. The legendary novelist, actor, playwright, poet and musician has spent a career raging against the racist machine – and he’s not about to stop any time soon. As a young black man growing up in the 70s and 80s, he saw more than his share of police violence – and spent a stint in prison himself. Those experiences informed a body of work which pulls no punches in its critique of institutional racism. For Benjamin, success didn’t come easy. He left school at thirt
Red Pepper Magazine

Grenfell Tower: 'We have a history of turning tragedy into triumph'

Over a thousand people walked in silence through the driving rain on Valentine’s Day in solidarity with victims and survivors of Grenfell Tower. The date marked eight months since the high rise building near Latimer Road in north Kensington went up in flames, leaving at least 71 dead. Every month, the Grenfell community and its supporters march in silence to demand justice for those who perished in the fire on 14 June 2017.  Valentine’s Day marked the beginning of a new route for the march, whi
Bromsgrove Standard

World Book Day – The Standard speaks to renowned Birmingham poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

AHEAD of today’s World Book Day, The Standard’s Anu Shukla spoke exclusively to renowned Birmingham poet, author and musician Benjamin Zephaniah about the impact literature has had on his life and the importance of inspiring young readers and writers. Benjamin’s 2004 title Gangsta Rap has been relaunched because of its positive impact on young people and, widely read across UK schools, it also appeals to ‘troubled’ children who had a tough time fitting in. Benjamin was just 13 years old when h
Wolf Reporter

REVIEW: The Prodigy return to Wolverhampton Civic for the first time since 'Firestarter'

To see The Prodigy at Wolverhampton Civic Hall last Tuesday 19 December was no ordinary gig experience. The band made an epic return to the venue for the first time since October 1996 when they let rip with Firestarter. The place was rammed with 3000 (mostly) old school ravers who had snapped up tickets in less than 15 minutes. For many, this was a furious nod to the days of ye olde warehouse party. And by no means did the top quality sound and production output detract from the raw expletive-f
The Canary

Six months after the Grenfell Tower fire, Labour's Emma Dent Coad speaks out [EXCLUSIVE]

It’s been six months since a fire ripped through social housing block Grenfell Tower. Located in the West London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there is still little resolved for survivors of the tragic event or residents in the area. Emma Dent Coad was four days into her new role as a local Labour MP when she learned of the fire on 14 June. She talks to The Canary six months on from that day: Recalling the events of that morning, Dent Coad told The Canary: At the time, looking at the fir
The Canary

The Canary speaks to Labour rally crowds elated at prospects of a future Labour government [VIDEO]

The Canary joined a crowd of over 2000 people at a post-budget rally with Jeremy Corbyn. Rapturous applause, whistles and chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” filled the Bethel Convention Centre in West Bromwich as the Labour leader stepped onto the stage. We captured the response of those who travelled the length and breadth of the West Midlands and beyond to be there as they left, high on the prospects of a future Labour government: The place was packed to the rafters with teachers, activists, blue
Bromsgrove Standard

Welfare cuts hit hard as Rubery family gets evicted

A RUBERY family hit hard by the benefits cap were made officially homeless when they were evicted by a private landlord. Claire and Stephen Targgart and their four children moved to Burcot Lodge after bailiffs came to change the locks on Tuesday. The couple moved from Devon to Rubery to take care of elderly parents in 2013. Claire said at the time they paid just £80 per month rent but claims the benefits cap in March 2015 raised the rent to £200, and again to £220 by October 2015. “By July l
The Canary

Grenfell neighbours have told their council's new re-housing proposals are a 'failure' [VIDEO]

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) is drafting a rehousing policy; and it threatens [log-in required] to take away the rights of people with flats next to Grenfell Tower. 161 households from the Lancaster West Estate – also known as ‘the Walkways’ – have been staying in hotels since the disaster struck five months ago on 14 June. This includes some residents from Barandon Walk, Hurstway Walk and Testerton Walk. The policy says that they will no longer be ‘priority’ cases for re
The Canary

There’s more to Fallon’s resignation than meets the eye and this is why

People have accused Michael Fallon’s BBC interview and resignation statement of lacking remorse and smacking of victim blaming. The former defence secretary’s resignation means he will plummet to the position of backbench MP. It has emerged that Fallon was forced to quit partly due to ‘lewd comments’ he reportedly made to Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom. The decision follows a spate of allegations involving senior members of the Conservative government. It also follows Fallon’s a
The Canary

Mums stranded abroad are fighting for their kids, and there could be a turning point on the horizon

Countless parents – usually mothers – are reportedly ‘stuck‘ in foreign countries. And they are waiting with bated breath for the review of a law that can force them to live in exile or separated from their children. A petition to reform the Hague Child Abduction Convention will be handed to decision makers who will meet to discuss practical workings of the law from 10 to 17 October. The Hague Convention (HC) has an impact on families whose relationships break down after they move abroad. Chil
The Canary

Theresa May’s live interview about the Grenfell disaster makes for seriously uncomfortable listening [AUDIO]

Prime Minister Theresa May squirmed uncomfortably as she was belted with questions about Grenfell Tower on BBC Radio 4‘s Today programme, where she was speaking about a new report on ethnic inequality. On Tuesday 3 October, Today host Nick Robinson confronted Theresa May about the government’s failures over Grenfell Tower. This came after she spoke about her report into the treatment of ethnic minorities across UK public services like schools, hospitals and courts. May’s ‘racial disparity audi
Wolf Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: Wolverhampton could be the new home to Channel 4

Wolverhampton could be the new home to Channel 4, Labour MP Eleanor Smith has said. The MP for Wolverhampton South West has started a campaign to win the contract to be the new base for the broadcaster as she believes it would rejuvenate the area and attract young talent. During a talk to trainee journalists at City of Wolverhampton College last week the former nurse said: “I like to think big. “I will do everything I can to win the Channel 4 bid for the city. “Why not Wolverhampton? BBC we
The Canary

Shock election results spark fears of a Nazi rebirth in Germany [VIDEO]

The results of the German federal election are now in. And they’re not pretty. Largely because, for some, they point to a Nazi rebirth in the country. The openly xenophobic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has officially entered the Bundestag as its third biggest party. Taking 12.6% of the votes, and an expected 94 seats, the AfD is now the first far-right party to enter the German parliament since 1945. This appears to confirm fears of a Nazi rebirth. But the resurgence of the AfD itself is
The Canary

A Grenfell journalist has got a message for the mainstream media. And he's not messing about. [VIDEO]

Three months after the fire at Grenfell Tower, a journalist had some home truths to tell The Canary about the media, the political handling of the disaster – and the public inquiry which formally opened on 14 September. The Canary’s Anu Shukla and Sophia Akram spoke with Toyin Agbetu from Grenfell Media Watch (GMW) at the Hackney Carnival on Saturday 10 September after a one-minute silence for the victims, their families and the community. Agbetu recalled the moment he stood at the scene on th
The Canary

UK response to Hurricane Irma branded 'pathetic', as other rescue teams rush to help

The UK’s relief efforts in storm-hit Anguilla – a British overseas territory – have been brandished “pathetic” after the government sent an ageing ship that will take two weeks to reach the island. Former UK EU representative for the government of Anguilla, Dorothea Hodge, said on 6 September: It’s absolutely disgraceful that it has taken the whole day for Priti Patel to respond to the worst hurricane we have seen in a British territory since the 1920s. In comparison to the French president wh
Birmingham Press Club

And the Winner is……Or should that be Loser?

A journalist by day and festival connoisseur by night, I’ve often pondered the cross-pollination of independent reporting with alternative culture. So when Byline rocked up on a posh estate in Sussex last month, I was intrigued to say the least. Dedicated to supporting independent, investigative journalism through the crowdfunding model, the event is an off-shoot of Byline Media and the brainchild of Stephen Colegrave and writer Peter Jukes. “We created Byline Festival because we believe journ
Vive Le Rock Magazine


We raced down the M25 at breakneck speed. Tonight, an hour before he was due on stage, we’d nailed a date with Mr Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Killing Joke bassist Martin ‘Youth’ Glover was to lead the conversation. His contribution to the Scratch version of Golden Clouds with the Orb would no doubt get a mention. The place was rammed wall-to-wall as we struggled to walk through the doors of Surrey’s Boiler Room Club. We fought through the crowd, scrambled up a flight of stairs and found ourselves faci
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