On Tuesday, Ngozi Fulani was the victim of a racist senior aide in Buckingham Palace. Fulani was attending Queen Camilla’s event for activists and advocates working in the field of gender-based violence, and Fulani is the CEO of Sistah Space, a domestic abuse charity focused on providing resources for Black women. Apparently, Fulani wasn’t even in the event for ten full minutes when Lady Susan Hussey approached her, touched her hair and began making a series of demeaning and offensive racist remarks, questioning Fulani’s citizenship and ethnicity. One of the more remarkable parts of the story is that when Fulani posted a transcript of her exchange with Hussey, Fulani was overwhelmingly believed. There were no “recollections may vary” arguments or gaslighting campaigns. Fulani described what happened and people were justifiably horrified, full stop.
Within hours of Fulani’s social media post, Susan Hussey had resigned and Buckingham Palace released a statement claiming that they contacted Fulani and invited her to come back and speak to them. That was a lie – they didn’t contact her, nor did they directly invite her back, nor did she receive a direct apology from Hussey or anyone else in the palace. Then Queen Camilla’s people had to eat sh-t and revise their statement to make it more vague about whether they had been in contact with Fulani (they still hadn’t been at that point). Meanwhile, Fulani was being contacted by multiple media outlets eager to give her a platform to tell her story. She spoke to the Independent about what went down and how she wishes Hussey hadn’t resigned.
Speaking exclusively to The Independent about her encounter, Ms Fulani said: “This is bigger than one individual. It’s institutional racism. What’s the lesson here? When I drove into the palace, the car was searched and we were searched as you would expect because they have to protect the household. But what protects us, Black people, from that treatment? This incident is unfortunate and shows that nothing has changed.”
Ms Fulani said Lady Hussey moved her dreadlocked hair out of the way of her name badge after arriving at the event, before asking questions about where she and “her people” were from. Posting what she said was a transcript of the conversation online, the prominent campaigner for survivors of domestic abuse described how Lady Hussey had subjected her to “relentless” questioning about her heritage.
“I was in shock after it happened and anybody who knows me, knows I don’t take this kind of nonsense,” wrote the Sistah Space founder. “But I had to consider so many things. As a Black person, I found myself in this place where I wanted to say something but what happened would automatically be seen as my fault, it would bring Sistah Space down. It would be ‘oh, she has a chip on their shoulder’. There are so many things to consider before you can even react to the pain of racism. Can you imagine? I’m just processing the incident.”
Ms Fulani added: “This woman was relentless and determined I am not British. I was thinking ‘what can I do here now?’ Nothing. ‘Who can I tell?’ No one.”
However, the charity boss did not welcome the news of Lady Hussey’s resignation – which she learnt about online – and said it was a missed opportunity for real lessons to be learnt within the palace.
“My nature is not that somebody of senior years should be vilified even though she did it to herself. I don’t want to be part of that. I’m old school. This is an elder and that’s not an excuse, but I’m thinking why don’t we just do something different such as pull her up, re-educate, demote her, keep her from public-facing roles? Having been in this position for decades, it’s horrible that she goes out like this because of ignorance and racism.”
Ms Fulani is calling for the royal household to implement anti-racism training of the kind that earned her an invitation to the palace in the first place. Ms Fulani said her organisation would be willing to oversee training at Buckingham Palace.
“It is that very training that got us the invitation in the first place. It is ironic, therefore, that the thing that we’re fighting to end was targeted at me. I was not the only one standing there, and certainly not the only one affected. And I’ll go as far as to [suggest that] even those who were not there must be affected by this.”
Wow, Ngozi Fulani fully gathered that crusty old racist bitch. “This is an elder and that’s not an excuse, but I’m thinking why don’t we just do something different such as pull her up, re-educate, demote her, keep her from public-facing roles?” That is one of the coldest suggestions ever and I love every word. Exactly, why does Lady Susan Hussey need to resign? She’s old, racist and evil, so what Fulani wants to do is single out her racist ass, make her sit through an in-depth inclusion training course, then demote her and say that she can’t ever participate in a public event again? LMAO!!!! Anyway, I love Ngozi Fulani and I hope Sistah Space gets tons of donations and funding out of this and I hope she nails the royal balls to the wall. It will be sooooo much worse for the Windsors if Fulani keeps coming at them with this energy: “y’all need diversity training, let me come in and do it for you, I’ll teach the class!”
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Sister Space’s social media.