Black Lives Matter in London, June 2020: Patrick Hutchinson, Instant Celebrity, and Changing Discourses of Race and Class in British Media

Jude Davies

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Registering the apparent popular success of the Black Lives Matter movement in the spring and summer of 2020, this essay investigates how and how far BLM’s critique of racist institutions and demands for the full recognition of black subjectivity penetrated mainstream British media.It focuses on the mediation of Patrick Hutchinson, a black personal trainer propelled into instant celebrity in the wake of counter-protests against Black Lives Matter in London, in June 2020. Hutchinson was hailed as a ‘[black] national hero’ after being shown rescuing a white counter-protester, but in ways that initially recuperated BLM for a white-centred cultural politics. First, Hutchinson’s heroism was often presented in terms of his assumed transcendence of or disaffiliation from racial identity. Second, in the context of media representations of the right-wing backlash against BLM, Hutchinson’s heroism was part of a wider discourse of race, class and masculinity, in which he was contrasted with Bryn Male (his rescuee) and Andrew Banks, a couple of abject figures identified with white working-class masculinity. The public shaming of Male and Banks constituted only a strategic withdrawal of white privilege, leaving white-centred judicial, policing, and political institutions unchallenged.In the longer term however Hutchinson and his associates have been able to foreground the centrality of black political traditions and identities to civil society. Starting with interviews with UK television’s Channel Four News, subsequently widely disseminated across different media, Hutchinson has been able to parlay his instant celebrity into a multifaceted activism that penetrates outside the celebrity spectacle into cultural, political, and educational spheres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2022


  • Black Lives Matter
  • Patrick Hutchinson
  • activism
  • celebrity
  • class
  • masculinity
  • news media
  • race

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