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29 Jul, 2021 07:00

Secretive black vigilante group Forever Family are now patrolling London’s streets in stab vests. Who exactly are they?

Secretive black vigilante group Forever Family are now patrolling London’s streets in stab vests. Who exactly are they?

Racial tensions in the UK are unlikely to be eased by the sight of the Forever Family Force patrolling the streets of the capital in military formation. What do we know about this sinister, confrontational group?

One of the most jarring images as the Black Lives Matter movement swept the UK last summer was that of Forever Family

To the general public, the group appeared from nowhere. They came to prominence on Afrikan Emancipation Day (August 1) as they marched in military-style uniforms in formation through Brixton, south London.

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Most wore stab vests, many faces were covered by balaclavas, and their presence was aggressive and uncompromising.

Since then, the group have remained out of the headlines, but in the past few months they’ve returned. Videos show gatherings of members standing in formation with raised fists, while being followed by others riding motorbikes. 

And the latest edition of their newsletter states they have started a controversial national initiative, the People’s Patrol. It describes how the patrol aligned with a surge in media reports of attempted child abductions in London. At the time, the Metropolitan Police said this was internet speculation and that there was no reason to believe abductions are a growing problem. 

However, the Forever Family Force seemingly patrolled the streets, interacting with children without parental consent, with their newsletter stating: “FF Force spent time overseeing children making their way to school alone in the morning and spoke to parents and carers about key issues affecting their neighbourhoods.” It also admitted they “gathered intelligence on areas,” and therewere pictures of children in school uniform as Forever Family “handed out over 300 Nike, Puma and New Balance backpacks and sports bags.” 

Alongside this, the group released a social media post: ‘Train With Us, Patrol With Us, Join The Family’. Member Jay Kast informed people on Instagram and Twitter to contact him for training camp dates, times and locations. It’s unclear what this ‘training’ involves.

Another FF document states they expressed to young people “the benefit of having basic self-defence and first aid skills.” This suggests that the group expects young people to encounter violence. 

In an attempt to clarify their objectives, Forever Family were repeatedly invited to speak to RT.com but refused, with an unnamed member replying, We are not currently partaking in interviews. I cannot go into reasons why.” This directly contradicted their newsletter which states, Forever Family is always happy to engage with journalists and media representatives who report factually and without prejudice.”

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It’s impossible to know how many members they have, but what we do report is that they have been registered as a legal company, Forever Family Ltd, with the British tax authorities. The sole director is Khari McKenzie and the secretary is Rachelle Emanuel. McKenzie is better known as Raspect Rebellion and appears to be Forever Family’s leader. He can be seen in videos shouting ‘touch one’ as others chant back in unison ‘touch all’. 

Last month, McKenzie delivered a speech in Birmingham, outside the family home of Dea-John Reid, a 14-year old who was stabbed to death. He said, “This is a warning… if any more of our little brothers, even a hair on their head is touched, I’m telling you, you’re going to see more than 100 bikes, more than 1,000 people as we’re not having our little brothers brutalised like this.”

After warning against violence within the black community, he added, “To have racist people be murdering our brothers on these roads, we’re not going to have it, fact, and I’ll die on that. And there’s a 1,000 man in Brum that will die on that, a 1,000 man in London, a 1,000 man in Manchester and a 1,000 man in Nottingham...you better know what time it is.” The tone of McKenzie’s speech is in keeping with Forever Family’s confrontational image. 

What many people will wonder is why a city like London needs a group of angry and aggressive vigilantes – who don’t seem to want to explain their actions to the media – patrolling the streets? 

Forever Family may have good intentions to act on behalf of a community, but they have no legal right to do so. Clearly the rise of BLM highlighted massive divisions, but Forever Family seem to be treating the problems as binary: us against the rest of the world. 

What appears to be clear from what little we do know about Forever Family is that they are a wholly uncompromising outfit. But the questions remain: if they wish to help their community, then why are they dressed like a militia? Why the secrecy about who they are? And why won’t they talk openly to the media if they have nothing to hide? 

All their messaging suggests they are adamant about knowing the best way forward in London and other parts of the UK, with the group now having a presence in Scotland.

But this combative attitude will likely bring problems. If Forever Family continue their patrols, it’s surely only a matter of time before a rival organisation forms to oppose them. 

While there is nothing wrong with creating an initiative to help a community, patrolling the streets in military formation is unnecessary. Londoners have the police to ensure law and order; there is no widespread desire for what appears to be a vigilante group. 

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They have appointed themselves as guardians and leaders, but they have not been asked to step up. And while their desire for change may well be genuine, there is something odd in that several members, including McKenzie, have PayPal links on their social media, to apparently solicit donations. Where the money goes or what it is used for is unclear, with the group unwilling to speak to RT. 

Britain and London has many problems but it’s hard to see any being solved by Forever Family. They are only going to create more. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.