Starting last season Lewis Hamilton has begun to bring the themes of the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racial discrimination directly to the starting grids of Formula 1. Last year, along with all his colleagues, the Englishman often wore a black T-shirt before the race which bore the name of the movement. During this championship, however, his pre-race t-shirts recited different messages from each other, always linked to the theme of respect and equality. Today, however, the seven-time world champion has revealed, through his social channels, that all those phrases ‘worn’ so far during the year are actually verses from a poem written by Hamilton himself together with the poet George Mpanga, better known with the his stage name ‘George the Poet’.
As the Mercedes driver explained directly via Instagram, the initiative – which lasts from the beginning of the year and will end at the end of the season – was announced on the occasion of the Black History Month. The ‘Black History Month’ is a recurrence observed in the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the latter country it develops precisely in the month of October. The goal is to celebrate the importance of people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Hamilton also explained that every shirt he wore this year before the races was designed by a different colored artist. The Stevenage rider also invited all his fans to continue following the development of this initiative in the next GPs. Below is the text of the poem reconstructed using the shirts worn by Hamilton so far.
When will we change?
It’s OK to listen
It’s OK to question our way of living
Racial inequality hides in plain sight
We breathe the same air, let’s fight the same fight
Let’s work together
Let’s go the distance
Let’s show compassion
Let’s show persistence
We are in control of our own existence
Build or destroy, we all know the difference
We’ve waited patiently to have this conversation
We are no longer waiting
We’re no longer waiting
In the name of justice we raise our voices
We learn, we grow, we make out choices
Let’s choose respect