Prince William Knows One Black Man So He Can't Be Racist, Obvs

by Erica Gerald Mason
Isabel Infantes - WPA Pool/Getty Images

A photo of the future King of England embracing a Black man shows he can’t be racist, you guys

After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat for an interview with Oprah Winfrey, discussions about race and the British Royal Family peppered the news. The Firm, never one to be especially media savvy, waited a few days before issuing a short, yet terse, reply. On his first public appearance after The Interview Of The Century, Prince William told a reporter that the Windsors are very much ‘not a racist family.’

The world waited to see if the heir to the throne’s words would be the last on the subject. And they weren’t. First it was the interaction of Prince Charles with a person of Nigerian descent. The one where the first in line to throne smiled and said there were many ethnicities in Nigeria. Then the totally impromptu Mother’s Day cards to ‘Granny Diana’. People of the Internet, the palace offers the world undeniable proof of diversity within the House of Windsor:

Prince William has a Black friend, y’all.

The prince’s apparent BBF was interviewed by the British newspaper The Telegraph about his totally real, totally two-sided friendship with William.

It’s not my intention to call Seyi Obakin Prince William’s Black friend. Mr. Obakin is the Chief Executive of Centrepoint, an organization which helps young people by working against homelessness in England. He was born and raised in Nigeria, and has been CEO of Centrepoint since 2009.

None of that matters, though. Prince William and his staff want us to know that Obakin is the Prince’s friend. That they met through a charity of which the Prince is a patron is not the point. Speaking with the warmth of a man asked to do something by his boss outside of his job description, Obakin says “I have worked with [Prince William] in close proximity for years. He has met my family.”

No word if Prince William extended the same courtesy to his close friend and colleague Obakin. Has the man been to Norfolk to dinner? Has he attended any of the Cambridge kids’ birthday parties? Or is William chatty and professional to him when they work together, so much that they have a very cordial working relationship? Hmmmm?

Any person of color recognizes this for what it is: using a Black friend of questionable closeness as a shield against any accusations of racism.

It’s gross when your Aunt Sarah does it. It’s gross when your neighbor Ted from down the street does it. And it’s super gross when a prince who has actually been the recipient and benefactor of centuries of colonialism and looting of resources (both on a human and environmental level) decides to throw up their hands and have a conversation about the monarchy’s history of race.

Part of decrying racism is not making your friends do the heavy lifting. It’s understandable. No one wants to be called out. Prince William, desperately need someone to tell them to own it. Own that the Crown Jewels once belonged to other countries. And that India might want their diamond back. Own that the centuries-old British monarchy is attempting to find its place in a modern world, but they’re committed to doing the work.

And maybe, own who asked about the possible brown-ness of Archie?

The way Wills has been the hero in recent stories has raised a few eyebrows. No one talks to the press in support of the Cambridges without the support of Kensington Palace. No one. Especially not one of William’s patronages.

Is… he trying to prove something?

Is he trying to give the world the razzle-dazzle treatment to distract us from the fact that… he might have been the one to ask about the possibility of a dark-skinned child in the royal family? Everyone assumed it was Prince Charles who raised the question. But what if it was William?

We don’t know, of course. We might never discover who said such a skeevy thing. But wow.

If William wants to put this narrative of being racist behind him, then this is not the way to do it.

How do you tell the future King of England no? Harry used to be the one to do it. Maybe William’s Black friend can tell him at the next cookout.