I was reminded of all this tonight watching the beginning of a Darcus Howe season on More 4. Of course, subsequent to his interview with the Village Voice, Howe became a conspicuous filmmaker and presenter for Channel 4: first through the scholarly Bandung Productions, then as host/interrogator on the volatile Devil's Advocate. In 2000 he fronted a series called White Tribe, travelling well clear of London to investigate English identity: I recall him standing outside St James's Park, shaking his head over the pasty-facedness of the Toon Army, branding Newcastle (reasonably) 'the whitest of cities' and musing (rather more naively) that the natives 'were not English at all, they were Geordies. Their loyalty was to their team and to their city. England for them was another country.' (Precisely, and you need to have come lately to the question of English identity to imagine otherwise.)
Howe has since made films about racial hostilities between England's black and Asian populations; about his concerns for the children he's had by various women; and now about his struggle with prostate cancer - though this one, the kick-start for the new More 4 season, is somewhat unhelpfully coloured in the now-standard Jon Ronson manner by the presence of its director Krishnendu Majumdar, with whom Howe has worked previously.
In short, surveying this retrospective of the ‘charismatic black activist’ it's easy to see a story of Channel 4's gradual shift in interests from the polemical to the awkwardly personal - also, more reasonably, a familiar tale of the ageing process, that slow masterwork of Time, the Enemy.
The photo of Howe above is by and (c) Richard Ansett.