from The Guardian
The American academic and firebrand campaigner talks about Britain's deep trouble, fighting white supremacy and where Obama is going wrongActivist ... Cornel West is arrested during a protest against policing methods in Harlem in 2011. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/AP
His tour ends in London, where even a man who looks like Cornel West can be anonymous if he needs to. But he didn't come to hide his light and so, after dinner at the high table at King's, he takes his encore in the studios of BBC Newsnight. Sitting with Gavin Esler, Obama's image dwarfs them both on a screen in the background. But West stands out here, as he stood out at Cambridge; as Esler frames the questions, he rocks back and forth, eyes narrowed, head nodding. One who had not seen it all before might be alarmed. But this is merely West in the zone, as sportspeople call it. Ready to go "deep". Primed for something "rich". The questions and answers are familiar to anyone who has seen him, as is the appearance: whip-sharp suit, watch and chain, the shock of steel-flecked hair; but what strikes is how he narrows the space between himself and his interlocutor. Esler becomes "my brother Gavin" and as the credits roll West grips the presenter's hand. The two chat, as if they had spent the previous hour over drinks and dinner. We don't get to see, but no doubt the encounter ended with a hug.