FOR Joseph Malik – who was painted white when he was just five years old and beaten unconscious by police at the age of 14 – there is no black in the Scottish Saltire.

Even now that he is an award-winning musician with his music regularly played on BBC Radio 6, his records receive little airplay on Scotland-based stations.

After being abandoned as a baby by his white mother, he was brought up by his gran in Glasgow but became the target of racist attacks which included having a tin of white paint thrown over him when he was just a small boy.

Born in Glasgow in 1971, Malik had a Nigerian father and a Glaswegian mother who abandoned him in the hospital where he was born when she saw the colour of his skin.

Instead, his mother’s mother took him in, for which Malik says he is deeply grateful.

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“However, being Black in that era in Glasgow was very difficult as it was a racist and harsh time,” he told the Sunday National. “I am over it now I am in my fifties but my earliest memories are getting painted white and being beaten.”

He never lasted long in schools as he was constantly attacked and was even lifted by the police for no reason when he was 14, racially abused and beaten.

“There were four white, male police officers and one female who said: ‘Stop, you are killing him’,” Malik said. “I passed out and woke up in a police cell but my grandmother came and rescued me and I am deeply grateful I am still alive today. My gran was a very tough woman.

“I am scarred but you cannot be a victim your whole life. You have to overcome it and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Malik found solace in music, saving money from his paper round to buy records, and when hip hop arrived in Scotland, he felt he had discovered a natural home.

“Being part of hip hop meant I was part of something and made me realise it was okay to be my colour,” he said.

“I watched, listened and learned and at the end of the 80s I met Calvin Nuttal from Zulu Syndicate and formed Blackanized and that was the first-ever Scottish hip-hop group.”

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Blackanized was signed by the Stereo MC label and Malik was then signed by Rainer Trüby for his first solo album, singing songs about his childhood. In 2002, legendary German label Compost Records released a string of Malik singles and the albums Diverse and Aquarius Songs which received critical acclaim worldwide but little attention in Scotland.

Despite his success, the digital era left Malik, along with other musicians, struggling to make money.

It became so tough that Malik gave up music and became a chef but long hours in the kitchen took their toll.

“It broke me because I was doing 14-hour days and not seeing my family,” he said. “I turned to alcohol at the end of each shift and had a health breakdown, became mentally ill, bankrupt and homeless.”

Malik was at rock bottom but when contacts in the music industry heard of his plight, Jo Wallace of Ramrock Records signed him up. It took time but the resulting record, Diverse Part 2, was released to critical acclaim with full backing from Craig Charles on his BBC Radio 6 Music show.

Malik also began performing live again, forming a group based around long-time collaborators David Donnelly, Stevie Christie and Chris Greive. This “Easter Road Northern Soul Band” grew into the music collective Out Of The Ordinary – a hive mind of filmmakers, musicians and producers including Irvine Welsh, who wrote the liner notes for the album Stranger Things Have Happened.

Diverse Part 3, with a foreword by Sunday National columnist Stuart Cosgrove, was released as a response to the rise of Black Lives Matter and Malik has just released his new album, Proxima Ebony, to rave reviews.

However, Malik is doubtful it will get much airplay in Scotland.

“Diverse Part 3 won the Album Of The Year Award from Craig Charles on BBC 6 Music but it still hardly got any radio play in Scotland,” he pointed out.

“Why is my music getting played on BBC6 Music every single week yet I’ve received little support across Scottish radio with the exception of a few champions? Scotland is so far behind and still does not identify it has a Black population, in my opinion.

“Black people can contribute towards Scottish culture and music but there is no black in the Scottish Saltire. I still don’t think that Scotland identifies that there is a Black population here. There are some Black acts coming through and I am deeply proud of them – they are the future – but I was overlooked.

“I am the crazy guy in the corner they ignore. I don’t mind that because I have given up trying to prove myself. If you only think about trying to impress Scotland that will hold you back.”