UK Blak Symposium

Saturday, 22 January 2022

22-01-22 UK Blak

Image: Dread Beat and Blood, Franco Rossi, 1979

In the 1970s, an underground Black British sound emerged. Brought to Britain by the Windrush generation, it was the sound of reggae and dub, and it filled the clubs and ‘blues’ of West London and Brixton. Just as the phenomenon of ‘hip hop’ had seeped in from across the Atlantic via imports and radio in the early 80s, so the UK began to develop homegrown talent, with its own cross-pollination of sound and culture. Across London and Bristol, UK Black sounds emerged that combined dub with hip hop, emerging house music and nu-soul and gave rise to such well known artists as Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, the Cookie Crew, London Posse and Bomb the Bass. 


With techno thrown into the mix, the sound of jungle grew, with artists like LTJ Bukem and Goldie, and Bristol’s own Massive Attack and Tricky rising to prominence. As the decade developed, UK Garage emerged into the mainstream, with So Solid Crew’s distinctive sounds sowing the seeds for the world domination of grime.  


This afternoon’s documentary films and panel will act as a symposium of music, visuals and discussion around underground Black British music of the 80s and 90s. Linton Kwesi Johnston brings radical poetry and dub to an politically-engaged public, while the Def Jam touring show reveals how a hip hop revolution began in London, before jungle ruled the pirate airwaves. Plus a surprise screening – a rarely-screened film from 1989, following an iconic female soul singer and rapper as she prepares her debut album.  The panel includes author Arusa Quershi (Flip The Script), music consultant Lee Fairweather and filmmaker and author Jesse Bernard. There will also be a stall selling books and DVDs.


Saturday, 22 January 2022

14:30

Dread Beat and Blood

Dread Beat and Blood

Franco Rossi

44'

1979

United Kingdom

This vibrant portrait of dub poet and political activist Linton Kwesi Johnson transports us back to the turbulent streets of Brixton in the late 1970s. Jamaican-born Johnson explains with precise and powerful eloquence the violence and racism meted out to Black and Asian communities in London and beyond - and how his poetry acts as a weapon in the struggle for justice.

All Black: Jungle Fever

All Black: Jungle Fever

30'

1994

United Kingdom

Originally airing on BBC2 in 1994, this classic documentary charts the rise of jungle music in the UK with footage and interviews from the studios, the shops and the clubs.

Bad Meaning Good

Bad Meaning Good

n/a

31'

1987

United Kingdom

Bad Meaning Good is a BBC documentary originally aired on TV in 1987 and put together by Tim Westwood. The documentary provides an insight into how the culture emerged in London and who the key figures in the scene were The video features Pride, Daddy Speedo, Fly Boy Dee, MC Crazy Noddy, London Posse, Trevor Nelson, Sipho, Run DMC, DJ Fingers, Cookie Crew, Wee Papa Girl Rappers and more.