Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Black Drop with Linton Kwesi Johnson

12 October 08 words: Chandran Owen
With the authority of someone who has been there, he took us on a journey from the heroic Windrush generation through his rebel generation of the 1970’s

Blackdrop is a vibrant Nottingham community of spoken word artists. To celebrate their fifth anniversary they held a special event at Jongleurs Club on Monday 6 October with the legendary poet Linton Kwesi Johnson as the feature performer.

His clothes were impeccable, his timing great and the words full of emotion and majesty. It was the start of the African History Season and the National Poetry Week and so appropriate to have this literary giant tread our floors and share his history with us.

With the authority of someone who has been there, he took us on a journey from the heroic Windrush generation through his rebel generation of the 1970’s, up to the generation who are finding their voice today. He captivated us with stories of stones, broken glass and war on the streets. He reminded us of the sad story of the Newcross fire in 1981 and the police use of the infamous ‘sus law’ which blighted the lives of so many black people in the 1980s. The ‘sus law’ referred to piece of Victorian law, which was resurrected to allow the police to arrest anyone on suspicion that they intended to commit a crime against a person or persons unknown.

His rhythm and rhyme running sing songs of calypso and black Moses heralded his reputation as a top notch dub poet of our time. He carried us with care and emotion through the momentous lives black people have lived in the last half-century in this land. Everyone listened in pin drop silence to his repertoire of language expressing a new word order.

And finally when he said that poetry like medicine should be taken in small doses, the audience gave a standing ovation to bring him back to deliver a love poem of hurricane blues to lift our hearts.

His performance was preceded and supported by Nottingham artists: Milla, Popx, CJ, Mr Jones, Mark Iruyenama, and Michelle ‘Mother’ Hubbard. Blackdrop meets every first Monday of the month, upstairs at the Canalhouse bar at 8pm.

Each month a feature artist performs alongside a lively open mic slot for spoken word artists, poets, singers and musicians.

As Michelle ‘Mother’ Hubbard put it: “A black poet is for a lifetime not just for Black history month.” See you there next month if you like the sound of music and words.

Black Drop's Fifth Birthday took place at Jongleurs on Monday 6 October 2008

 

 


 

We have a favour to ask…

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion now