Even before the outbreak of Covid 19, it felt like we were living in fast moving times, in these days of uncertainty and of unrest I have found that taking a longer view, and reading about related historical events to unfolding situations can provide a clarifying perspective more useful than trying to engage bleary eyed with the turbulent moment.
Considering recent events in the United States of America, and the conversations they provoked worldwide, with this perspective offered little clarity. Taking a longer view only showed us that for some people in our societies the turbulence has been unrelenting. The truth is that there was no moment; just the world we live in laid out in front of us to see for once. We live in fast moving times, but some things have been allowed to drift into backwaters, and have grown deep roots there.
Changing society is not easy, and the deep exploration of ourselves that could be needed is a life’s work. This work needs to start now, we can not take comfort in progress – the acknowledgement of work to be done is the acknowledgement that we ask some people to suffer discrimination as we do this work.
I put this show together as I started this conversation and exploration, and so a lot of the content and music is a direct reflection of this. I felt these events were not those that could be overlooked – however, my voice is not one that needs to be heard right now, and I assume the Threads audience is also well aware of what has happened recently. By sharing some voices that I think do offer something important and pertinent I hope to have (within the limitations of this radio show) contributed something useful to someone – the sources of the samples on the show are shared below.
John Coltrane – Alabama
Moor Mother – Waiting Time / Wading Time
Beverly Copeland – Good Morning Blues
Heroes Are Gang Leaders – London Butterfield
Matthew Bourne – Dave Black
Pink Siifu – We Need Mo Color. Abundance
Celer – Laughing Waters
Krzyzis – Ain’t No Grey Skies at Night
Reggae George – Three Wicked Men (Version)
Love Joy’s – All I Can Say
Love Joy’s – All I Can Say (Version)
Quelle Chris & Chris Keys – Mirage (feat. Earl Sweatshirt, Denmark Vessey, Merrill Garbus & Big Sen)
Moor Mother – Sound Is Fossil Poetry
Kami-O – Aura (Argo Remix)
Ago – Blur
Commodo – Contraband
Logan – Black Power
Logan – All Together
Antconstantino – Éok
Jynxstarr – Chaos Theory Instrumental
Sporting Life – Please Just Be
LyeForm – Waking Life
Actress – Raven
Ikonika – Your Body
Manga Saint Hilare & Murkage Dave – Weird Kid In The Ends (Mike Skinner Demo)
Digital Mystikz – Anti War Dub
Kendrick Lamar – Alright
Reverend Jesse Jackson meets with elected officials and faith leaders in Minneapolis, and holds news conference on the death of George Floyd.
As well as looking historically to find some perspective or understanding, I also find that listening to voices I do not usually listen to can be useful. I am not religious, but much of what I heard seemed to speak so clearly about how people were feeling in those days in late May.
“Rev. Jesse Jackson has not left his home for 70 days and he came to 38th and Chicago”
Audio from this Tweet recorded by someone who has connected with me over the years I have been doing radio felt an important inclusion.
Darcus Howe on London civil unrest in 2011
I have used audio from Darcus Howe before on this show, his unique voice spoke with clear truth on these issues in the UK for decades.
This short documentary of the landmark Mangrove Nine case in 1970 is uncomfortable but essential.
Denzil Forrester on Talk Art
I was introduced to the art of Denzil Forrester last year at a Jah Shaka event I when I saw him sketching in the gallery at Subterania. After the event I found more about his art (which it turns out I had already seen many times at Brixton Underground Station). As I began to think about police brutality in the UK recently – some of the stories he told on this podcast about his experiences and influences came very much to the fore.
Marcia Rigg speaks about Sean Riggs death in police custody.
As I thought about the story Denzil Forrester tells of the tragic killing of Winston Rose – I was startled into considering the unpleasant similarities in Macia’s account of Sean Rigg’s killing.
Akala speaks about education
As much as we must address things that need immediate attention, the work of making these changes consensual, wilful and lasting requires us to educate the next generation better. How we consider, frame history, who’s stories we tell and the perspective we think of them from are things we should all think about. Akala put forward some insightful thoughts about this, along with so many others in this essential conversation.
John Boyega in Hyde Park
The passion of John Boyega addressing the crowd at a Black Lives Matter protest in London, which I am sure many have already seen speaks for itself.
I have been mesmerised by his music, which I have discovered far too late, but it has been a real source of light and beauty in recent times. It was sad to read about the financial situation he currently faces. Donations in support can be made here – or of course buying music is another great way to get money to an artist.