Bocas Lit Fest

Your Local Arena’s Celebration of Black Britain: Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone (film)

Plus the authors from Penguin’s ‘Black Britain – Writing Back’ and new poems from today’s Black Britain.

Black Britain has been a long time in the making, created by many generations of people of African and Caribbean heritage living in Britain throughout the twentieth century. This special Your Local Arena, in partnership with Bocas LitFest in Trinidad, explores how literature and music have played a part in that — from books published in the 1930s, when most of the Caribbean considered itself British, up to the 1990s, when black authors born in the UK were being published, to the music of 2-Tone, where black and white musicians blended blue beat and ska from the 1960s with reggae, soul and punk from the 1970s. This cultural journey, criss-crossing the Atlantic over decades, has led to the rise of what we now celebrate as Black Britain.

From 8 – 13 March 2021, we screened the early BBC Arena film, Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone, which captures the start of the music genre in its hometown of Coventry in 1980. The accompanying film discussed the rise of Black British culture, featuring Judith Bryan, SI Martin, Mike Phillips, Jacqueline Roy and Nicola Williams, who are all published on 4 February in Penguin’s new ‘Black Britain – Writing Back’ series curated by Bernardine Evaristo, as well as Anthony Joseph, representing the legacy of CLR James. Read and listen to new poems by today’s rich mix of Black British poets: Malika Booker, Richard Georges, Keith Jarrett, Hannah Lowe, Maureen Roberts and Roger Robinson. Read the article on the history of Black British publishing by Roxy Harris and Sarah White of the George Padmore Institute, a London-based archive housing materials relating to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe. And listen to the London by Lockdown podcast by Craig Garret exploring the rise of Black Britain. Together, this Your Local Arena brings a fresh perspective on Black British culture.

The film screening has ended, but you can still read and listen to the 'Black Britain' collection below!

Click below to explore:

Your Local Arena is a Lucy Hannah & Speaking Volumes co-production 

featuring BBC Arena’s film archive.

This event is funded by Arts Council England and Hamish Hamilton, part of Penguin Random House.

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