Online Programme: Celebrating 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 the Bocas Lit Fest 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.

Below you will find direct links to each pre-recorded offering of this online programme:

Arena Film: Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone (1980)
Enjoy this 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.

Your Local Arena: A Response to Arena and the Rise of Black Britain

Judith Bryan, Anthony Joseph, SI Martin, Mike Phillips, Jacqueline Roy and Nicola Williams respond to the Arena film through their own experiences of and novels about building Black Britain.

New Poetry from Today’s Britain

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.

London by Lockdown: A Travel Podcast

Listen to the latest episode, “Drawing a Better Map”, which explores the rise of Black Britain and celebrates diverse and brilliant Black British voices. Listen to London by Lockdown on all major podcast platforms.

A Short History of Black British Publishing

“The Roots of Independent Black British Publishing”, by Roxy Harris & Sarah White.

Above adapted from Bocas Lit Fest – Celebrating Black Britain.