Back in the late 70s and early 80s, two genres of political music came together – punk and reggae. Starting out with punk in ’77, I was introduced to what I believe was the high tide of reggae through the likes of Don Letts, The Clash, Mikey Dread, John Lydon. At that time there was an overt racism in the UK; when seeing The Stranglers, the support act was the Birmingham reggae band Steel Pulse. When they took to the stage large groups of the crowd began singing, ‘Gimme a Banana’.
But despite this, artists such as Burning Spear, Culture, Gregory Isaacs, Black Uhuru, Prince Far I, Big Youth, raised the consciousness of many punks about black history. Linton Kwesi Johnson in particular spoke about the discrimination faced by black people in the UK and wrote a poem about Walter Rodney. (more…)