Marking Windrush Day 2020

18 June 2020

On the 22 June 1948, the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, bringing 492 people from the Caribbean to assist Britain with post-war reconstruction. The iconic images of the young men, women and children coming off the boat is what we often associate with Windrush, but behind these images are stories of a community, many of whom came to Brent, becoming part of the fabric of the borough with leaving a lasting legacy on the culture, fashion and music of Britain.

The Windrush community has made an impact on many industries, particularly playing an instrumental role in building transport and the NHS, with many in key frontline roles which has been highlighted in the current coronavirus pandemic. Alongside these crucial areas, the Windrush generation brought us carnival and music, with reggae making its home in Brent!

Our No Bass Like Home programme celebrates the boroughs contribution to reggae and black British music in the UK, through a digital reggae archive, created with the community. Brent 2020 has been capturing the iconic people and places instrumental in shaping the borough's rich reggae history. Many of these oral histories feature pioneering artists from the Windrush era, who arrived in Brent from the mid-60s. Throughout the week, we will be highlighting some of these interviews, from undisputed reggae pioneer, Anthony 'Chips' Richards, to Clem Bushay whose earliest reggae productions surfaced through Trojan Records.

On Monday 22 June at 1pm, join Reggae Choir for an online reggae sing-a-long. Sing in, or out of tune, to 'Enjoy Yourself' by Prince Buster & 'My Boy Lollipop' by Millie Smalls. Join the Facebook event here.

In light of the current climate, it is more important than ever that we recognise the contribution that the Black British community has made to Britain and we continue to support the black community in the fight against inequality and racism.

Zerritha Brown, Brent 2020 Senior Producer

Image: Brent Museum and Archive, Windrush 70 West Indian Front Room installation