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Rock Against Racism: How Music And Culture Can Build Unity (Dave Randall)
Mon 5 June 2017, 18:30 – 20:30 BST
Harrow BHM Group/Akoben Awards in association with RE:IMI (Race Equality: In Music Industry)/BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress present: Rock Against Racism: How Music And Culture Can Build Unity (Dave Randall)
Dave is a left-leaning musician with Faithless and Slovo and author of 'Sound System – The Political Power Of Music' (Pluto Press 2017). He tells the history of the Rock Against Racism (RAR) movement - in the 1970s, the left was faced with a rising far right in the shape of the National Front. After Eric Clapton made comments praising Enoch Powell, a new initiative was launched using rock, punk, reggae and pop artists to bring together people from diverse communities to fight racism. Rock Against Racism proved key in beating back the fascist tide. Four decades on, we now face a post-Brexist racist surge and a new need to build movements that can counter racist bigotry. Dave highlights what part music and culture can play in this fight.For more details on Rock Against Racism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Against_Racism
NOTE: Monday March 27 2017, 6.30-8.30pm: Sound System – The Political Power of Music (Dave Randall). For more info or to book, click here.
Rock Against Racism (RAR) was a campaign set up in the United Kingdom in 1976 as a response to an increase in racial conflict and the growth of white nationalist groups such as the National Front. The campaign involved pop, rock, punk and reggae musicians staging concerts with an anti-racist theme, in order to discourage young people from embracing racism. The campaign was founded, in part, as a response to statements and activities by well-known rock musicians that were widely regarded as racist.
Originally conceived as a one-off concert with a message against racism, Rock Against Racism was founded in 1976 by Red Saunders, Roger Huddle and others. According to Huddle, "it remained just an idea until August 1976" when Eric Clapton made a drunken declaration of support for former Conservative minister Enoch Powell (known for his anti-immigration 'Rivers of Blood' speech) at a concert in Birmingham.
Clapton told the crowd that England had "become overcrowded" and that they should vote for Powell to stop Britain from becoming "a black colony". He also told the audience that Britain should "get the foreigners out, get the wogs out, get the coons out", and then he repeatedly shouted the National Front slogan "Keep Britain White".
Huddle, Saunders and two members of Kartoon Klowns responded by writing a letter to NME expressing their opposition to Clapton's comments, which they claimed were "all the more disgusting because he had his first hit with a cover of reggae star Bob Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff'... "Come on Eric... Own up. Half your music is black. Who shot the Sheriff, Eric? It sure as hell wasn't you!" At the end of the letter, they called for people to help form a movement called Rock Against Racism...
In a 2007 interview, Clapton said he still supported Powell, and that he didn't view Powell as a racist.
Date and Time
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