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Talkin meh Talk: My words set me free

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Online event in the series Radical Voices: Delving into the sound archives of Guyanese-born activists and publishers Jessica & Eric Huntley.

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How we speak is more than what we mean: ‘talk’, accent and the words we use are all part of who we are. In this way, our words set us free to be who we are, and language literally has the power to shape our reality. John Agard’s poem Everytime I talk meh talk challenges the notion that his way of speaking English is inferior, non standard, labelled “Pidgin” and “broken”. Agard makes the connection between how he speaks and who he is; if how he speaks is “broken” then, must he also be broken? This event brings together artists and activists to consider labels such as broken, Pidgin, Creole, Patios and dialect, and how they are used to drive the idea that there is one correct way of speaking English and other European languages.

‘If they’re publishing books by us then they definitely need to be employing us’. The publishing house of Guyanese-born activists and publishers Jessica and Eric Huntley was decolonising the publishing world 50 years ago, yet we are #stilldecolonisingpublishinguk. Through poetry performances and an open conversation, participants consider how we can decolonise the mainly white privileged publishing world, recognising that the process of undoing colonising practices requires a change in who decides whose stories, and whose words have the most value.

This event is the last in a series of three online educational events by the London Metropolitan Archives Radical Voices: Yesterday - Today. Delving into the sound archives of Guyanese-born activists and publishers Jessica & Eric Huntley. London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) holds the documents of Jessica and Eric Huntley, radical book publishers and pioneering Black political activists, prolifically involved with the British African - Caribbean community's experience. Audio from these archives has been recently digitised by the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage (UOSH) project at LMA.

Three guest curators unpack these archives, bringing together high-profile public figures including academic Kehinde Andrews, online influencer Mikai McDermott and dub poet Mutabaruka, to listen to extracts from the audio archives and relate them to the pressing issues of the day. Themes include exclusion of Black students in education, Black organising in the UK, and decolonising language. The events, aimed at 18-34 year olds, will be free of charge and take place online.

Please note this is a live event and it won’t be subtitled as standard. If you wish to attend and have an accessibility requirement then please do email hannah.uosh@gmail.com in advance.

The hashtag for the event series is #RadicalVoices21.

Isis Amlak is an arts and cultural curator, production manager, she has worked creative stakeholders in the UK, and internationally. Isis is a writer and a presenter and is passionate about archiving social history and the educational legacy of Afrikan & African-Caribbean writers and publishers. As a poet she performs under the name I Sis and she has a MA in Black British Writing.

www.linkedin.com/in/isis-amlak

Kadija Sesay is a literary activist. She is a co-founder of Mboka Festival of Arts Culture and Sport in The Gambia and Publications Manager for Inscribe/Peepal Tree Press. She has published a poetry collection, Irki and has edited several anthologies. She is a doctoral scholarship student researching Black British Publishers and Pan-Africanism.

@SABLELitMag

Mutabaruka is a Jamaican Rastafari dub poet, musician, actor, educator, and talk-show host, who developed two of Jamaica's most popular radio programmes, The Cutting Edge and Steppin' Razor. His name comes from the Rwandan language and translates as "one who is always victorious". His themes include politics, culture, Black liberation, social oppression, discrimination, poverty, racism, sexism, and religion.

rasssinternet.today

Alim Kamara is a British-Sierra Leonean rapper and storyteller. As a child living in Sierra Leone, Alim would listen to Djelis (storytellers), admiring the way they weaved lessons through their tales. He set up Storie Storie to inspire through engaging storytelling workshops and performances based on these traditional Sierra-Leonean folk tales.

www.alimkamara.com

Cyndi Celeste spoken word poet, storyteller, creative entrepreneur and director of Frenetic Arts is an arts activist and language advocate who uses literature and performance to encourage social discourse on issues of identity, based in Barbados. Her work educates as well as entertains. Cyndi’s spoken word EP called ‘Cyndicated’ explores black creative and cultural identity and has been published in The Caribbean Writer (Vol. 35).

www.facebook.com/cyndiceleste.m

Please note this is a live event and it won’t be subtitled as standard. If you wish to attend and have an accessibility requirement then please do email hannah.uosh@gmail.com in advance.

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