The 1970s was the decade that witnessed the definitive creation of black Britain. This essay chronicles the influence of the belief system of Rastafari, originating as it did in Jamaica and having an intense appeal to sections of black Britain in the 1970s that led to the creation of a charged, explicit, and heightened sense of racial identity among young black Britons. This essay seeks to reflect on the influence of Jamaican 1970s on the creation of a second diaspora. In so doing, it utilizes examples of British reggae music, a photograph by Vanley Burke, and the poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson (with a citation from the poet Frederick Williams). Several occurrences and episodes, from postwar immigration itself through to “the New Cross Massacre” and incidents of rioting, are also considered.
The Jamaican 1970s and Its Influence on the Making of Black Britain
Eddie Chambers teaches in the Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas, Austin. He received his PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1998. He is the author of Black Artists in British Art: A History since the 1950s (2014) and Roots and Culture: Cultural Politics in the Making of Black Britain (2017).
Eddie Chambers; The Jamaican 1970s and Its Influence on the Making of Black Britain. Small Axe 1 March 2019; 23 (1 (58)): 134–149. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-7374502
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