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Windrush Legacy Statement

The Windrush experience has given rise to a phenomenon that is complex as well as multidimensional offering a number of themes that depict a story of an invitation together with a promise that led to an unrecognisable and unforeseen outcome…an outcome that was unwelcoming and characterised by hostility. However, the resilience that Caribbean people are known for resulted in a steadfast determination to succeed in the face of abject adversity.

The ability to overcome adversity and make a success of their lives is well documented albeit bereft of the kind of acknowledgement, publicity and respect that is deserving of a nation and generation that played a huge part in the rebuilding of Great Britain and who also served as allies to Britain in both World War I and II. The successes achieved by the Windrush generation are many and can be seen in Law, Education, Race and Equality, the NHS, Media, Transport, Science, the Armed Forces, Fashion, Marketing, Multi-media, Social Media, Technology, Politics, Make-up and Beauty, Art, Sport, Acting and Music.

Among many other factors, music played a vitally important role in keeping the community together. It served to promote and maintain their Caribbean connection and heritage whilst simultaneously extolling the virtues of the mantra ‘Hope, Strength and Belonging’ given the difficult and challenging circumstances that they were faced with on a daily basis! The global impact that the Windrush generation and successive generations have had and continue to have on world music is immeasurable.

Mento is widely regarded as the original popular form of music in Jamaica and its influence can still be heard today in Dancehall, R’n’B, Soul, Neo-Soul and Pop music. Key figureheads such as the late Sonny Roberts opened Planetone, the first black-owned recording studio in Britain. He then created his own record label…Sway followed by the renowned Orbitone Records. Suffice it to say, the contribution by the children of Windrush has also had a significant influence on world music and culture. The homegrown nature of Lovers Rock inspired by Caribbean music culture, the role of Sound Systems, dance music such as Brit-Funk, Jazz-Funk and more were considered to be an expression of Black British identity and culture.

The Windrush experience, together with being commissioned to write a themed piece of music, has led to the ‘Windrush Anchor Anthem’. It is a celebration of not only the Windrush era but also the first generation that also has a story to tell.

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