Throughout Black History Month our de facto ‘DJ-in-residence’ at The London Art Bar, Kwadjo Lancelot, is sharing a selection of carefully curated playlists, celebrating Black excellence and Black joy. Enjoy!
The path is usually the same: an underground black culture or persecuted group moulds and creates a style, usually out of limited resources. The style becomes are transformed into product, usually easier to market to a majority white audience.
For example – Blues became Rock and Roll. There also tends to be a trend of groups within groups popularising the genre. Queer history shows Sister Rosetta Sharpe as the origins of Pop Gospel, and the first to use the electric guitar in a manner that would go on to influence Eric Clapton, and others. Little Richard, the flamboyant queer man who made Rock and Roll big, allowed for Elvis to become even bigger. The EDM subgenres, House & Garage, are named after a pair of Black Queer clubs in Chicago and New York – The Warehouse and Paradise Garage.
So here’s the first of three playlists celebrating Black excellence and Black Joy this Black History Month. 1# – The British Big Wigs. The best of Black British artists from the 70s ’til now, curated by me for Black History Month. The genres within are wide ranging. Featuring: Beverley Knight; Stormzy; Sean Paul; Craig David; M People; Labi Saffri; NAO; Pauline Black (of ‘the Selector’); Soul II Soul; Sade; Keke Okereke (of ‘Bloc Party’); PinkPantheress, and more.
It also features Segun Akinola – the first Black composer to work on the soundtrack of the long running BBC sci-fi show, Doctor Who. And the Soca rich theme tune of Channel 4’s longest running SitCom ‘Desmonds’ by Norman Beaton (aka Desmond Ambrose), another of the most iconic TV shows in British history,