Linton Kwesi Johnson is a Jamaican-British poet and activist who came to me through a rec. I was told that his words were a powerful testament to the experience of being Black in Britain. I can’t say I disagree, because his words certainly are powerful. And in the case of New Crass Massahkah, they’re also visceral and heartbreaking, and a passionate takedown of the New Cross Massacre of 1981. A tragedy that took the life of 13 young Black people. And a crime that is still unsolved to this day. You would think that a deliberately set fire that took the lives of 13 young people would warrant a response from officials. But in this case, authorities kept silent to the extent that “Thirteen Dead, Nothing Said” because the rallying cry for protesters.
Linton Kwesi Johnson is one of the many artists who have directly addressed this event in their art, and I’m grateful that he did. Mostly because I was unaware of the history of the New Cross Massacre prior to listening to this poem. But that’s the power of art. It can educate as well as entertain. Even decades after the event. I hope people will still listen and heed his words for many more decades to come.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!