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Reggae poet celebrating Black History Month at Teesside

ByDave Stopher

Oct 31, 2016

Linton, also known as LKJ, will host an intimate ‘audience with’ event at the University as part of the international annual celebrations taking place to mark Black History Month throughout October.

Born in Chapelton, Jamaica, Linton moved to London in 1963 and joined civic rights movement the Black Panthers while still at school, helping to organise poetry workshops within the group. He went on to develop his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and percussionists.

His first poems were published in 1974, followed by his first LP in 1978. In 2002 he became the first black poet to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

Linton continues to tour the world, with his recordings among the top-selling reggae albums worldwide. He is also known for his collaborations with British reggae producer and artist Dennis Bovell.

Teesside University worked in partnership with Tees Valley Arts and the African Arts Association to bring Linton Kwesi Johnson to the Black History Month event.

Rowena Sommerville, Tees Valley Arts Director, said: “We are delighted and honoured to welcome legendary poet, performer and activist Linton Kwesi Johnson to Teesside. Thanks also go to Maurice Dezou for his involvement in organising.”

Maurice, who is closely involved in arranging Black History Month events locally, added: “LKJ has been an inspiration for me and many, many others for decades. He is a true ‘poetic warrior’. His words are direct, hard hitting, felt in the gut but always rich with compassion and solidarity in the fight against racial inequality.”

Linton Kwesi Johnson will be at the University on Friday 14 October, when he will talk about his work from 4.00pm to 5.00pm in The Curve building (TG.02), followed by a poetry reading from 5.00pm to 6.00pm also in The Curve (T1.10).

Margaret Younger, Equality and Diversity Advisor at Teesside University, said: “Black History Month at Teesside aims to enhance the student experience, engage the wider community and encourage the wider participation of students from minority backgrounds, inspiring them to achieve their potential. Events such as these help to raise awareness and celebrate culture and are vitally important to help develop greater understanding.”

Other events at the University which will mark Black History Month include Journey to Justice which uses the US civil rights movement to inspire and raise awareness of social injustice. This unique touring exhibition can be seen in the Brittan Hall, Brittan Building, from October 3 to 19.

There will also be a Taste of Africa event with African food, fashion shows, dancing and drumming on 8 October and the Black History Youth Awards on 21 October which will celebrate the achievements of young black people.

Book a free place at Linton Kwesi Johnson’s talk and performance by contacting Francesca Whisker on 738232 or email events@tees.ac.uk.

More information about Black History Month  – http://www.tees.ac.uk/sections/whats_on/black_history.cfm