Songs for Windrush
Music, especially calypso and soca was a reminder of home and their culture as well as a form of escape for many West Indians living in the UK.
Crystxl King (Newham resident and musical artist) - her own personal Windrush story
"As both of my parents have resided in London their whole lives it never even crossed our minds that the Windrush scandal would have any affect on us, like I am sure many would not have expected. However, although my mother was born in London, my father on the other hand came over to London when he was 14 years old, and didn't keep every single document he had ever owned over 40 years (which he was later told he should have done). Early last year he received a letter saying that his citizenship had come into question and that he had to prove his right to remain in the UK. He didn’t know what to do at first but he turned to us for support. We were very concerned that he may be ripped away from all his family.
"After a distressing battle across over a year, with back and forth trips to solicitors, countless rejections of impossible materials we were asked to collect letters from family, friends and professionals confirming my dad had been here since his teens, countless dig-ups of photos showcasing my dad's life which were hard to find and many other forms of evidence. After a long, worrying and tearful time we finally got confirmation that he was allowed to remain. Promises of compensation were made but never followed through.
"I have yet to release all that came with the scenario both emotionally and psychologically and even physically through my music - so I wanted to create a piece that allows such a release and tells the story of such a frightening, unfair and totally unnecessary battle that we had to fight for a man who was essentially living and breathing in what has always been (and was promised to be) his home and being punished for that very existence".
Watch Crystxl's song Tried To Take My Daddy here:
For more information on Crystxl's music visit her Instagram page (external link).
Alexander D Great
Alexander D Great is a musical artist, born in Trinidad he grew up in London from the age of 5. His musical influences include calypso and rhythm and blues. Since the 1980s he has been providing poetry and calypso workshops for schools, colleges and festivals. He has written songs about the Windrush generation.
They came upon the Windrush describes how 500 people came on the MV Empire Windrush with the "flame of hope in their hearts" and a desire to find work to help re-build Britain. The lyrics reference how they built today's multi-cultural society in Britain and that they regarded themselves as British citizens and not immigrants.
The lyrics of After the Windrush tell the story of how West Indian people were invited to the UK to help re-build the UK after the devastating effects of the Second World War. How they contributed their "blood, sweat and tears" to working in the NHS and supporting the transport system is mentioned. The song celebrates the dedication, hard work and integration of Caribbean people into British life. However, it also refers to the deportation and hardships endured by West Indians in 2018 who had lived in the UK, some for over 50 years, because of a 'hostile environment policy'. The song concludes with a call to acknowledge and thank all the Caribbean people for their contributions to British life.
Watch Alexander performing They came upon the Windrush in this video:
Watch Alexander performing After the Windrush in this video:
For more information about Alexander's music visit his website (external link).