A huge celebration of UK bass culture has launched

It explores everything from fashion and music to socio-political issues…

Bass Culture 70/50 – the UK’s largest ever Jamaican music exhibition – has launched, highlighting the Windrush generation’s impact on the UK.

Marking 70 years since the arrival of the Empire Windrush and 50 years of reggae in Britain, the show uses photography, film and fashion to trace the thread from Jamaican music and sound system culture up to grime.

It features the first ever catwalk inspired by Jamaican music – with its Rude Boy Catwalk event – and a mini film festival, as part of an exhibition exploring the impact of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music on British culture, going on until 22nd November at the Ambika P3 space on Marylebone Road, London.

The exhibition will feature previously unseen artwork, specially commissioned film, top industry speakers, UK reggae label pop-up showcases, live performances, and over 70 hours of individual testimonies.

It links – for the first time – the memories and experiences of black British musicians, industry practitioners, academics and audiences.

Visitors can also see a mini-exhibition of portraits celebrating women in sound system culture, called Sisters Of Sound.

Contributors include the poet Benjamin Zephaniah alongside Steel PulseLinton Kwesi JohnsonSir Lloyd CoxsoneCarroll Thompson and Janet Kay

For the Rude Boy Catwalk – taking place on 9th November – attendees are invited to come dressed as they were when they were 18 and dancing to Jamaican or Jamaican-influenced music, be it ska, reggae, jungle or grime.

Check out all the of film and documentary screenings, talks and performances, on the Bass Culture 70/50 website. The closing event on 22nd November will include the premiere of the documentary BASS CULTURE, mapping the impact of Jamaican music from a youth perspective

The exhibition is staged by Bass Culture Research, a project set up to explore the impact of Jamaican music in the UK. It made headlines last year after issuing The Grime Report, which led to the withdrawal of Form 696, a controversial risk assessment form criticised for being discriminatory and targeting genres such as grime.

Mykaell Riley, Principal Investigator and Director of the Bass Culture Music Unit at the University of Westminster, said: “This is the story of the soundtrack to multiculturalism, a hidden history that is still impacting on new music.”

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Photos: Clare Hamman

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