An oral history of the UK’s soundsystem culture, featuring interviews with Dubmaster Dennis Bovell, Skream, Youth, Norman Jay, Adrian Sherwood, Mala, & others. In the years following the arrival of the Windrush generation, the UK’s soundsystem culture would become the most important influence on contemporary pop music since rock n roll. Pumped through towering, home-built speakers, often directly onto the thronged streets of events like the Notting Hill Carnival, the pulsating bass lines of reggae, dub, rave, jungle, trip hop, dubstep, & grime have shaped the worlds of several generations of British youth culture but have often been overlooked by historians obsessed with swinging London, punk, & Britpop.

This oral history, consisting of new interviews conducted by respected dance music writer Joe Muggs, and accompanied by dramatic portraits … More

Born on the 12 January 1931, Jamaican tenor saxophonist, and one of the founding members of The Skatalites, Roland Alphonso. In 1948 he left school to join Eric Deans’ orchestra and soon passed through other bands in the hotel circuit and first recorded as a member of Stanley Motta’s group in 1952, going on to record frequently as a session musician. In 1956 he first recorded for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, although these early recordings were lost before they were mastered.

When the Skatalites disbanded by August 1965, Alphonso formed the Soul Brothers (with Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, and Jackie Mittoo) to … More

He was the Wicked Wilson Pickett, the legendary soul man whose forty-plus hits included “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You.” Remarkably handsome and with the charisma to match, Wilson Pickett was considered by many to be the greatest, the most visceral and sensual of the classic 1960s soul singers, and as a man who turned screaming into an art form, the most forceful of them all. He wasthe living embodiment of soul. More than that, Wilson Pickett’s journey reads like a guide to popular black American music in the late 20th century.

For this first-ever accounting of Wilson Pickett’s life, bestselling biographer Tony Fletcher interviewed members of the singer’s family, friends and … More

Born OTD in 1949, Jamaican singer Marcia Griffiths. “How Marcia Griffiths came to find herself at Studio One is a story of being in the right place at the right time, although in Kingston during the 1960s, right places were plentiful as musicians of all types were springing up all around – sound systems on corner after corner, trombones & trumpets in Coxsone Dodd’s, Duke Reid’s & Leslie Kong’s studios..”

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty and machismo like Duke and … More

“I’ve been told that no one sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do. Or the word ‘love’.”Lady Sings the Blues is the inimitable autobiography of one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century. Born to a single mother in 1915 Baltimore, Billie Holiday had her first run-in with the law at aged 13. But Billie Holiday is no victim. Her memoir tells the story of her life spent in jazz, smoky Harlem clubs and packed-out concert halls, her love affairs, her wildly creative friends, her struggles with addiction and her adventures in love. Billie Holiday is a wise and aphoristic guide to the story of her unforgettable life.

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Meet figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers and athletes like Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams. All children deserve to see themselves represented positively in the books they read. Highlighting the talent and contributions of black leaders and changemakers from around the world, readers of all backgrounds will be empowered to discover what they too can achieve.

Strong, courageous, talented and diverse, these extraordinary men and women’s achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream… … More

Born out of resistance to slavery and colonialism, the Black radical tradition has a long and proud history, one which reaches from Marcus Garvey and the Black Panthers to the Black Lives Matter activists of today. And yet, the Black radical tradition has also consistently been one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood. The Politics of Black Radicalism explores the roots of this tradition, while also considering what a renewed politics of Black radicalism might look like in the 21st century.

Surveying Black radicalism’s many varied forms and influences, and incorporating feminist and LGBT perspectives, Andrews shows that Black radicalism has … More

A group of kids in the 90s had a dream to make their voice heard – and this book documents their seminal impact on today’s pop culture. DJ Target grew up in Bow under the shadow of Canary Wharf, with money looming close on the skyline. The ‘Godfather of Grime’ Wiley and Dizzee Rascal first met each other in his bedroom. They were all just grime kids on the block back then, and didn’t realise they were to become pioneers of an international music revolution. A movement that permeates deep into British culture and beyond.

Household names were borne out of those housing estates, and the music industry now jumps to the beat of their … More

When Laurie Cunningham played for England in an under-21s match against Scotland in 1977, he became the first black footballer to represent England professionally. Two years later, he would become the first Englishman to play for Real Madrid. In a time when racist chants flew from the stands, Cunningham’s success challenged how black players were perceived, paving the way for future generations. But Cunningham was more than an exceptional footballer who could play like a dream.

He was a dandy with a love of funk music and bespoke suits, as easily graceful on the dance floor … More

Born OTD in 1887, Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest black leaders of the 20th century. His is a story of a man who launched an idea on the tide and created a flood in the worldwide development of black political consciousness. As the leader of America’s first mass political movement of black people, Gerbey’s achievements were both enormous in their scale and long-lasting in their effects. This is an in-depth biography and history of this great man who envisaged so much and inspired so many.

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