Award-winning saxophonist, MC and composer Soweto Kinch presents new online festival Black Peril 2020 this September, featuring exclusive performances filmed on location in Hull.
Against the backdrop of today’s civil unrest, statues being torn down and serious soul-searching across Britain, there’s rarely been a more opportune moment to explore ignored British history – radically challenging the way ‘British’, ‘White’ and ‘Working-Class’ identities have been constructed. Discussing the ideas and themes explored in Black Peril, Soweto says: “It’s easy to get the idea that mobs of ‘woke’ millennials are suddenly forcing Britons to confront ‘diversity’ for the first time – however, from Glasgow to Barry (via Hull), and indeed Chicago and New York, the entire western world was engulfed in racial conflict over 100 years ago. 1919 established and entrenched hierarchies of racism that have yet to be undone.”
Throughout this summer, British streets, squares and bridges that were the scenes of violent race riots in 1919 were transformed into dynamic stages, galleries and plinths to creatively explore this past. Combining improvised responses, existing material and newly commissioned work, the festival intends to shed new light on Britain’s fractious relationship with race and class.
The artists who took to the streets of Hull include Soweto Kinch, tuba player Hanna Mbuya, trumpeter Grafton Forbes-Amos and saxophonist and dancer Tyrone-Isaac Stuart. They performed at the following locations, all scenes of racial violence in 1919-1920:
Hull Merchant Shipping Office, where violent clashes between black sailors and unemployed white mobs took place in 1919 and 1920. And where Black ‘Britisher’ sailors turned and violently attacked their Chinese counterparts, encouraged by a trade union appeal to get rid of Chinese workers.
Pease Street, where a large mob chased a black man Marell Pigott to his lodgings in June 1920. Two black lodging houses in Lower Union Street and 72 and 74 Pease Street were vandalised.
Lister Street, where lodgings for Black and Arab sailors were attacked.
The festival also features performances filmed in Salford, Liverpool, Cardiff, Newport and London, alongside panel discussions and interviews with historians and notable cultural figures including Lowkey, Kehinde Andrews, Jason Moran and Jacqueline Jenkinson.
As the first stop on the #Quarantour, the Hull performances, interviews and panel talks will be streamed from 7pm-10pm on Monday 14th September, followed by Salford on the 15th, Liverpool on the 16th, Cardiff on the 17th and London on the 18th. Across the week you’ll also see performances from musicians Robert Mitchell, Jay Phelps, Xhosa Cole, Nick Jurd, Nathanial Cross, Sonia Konate and Yahael Onono and dancers Fion Campbell-Davies, Mason Connolley, Stefano Addae, Tanaya Martin and Caramel Soldier.
Tickets for each evening cost £5, or you can access the whole festival programme for £20. For more info and tickets, visit Soweto’s website.