Starting tomorrow (April 9), Big Narstie will be hosting Brixton: Flames On The Frontline, an eight-part podcast series to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Brixton riots.
Often referred to as the Brixton uprising, the 1981 riots were the product of years of simmering racial tension between Black communities in South London, the police and far-right groups like the National Front. The new series will use archive recordings, interviews, music and dramatised scenes to explore the factors that led to the riots as well as their enduring legacy.
Besides the immediate causes of the riots, the podcast is also said to explore historic events like the rise of the National Front, the New Cross fire, and the Black People’s Day Of Action, all of which are linked to the uprising.
Speaking on why the podcast is so important to him, Narstie explained: “The reason I wanted to take part in this podcast is because I’m a Brixton native and it’s part of my culture and heritage. The significance of the Brixton uprising was that people decided they would no longer sit quietly (and be a beating stick) — people had to stand up for themselves.
“The Brixton uprising was the start of a process. Things have changed for the Black community in the sense of that people are no longer scared to fight for freedom or to stand up for themselves. It wasn’t just the Black community who took part in the uprising — a lot of people tend to forget this. While it was predominantly a Black protest, other colours and creeds could see what was happening and felt the need to join in.
“The riots were largely about Black people but white people could also see there was oppression. It happened because people felt they were being persecuted and oppressed.”
The first two episodes in the series will be released this Friday, April 9, via BBC Sounds with subsequent episodes dropping every Friday.