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C*LTURE: Linton Kwesi Johnson

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

Pioneering dub poet and author, Linton Kwesi Johnson used the power of spoken word to highlight police corruption, racism and inequality in British society. Born in 1952 in Jamaica, Linton moved to London in 1963 at a time of racial tensions.

Linton went on to read Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He joined the Black Panther movement in 1970, organising a poetry workshop and working with Rasta Love, a group of poets and percussionists.

Linton Kwesi Johnson's dub poetry called for an uprising and freedom for people living under the injustices. His haunting chants over a rhythmic baseline reflected the pain and suffering of the people. Linton has influenced a generation of poets, hip-hop artists and political activists. He became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Classics series.

Residing in South London, Linton Kwesi Johnson's poetry for cultural expression and social change still resonates today.


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