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Returning for its third year, BlackFest is hosting a week long programme of discussion, music, poetry and more in a series of free online events. The opening night is one not to miss, as Locks brings together writer, rapper and founder of RiseUpCIC, Ashleigh Nugent, international performer Tayo Aluko, and writer and social worker D.Hunter to form a discussion alongside author and death row inmate, Keith LaMar.
The night, in partnership with Unity Theatre, starts at 7pm with Ashleigh Nugent, who will be introducing his new book entitled ‘Locks’. Based on Nugent’s own life story, ‘Locks’ shares the experience of being a young, mixed race Liverpudlian, to being locked up in a prison in Kingston, Jamaica.
“In 1993, I was one of the only ‘Black lads’ in our leafy English suburb. At sixteen, I had already been arrested three times, without having committed any crimes. This was solely due to racial profiling.”
Calling in from Ohio, USA, Keith LaMar will join Nugent to give a talk about his experiences of racial profiling and the prison system. Due to be executed on 23rd November 2023, LaMar has written a book called ‘Condemned’ and there is a growing campaign for his release, as there is much evidence pointing towards his innocence.
“The world we see, from the president on down to the millions of people behind bars and those living on the streets, is a reflection of the white supremacists’ vision and beliefs. It’s time we ask ourselves whether or not they are qualified for the job of leading humanity.”
Also on the programme is D.Hunter, a writer and former UK prisoner, who is the author of ‘Chav Solidarity’ and ‘Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors’. Both books talk about Hunter’s experiences of poverty, informal economies and social movements, to examine class, race, abolition, care, and community. Hunter is also co-founder of Lumpen, which is a journal for poor and working-class writers.
This fascinating evening of discussion, in which the three men talk about their work, share their experiences (including how White Privilege exists even within the prison systems) and read extracts from their books, will be moderated by local writer, award-winning performer and former architect Tayo Aluko.
With the aim of educating people, encouraging diversity and promoting Black Arts, BlackFest aims to educate, empower and improve equality in the arts. The festival answers a crucial need in the city’s cultural offering, celebrating Black Arts and bridging the gap between institutions and the marginalized communities they represent.
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