Brixton 1981

The interview with Darcus Howe brings up the 1981 Brixton riot…well, the BBC host assumes Howe had first-hand experience.   Either way, Howe would probably describe it as the “Brixton uprising.”  At the center, was a confrontation between the Metropolitan Police and protesters in South London, England. Wikipedia describes the “1981 Brixton riot” like this:

The main riot on 11 April, dubbed “Bloody Saturday” by TIME magazine,resulted in almost 280* injuries to police and 45* injuries to members of the public; over a hundred vehicles were burned, including 56 police vehicles; and almost 150 buildings were damaged, with thirty burned. There were 82 arrests. Reports suggested that up to 5,000 people were involved.

The Guns of Brixton” is a song by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was written and sung by bassist Paul Simonon, who grew up in Brixton, south London. The song has a strong reggae influence, reflecting the culture of the area, with a nod to the classic reggae gangster film “The Harder They Come.”  This video features a collage of images shot during the days of civil unrest in 1981.

Santogold covered the song in 2008 for her “Top Ranking” mixtape with Diplo — but changed the lyrics from Brixton to Brooklyn.  This video (the first half of which is “Guns of Brooklyn,” features more documentary footage from 1981 Brixton.


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