Eight hours, Seven DJs, three webcams, a pair of decks, a couple house plants. What a wild wild Wednesday it was. Black excellence arrived in Brixton to raise funds and awareness for three critical causes; The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, UKQTIBIPOC Emergency Relief & Hardship Fund and YF Studio – where it all popped off.
We have been activating, protesting, watching, sharing and educating ourselves on Black history, and on Wednesday we celebrated with a roster of artists that continue to define the future of London and music at large. Kicking off proceedings, p-rallel set pace with London laureates Jesse James, Finn Foxell and Headie One featuring throughout his mix alongside 90s bangers from Mase, Total & Lil Kim.
Girl’s Can’t DJ founder and Rinse FM resident Jordss followed, proving women can definitely go hard with a palette that blends a Frank Ocean Afrobeats rework, 2005 Kano classic and closed with an homage to the late, great Pop Smoke with the Skepta Remix of ‘Welcome to the Party’.
West London stayed on deck as Tommy Gold pulled up to THE party, peppering the airwaves with a diverse track selection and divine offerings from NYC Gods Busta Rhymes, Nas and Jay-Z.
Izzy Bossy (of duo Bossy LDN) lit up the function with a carnival soaked set dripping in Popcaan, Alkaline and Aidonia, while weaving in viral hits from Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Rich alongside The Gambia’s most revered exports Pa Salieu and J Hus.
At four and a half hours in, Ellis ‘The Host definitely Doing The Most’ Gilbert had buss a little impromptu outfit change – donning a Dashiki – both in the name of Pan-African solidarity and breezy comfort as he kept the energy alive.
Izzy dedicated her final track to The People, the 1987 Lover’s Rock classic ‘Black Pride’ by Kofi, opening with the powerful refrain;
Black is the colour of my skin
Black is the life that I live
And I’m so proud to be…
Next up to run the riddims was Sippin’ T. The South London native and co-founder of collective Bold Brazen Zamis (BBZ/Babes) established the culturally defining platform to prioritise the experiences of queer womxn, trans folk and non binary people of colour. Tia accelerated the tempo with a mash up of bass heavy club, kuduro and zouk tinged slaps and snares, with offerings from Princess Nyah and Ivorian Doll and high octane ballroom/vogue bangers.
Next up, the sounds of CKTRL who knows all the tricks from Brixton to Kingston, pulling up Jamaican legends Opal, Elephant Man and Mavado.
He opened up the mic twice – first to feature was Louis Culture of Elevation/Meditation, performing new single ‘Part 2’ from his EP ‘Smile Soundsystem’ – a project that traverses the intersections of Electronic music and what it means to be Black and British in 2020.
Second to step up was singer-songwriter Rasharn Powell, with the AB001-produced track ‘Smithereens’, released in May. The groove of ‘Smithereens’ is punctuated with pain, but gives a hope with it’s soulful tip. Powell is set for a ‘tender takeover’ when his first EP with LA producer Luca Buccellati (Lana Del Rey, Tei Shei, Arlo Parks) drops soon.
Last up to grace the controllers, was Vivendii Sound, hailing from Lagos. Born a clothing brand in 2015, the trio rose to international attention, having been championed by the late Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia and their collaboration with Nike. Selector Jimmy Ayeni locks and loads with tracks from Odunsi (The Engine), Jack Harlow, Octavian and a surprise drop of pop smash ‘Move Ya Feet’ by Junior Senior.
As we entered into the 8th hour, Kasien joins in the Naija celebrations by dropping his new tune ‘All I See’. The infectious track is fitting to end a day filled with action and motivation. The studio erupts when Kasien drops the bar ‘Negative energy I do not need!’ a mantra pertinent of the feelings of Black communities across the globe. Kasien, a beloved member of our Basement family clearly highlighted the energy we as a community have had and continue to have which is one of strength, unity and rebellion.
The day was a roaring success, raising £5092.41 via donations and t-shirt sales on the day for three extraordinary charities whose missions are to improve, empower and uplift the lives of children and young adults from Black communities in London. However our job is not done. This is just one step in our continued efforts to enact the change that is required to achieve equality and prosperity for the Black Community.
A massive thank you to all the DJs, artists, donors and supporters that made this livestream possible. The No Justice, No Peace t-shirts designed by Niallycat are now sold out. 100% of profits are going to the aforementioned charities.