Who’s Who: Meet the Manor House reggae singer who sweeps the streets when he isn’t touring the world
- Credit: Archant
Roy Johnson, 60, was born in Trenchtown, Jamaica, but has lived in Manor House and worked for Islington Council for the past 30 years.
And when Roy isn’t sweeping parks and pavements around the N1 area, he’s touring the world under his stage name, Anthony “Gunshot” Johnson.
When asked by the Gazette why a reggae star is sweeping streets, Roy said: “Cleanliness is godliness. It’s stopping the rot, diseases and bugs to create a clean environment for the community.”
Roy, who recently returned from tours in Naples and Toulouse, added: “Islington Council supports me and I also do it because there are many artists, entertainers and legends working in this community.
“I want to teach the young people that you can be a singer and sweep or you can be a doctor who coaches a football team.
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He added: “Just because you’re a scientist or some other type of legend doesn’t mean you are too big to give back to the people around you.”
The singer, who is best known for his 1980s hit Gunshot, has worked with Lee “Scratch” Perry during his time with group Mystic I.
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He has three children: Tamika, 31, Simone, 30, and 18-year-old Dominic.
He says he was “automatically born under the British flag” because he was born in 1957 and Jamaica didn’t gain independence until five years later.
“The interesting thing about where I’m working,” said Roy. “Is I meet lots of different nationalities of people and we all live as one and try to understand each other. There is no racism here and we each make the others strong.”
He added: “I know all the people in Hackney and Islington and people are mostly friendly, accepting and tolerant.”
When Roy isn’t using his broom, he’s in the street sweeping machine or trundling along with a wheel barrow.
He has a message for Gazette readers, and said: “Keep Islington clean and look after your environment so we can all live longer and get fresh air.
“It’s about teaching people the good way of life. Lets make our home nice and green and fresh.”
Do you know any characters from the community who deserve a Who’s Who article? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7433 0121.