Black Lives Matter in Hackney - Beyond the hashtag

Artistic Director Karena Johnson

Artistic Director Karena Johnson - Credit: Archant

Hoxton Hall’s innovative Raised in Hackney project has produced a trio of podcasts featuring inter-generational discussions about George Floyd’s murder and beyond

Hoxton Hall in Hoxton Street

Hoxton Hall in Hoxton Street - Credit: hoxton hall

During lockdown, Hoxton Hall released a powerful podcast series Raised in Hackney, which gave voice to the experiences of six Black teens.

Now, Raised In Hackney Black, Beyond The Hashtag, takes the discussion on to explore Black Lives Matter in the borough, in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd.

Conceived and produced by Hoxton Hall artistic director Karena Johnson, she said: “BLM in a British context felt important to document. I was struck by an apparent disconnect across generations; reticence versus enthusiasm.”

Against a backdrop of a global pandemic and statues being torn down, she decided to record inter-generational conversations, asking a group of residents, “what next?”

“We wanted to create a safe space where the twelve Black participants aged 11 to 65 could discuss openly and honestly their feelings and experiences about what being Black means to them,” she said.

“During the conversations we hear some powerful and frank statements regarding their perspectives of race, injustice and what might be different this time.”

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In the first episode the “Youngsters” share their observations on BLM, followed by episode two where mature participants question how we came be to be here again. In the final episode, both groups come together to share their aspirations for the future.

Funded through the work of Young Hackney, Hackney’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble said the series “speaks to the mutual outrage across generations in response to a series of devastating events”.

“It has created a unique opportunity to hear the uncensored thoughts and experiences from a wide range of people within the Black community. Exploring what it means to be Black during this moment in time, what the Black Lives Matter movement looks like here in Hackney and how we move forward with our commitment to effect change.”

The first Raised In Hackney podcast was made by six teens, who interviewed each other about what it was like growing up Black and British, from music and health to negative media portrayals. The ongoing project by the arts venue hopes to provide a platform for the authentic voices of local communities .

“We’re continually seeking new ways to support and encourage voices of those less heard and these podcasts provide us with an accessible vehicle.” added Johnson.

Raised In Hackney, Black, Beyond The Hashtag is now available on Hoxton Hall’s website and all other major platforms from October 5.

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