Arts & Culture
BBC Sounds: A Life Changing Story and the Hidden History of Black Music in Europe
06 September 2021
BBc Sounds | Free
I changed my name to change my life
James Plummer Jr grew up navigating poverty and instability; his dad was a drug dealer and he moved around a lot, changing schools, houses and states multiple times. One day, when he was nine years old, he was reading an encyclopedia and got to ‘E’. He discovered Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and a lifelong passion began – one that was to lead him out of poverty. James really understood physics. He started to win at state science fairs and after college was admitted to the elite physics course at Stanford University. But James had a secret: he was hooked on crack cocaine. He also knew he had to change and conquer his addiction if he was to fulfil his academic ambitions. It took a confession to a special person in his life, someone he admired and respected, to turn his life around. And with his new identity came a carefully chosen new name: Hakeem Muata Oluseyi.
Released 10 August 2021. Listen here
‘A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Streets to the Stars’ by Hakeem Oluseyi and Joshua Horwitz is available to purchase here
Black Music in Europe: A Hidden History 1979 – 2021 (series 4)
Clarke Peters’ concluding three-part series reveals stories from the history of Black music in Europe over the last four decades. From the collapse of the Eastern Bloc to the rise of multiculturalism, this was a time that saw old walls come tumbling down, while new forms of technology and new styles of music were all emerging at a rapid pace. In this final episode of the series, Clarke focuses on Black music in France, from the era of Zouk and Kassav’ through to the time of rap stars like MC Solaar. He also delves into the stories of Black musicians in Italy today, from rapper Tommy Kuti to Afrobeat artist RayJeezy.
Released 25 August 2021. Listen here
Header Image: Clarke Peters. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian