Celebrating Great Britain’s DNA

The MV Empire Windrush may have sunk in 1954, but her legacy sails on…

Back in January we created a unifying identity for the 70th anniversary of the landing of Windrush at Tillbury Docks. We have come across the ship before—we’d used her iconic image to launch the Black Cultural Archives, and illustrated the ship in the Black Sound exhibition we co-curated with Lloyd Bradley— and thought we knew the boat well.

Last week we got an invite from the Prime Minister to attend a reception, at Downing Street, ‘for the 70th anniversary of Windrush’.

Knowing what we all now know about the scandal, initial excitement quickly turned to questions about our position on the invite – should we go?

We acknowledge we’re not the first creatives to consider turning the establishment down. But we chose to go because we genuinely believe in celebrating Great Britain’s DNA – and number 10 is exactly where it needs to be honoured the most.

We went to celebrate inclusion and unity, not hostility and isolation. To recognise the massive contribution the Caribbean communities have made to all our lives.

It’s vital that we celebrate the arrival of the ship as a landmark moment in British history. Thankfully, this week an official Windrush Day has been written into the nation’s calendar.

As Brixtonians, we’re vehemently proud of our vibrant community, and today was another step in celebrating our shared diverse history.

By Scott Leonard
Creative Director