Birmingham bands UB40 and Steel Pulse joined Yaz Alexander at a Love Music Hate Racism press conference on Friday of last week.
The press conference was called to mark the 40th Anniversary of Enoch Powell’s racist “Rivers of Blood” speech, which was delivered in Birmingham on the 20th April 1968.
Brian from UB40 said, “I haven’t seen any rivers of blood, only good food and good music. We were part of Rock Against Racism, that turned it around. Thank god for LMHR, they need all the help they can get. Without immigration and integration UB40 and Steel Pulse wouldn’t exist, its the sharing of culture.”
Dave from Steel Pulse said, “I remember the NF trying to march on the Soho Road. The Asian community joined us and we stopped them. It was a proud day for Handsworth.”
Yaz Alexander said, “At the end of the day we’re all human beings. Put your hands up and stand firm. You have to hate racism.”
Robin from UB40 said, 'When you’re passive the BNP grows. We were in the Handsworth riots, fighting alongside our Black friends. Whenever the economy goes down fear and ignorance raise their heads. When Powell was making his speeches Black people in the USA were still trying to get the vote.”
Selwyn from Steel Pulse said, “When Powell made his speech he fanned the flames of prejudice. The NF came out of what he said. When our parents came to this country they were invited to come and work. When people say go back I remind them our people’s suffering built this country. Today its is a multicultural society, black and white growing up together. It defies what Powell was saying.”