Near Neighbours is an organisation whose aim is to bring together people of different faiths and ethnicity; encouraging them to work toward a better understanding of each other and to positively engage in working together on initiatives to improve their shared community. They offer small grants to local groups working to better community relationships.
Harrow Community Gospel Choir (HCGC) successfully applied to Near Neighbours for funding to facilitate its inclusion in the From Gospel to Grime Concert – part of the Harrow Windrush Project.
Being together. sharing the same space and singing live was a much needed tonic for HCGC. Choir members were elated to be part of this project.
On the day we gathered in Elliott Hall at Harrow Arts Centre with other participants – Harrow Steel, led by Dexter Joseph; rapper and grime artists Slay-R and Rampz-2-Real.
As we were still under Covid restrictions we had a tiny, selected audience which included Daddy Ernie (founder of President Downbeat, reggae/dancehall DJ and host of Superjam on Vibes FM).
It was a privilege to watch the talented, multiracial Harrow Steel youngsters in concentration as they enthusiastically beat out their irresistible rhythms on those pans.
Deliveries from Slay-R and Rampz-2-Realwere received with one hundred percent of appreciation.
Michelle Parson’s attestation to the Windrush generation’s contribution to Britain’s prosperity, the injustice meted out which led to the illegal repatriation of persons to a country they left as babies and in which they have no living relatives, pricked me. It was a poignant reminder of passing of time. It led me to ask myself if right now, today, the British Institution is any less mired in unbridled prejudice. Sadly, my answer is ‘No!’
Each performance received rapturous applause from their audience – the other participants.
The day was long and tiring but filled with a euphoric sense of freedom – especially after lockdown!