Monday, November 23, 2020

Steve McQueen's 'Lovers Rock'

The BBC did itself proud last night with Steve McQueen's film, one of five commissioned from the director and artist and broadcast on Sunday evenings.

It was just like being there: so absorbing!

An entire section of the film is dedicated to the partygoers singing Silly Games a capella after the track has been played on the decks, not just part of the song but almost the whole thing. That high note! One woman gets it spot-on every time, and towards the end the crowd splits into perfect harmonies. Wow.

Now, of course, people are wondering whether there's going to be an upsurge in the genre. The usual thing is happening; the man-thing, especially from white men, is rearing it's head. How dare there be reggae that is soft and (ahem) feminine? (even though there are loads of male Lover's Rock artists too). 

A Facebook thread praising the music and McQueen's film suddenly swerves into the more macho section of the film as more chaps start posting their comments on it. And a review of the film in The Guardian by Lanre Bakare slides into their own interest in blues house parties by the end of the article, leaving the powerful impact of the Lovers Rock section of the film behind.

Lover's Rock prioritises the voices of women in the Black community, and puts their music right the centre of British reggae. That's where their voices belong, and that's why McQueen's film has such meaning. Maybe you don't get to wear the badge, but for its fans whether from the community or not, it is not only just gorgeous music, but also a unique sub-genre that deserves a whole lot more than simply  'hear I am' recognition: it needs 'I am fantastic music' recognition too. 

Rant finis.

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