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Respect Festival 2001

This open air free event was the first of many (we hope) to celebrate London's multiculturalism and make a stand against racism.

There was loads of good music. I was particularly disappointed to have missed seeing the Bhundu Boys and to have to leave before seeing Desmond Dekker. However, I still managed to catch lots of other good stuff, highlights being Courtney Pine and Run DMC.

Other festival snippets included acts like State of Bengal with their unique fusion of South Asian and Western music, and Ustad Shaggan with classical music from Pakistan. There was also some comedy on somewhere (which I never managed to find) and Cuban Dance company Danze Libre were apparently on the bill (again I never managed to stumble across them).

With all this great music, dance and stuff going on it was good to have reminders all around of what the festival was really about - uniting against racism.

There were moving words from some of Britain's victims of racism - from the family of Shiblu Rahman - murdered by racist thugs, from the family of Roger Sylvester, yet another young black man to die in police custody, and from Mary Wandia, an asylum seeker.

The banner said "hands off my friend" and we were urged by Lee Jasper and others to send a message to Tony Blair and other politicians that Asylum Seekers are welcome here.

All in all the festival was a great way to spend a few hours and I look forward to repeating the experience next year...



Click on a pic for more of the festival


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Respect 2001 - festival snippets




Courtney Pine
Courtney Pine

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