On behalf of the people of Liverpool, Writing on the Wall are proud to host a tribute to Benjamin Zephaniah, pioneering dub poet, lyricist, musician, and revolutionary, who passed away in December 2023, aged 65.

Liverpool was a special place to Benjamin. In the mind 1980’s, following a smear campaign by the S*n Newspaper, he was offered a year-long residency in Liverpool 8. He said the support meant a lot to him at difficult time. Benjamin was a regular guest at WoWFEST. He appeared alongside Levi Tafari and Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze in a celebration of Dub poetry called ‘Inna Liverpool with Friends’, delivered an unforgettable ‘Rebel Rant’ in St George’s Hall Concert Room; brought his band, The Revolutionary Minds to District for a high energy performance as part of WoW’s Black History Month celebrations, and launched his autobiography during WoWFEST at the Philharmonic Hall.

Benjamin was often described as the ‘People’s Poet’, a title earned through his brilliant poetry, his energy and connections he made wherever he went. He brought poetry down from the ivory towers, making it accessible to all. He became a household name, appearing on talk shows often as a political commentor, making his own TV programmes, and playing a preacher in the Peaky Blinders series. Popularity did not compromise his principles and he continued to speak truth to power, calling for social justice whether it be for Palestine, victims of racism, or the future of the planet.

This tribute to Benjamin will be hosted by Co-Director Madeline Heneghan and led by Citizen of Honour, poet Levi Tafari, Benjamin’s friend and collaborator over many decades. Michael Rosen, one of the nation’s most loved children’s author and poet, will join us to celebrate Benjamin’s life. There will be performances from a younger generation of Liverpool poets, including Amina Atiq, Blue Saint, and Claire Beerjeraz, who are part of Benjamin’s immeasurable legacy.

Event Date: Thursday 9th May 2024

Categories: Festival

Contact Details: Writing on the Wall, Tel: 0151 703 0020

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