Celebrate Wha? is a book of many voices. It is a book of questions and answers. It is an anthology of poems about identity and race, curried goat 'n' rice. Dreadlock Alien, Sue Brown, Marcia Calame, Evoke, Martin Glynn, Michelle Hubbard, Kokumo, Roy McFarlane, Chester Morrison and Moqapi Selassie explore what it means to be black and British and from the West Midlands. This is the English language in a Caribbean coat, Auden in a Creole accent, writing with a reggae rhythm. Celebrate Wha? is poetry as Wordsworth said it should be – 'the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings'. Mixing dub, grime and performance poetry, anger and laughter, politics and music, these ten poets know what they want to say and know how to say it.
Celebrate wha di abolishan ov slayvree afta mi nu mad afta mi nu krayzee. Celebrate wha di abolishan ov slayvree. As far as I kyan see Afrikanz still nu free I will not be defined by your babilownian terms or be infected by your laboratory–designed germs. I free I mind rom your intellectual captivity, your psychological chicanery, your political skulduggery. I will not be bound by your negative word sound. I am NO SLAVE. I have been ENSLAVED. I was a PRISONER OF WAR, captured and taken far, far, far, far away from where I iriginate: AFRIKA, to work and buil, work and build, work and build, and forced to create your brutal vicious unfair state. For I I planned and executed I escape dats why I can state I am not your stereotype I don't believe your hype dat in March 1807 the BRUTISH opened the gates of heaven and set InI foreparents free and abolished slayvree I for one will not be celebrating DAT bicentenary, when InI enslavers still cannot say dat magic word: SORRY, and after 500 years of subjugation brutality, raping killing pillage and depravity, THOSE EUROPEAN NATIONS still can't utter one word of apology when everyone can see InI peoples reality (ah wah dem tek dis ting fa?) still can't utter one word of apology when everyone can see InI peoples reality (ah wah dem tek dis ting fa?) I will not be writing eulogies for Wilberforce or Granville Sharpe, who you claim forced you to have a change of heart but instead I will utter righteous phrases and chant praises for ones like Haile Selassie I Marcus Garvey Paul Bogle George William Gordon Grani Nanny Sam Sharpe Tacko Boukman Touissant L'Ouverture Dessalines, Christophe Harriet Tubman Queen Nzinga Yaa Asantewaa Ya Kimpa Vita Kwame Nkrumah Amilcar Cabral Malcolm X Zumbi Martin Luther King Junior , Nelson Mandela and the countless nameless millions whose names never made it HISTORY OURSTORY CELEBRATE WHA!!!
'Speak English Woman!' The Queen's English you mean? Where the 'W' lies steadfast Emphasised And heightened in the speech When I speak? 'She speaks English. Is she British?' Like a porcelain bread and butter dish Yorkshire pudding A slice a beef with lashings of gravy type British? Perhaps you wish Me to present my airs and graces 'No need to be angry.' Then maybe you just think I'm Brutish I'm not angry Just hungry Dis is how mi tark Fa yu understan' mi wen mi tark like dis Though nothing English bout my Goat n Rice Nothing English bout my Rack of Spice Nothing English bout my bounce when I walk But dis is how mi wark Fa yu understan' wen mi wark like dis English has now become a word of wandering Perhaps a word of wanting Maybe needing Because you understand what you are reading My character is not part time A moment in time Or a pastime I speak English A Callaloo and Saltfish type British Though I may not be the full English I am real So here's the deal Perhaps one day, you and I can sit and together we can eat out the same dish
I've always wondered why Black people Came to Wolverhampton, That place just off the M6 In the middle of nowhere. Queen Victoria called it the Black Country, Black Country! Black people! Where else would we go? It's the place of the 'Yam, Yam'. Well Black people nyam yam, Sweet potatoes and tings. Yow spake funny, 'yam bostin'. We felt at home with people Who couldn't speak the Queen's English. The black and gold of the Wolves And myths of streets paved with gold Only to find Blacks and Irish on Waterloo Road. Migration is nothing new, just ask the Manders Those bloody foreigners Who moved across the Welsh border. So why did Enoch speak of forebode? River Tiber foaming with much blood When racism had already spilt our blood And look at the bronze Lady Wulfruna Like the statue of liberty Welcoming the poor and the needy Instead they were welcomed with closed doors, Cold looks and biting words In a bitter climate. I've always wondered why Black people Came to Wolverhampton That place just off the M6 In the middle of nowhere. Out of the darkness cometh light Roy McFarlane