A fascinating new branded documentary series by music platform Boiler Room explores how the immigration of Afro-Caribbeans to the U.K. in the 1950s, the so-called "Windrush Generation," had a major impact on British music culture.
Boiler Room teamed up with Amsterdam-based Pi Studios (We Are Pi's entertainment company) for the content series, which is available across Boiler Room’s social channels and streaming platform 4:3. It consists of four episodes, with the themes of "Arrival," "Racism," "Identity" and "Legacy," and includes footage from past and present, combining societal history with personal family anecdotes. Contributors include journalist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff of Gal Dem, dance music artist A Guy Called Gerald, first-wave punk artist Melodie and her daughters, members of Skinny Girl Diet , as well as young photographer Rhianne Clarke, activist Charlie Wilson and up-and-coming musician Fredwave .
The series was directed by Jeremy Cole, while Pi Studios created the concept and co-produced the series with London-based production company My Accomplice.
Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock, head of Pi Studios and executive producer of Migrant Sound, comments: “With this series, we wanted to subvert what a music show could do and change the discourse around Windrush in the process. We've given the topic a new young perspective both in terms of style and narrative so that it will hopefully attract audiences beyond music lovers."
It's part of a wider campaign by Boiler Room titled "System," which aims to celebrate migration in a positive light at a time when anti-immigration feelings are riding high in Europe. In particular, the Windrush generation has been in the U.K. news this summer when it emerged that some migrants who arrived on the "Windrush" boat in the 1950s had later been threatened with deportation as they lacked documentation.
In a similar spirit, Spotify previously released its "I'm With the Banned" campaign, which gave a platform and support to refugee artists who had been affected by recent U.S. travel policies.