Hi guys this is my first blog about my hip-hop theatre project Up North. I was meant to write it last night but a lovely lady from Hip-hop Shakespeare blagged me into an Akala gig at the Jazz Cafe. So if you’re reading Akala, sorry I didn’t pay for a ticket, but I have bought lots of your CDs in the past so you have had some money from me. It was a wicked gig and was sold out (more than sold out with me there as well) and great to see conscious UK hip-hop alive and kicking. Special shout out to Mic Righteous who came on for the last track and tore it up.
Back to my project. I’m really excited that the workshop week is less than a month away and I’ve been having lots of phone conversations and meetings with Suzanne Gorman the director. Yesterday we met up to discuss casting and filming the project also. As an actor it was really interesting to be on the other side of the casting process, something I’ve only been involved in once before when I directed a short film. Most of the cast in this play is Black and it made me realise there really is a lot of Black talent (and competition!) out there, so I think it’s a tragedy that there aren’t more of us on our screens and stages. The Times They Are A-Changing though as Bob Dylan once said so hopefully on stage and screen talent will soon start to reflect society at large. And hopefully Up North can be part of that change.
I’m now off to Hamburg to meet the DJ from the project Supreme Frost. We have some recording commitments and a gig to do over the next few days but we will also be discussing the Up North project and booking his flights too.
Finally Akala reminded the crowd last night that yesterday was the anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s murder and held a 30 second silence. It really did make me realise that some things are Bigger Than Hip-hop. I hope to continue to use my music and writing as a way to raise awareness about injustice the world over.
Love, peace and hip-hop
Jonny Wright aka XYM
RIP Stephen Lawrence