Documentary which tells the story of the renowned reggae record shop owner and music producer Blacker Dread, his extended family, friends and the wider Brixton community.
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You're going to make me start crying now. I'm trying not to cry.
I'm trying my best not to cry, yeah?
But these people are going to make me cry.
This programme contains very strong language.
I think so... Oh, no, I made that one.
-Oh, Leon, have you seen the handbag?
-Yeah, all this...everything here is what's going tomorrow.
-And on the floor?
-See the handbags?
-Her sewing machine, her handbag.
This is the most devastating time in my life.
I thought when I lost my son I could never feel this way again,
but this, in a different way, is even worse.
This is the woman that brought me here,
this is the woman that I've known for 55 years of my life.
I don't know what I'm going to do without you, Mama,
but I love you so much, from your son.
This is a film that started with a funeral...
-Morning, morning, morning, morning.
..the funeral of Pauline Celestine Martin...
Big ladies, boy!
..whose favourite colour was red.
She'd come from Jamaica in 1962 and died here in south London,
leaving her grandchildren and children behind.
Her eldest son, Steve, also known as Blacker,
was someone I'd featured in a
student documentary when we were both 19.
-Good morning. Hello, Molly.
-Good morning, Miss Molly.
-How are you this morning?
He'd asked me to film his mother's funeral, but what neither of
us realised then was that a series of dramatic events in Blacker's life
would keep me filming with him for the next three years.
Everybody goes to the church.
If... Can everybody get in a car or something?
We're all hanging around and we need to get in the buses and coach and
everywhere, so we can move.
I feel like I'm... I feel like I'm at roller skating, cos it's like this
big disco ball.
MUSIC: Amazing Grace
# I shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary... #
The cortege travelled past
significant places in the family's life,
including the iconic record shop
Blacker had had in Brixton for 21 years.
Blacker's mother had come to England alone, but she died leaving behind
94 grandchildren and great-grandchildren who clearly
loved her, as did the community.
Over 700 came to celebrate her life,
led by Blacker's sisters and brother.
# I wanna shake my hand with the elder
# I wanna tell all the people, "Good morning"... #
Relatives had even come from the family home -
St Thomas, Jamaica - to pay their respects.
# When I view the last sunset
# And I cross over that sea
# I know sunrise will be waiting for me. #
SOUL MUSIC PLAYS
For three and a half hours, there were performances, hymns,
prayers and tributes.
But it was a story told by a local pastor in his tribute that made me
realise what had been happening in this community,
and how influential a figure Blacker had become.
I want to tell you something, and the reason I'm here today
because Steven, known as Blacker,
he's been a great inspiration to me in my life and I'd
do anything for him.
We don't talk a lot, but there's one thing that he did for me when I just
came out of jail, and those of you
who know John Wayne and the policeman, he had this thing for me,
and I was unlicensed and I got nicked.
And Blacker held on to my hand when all the police were looking at me,
trying to grab me and put me in the van, and Blacker said, "You're not, you can't take him."
They couldn't touch me.
I'm saying this to say that, where did he get that courage from?
Where did he get this conviction from?
It was from his mother.
And I want to say to all the Martin families that are here,
please hear these words,
do not look at yourself as someone that's of insignificance.
Know who you are - you are leaders in this community.
May you walk in peace and unity with each other.
May you walk through a community with your head lifted up high.
JAMAICAN MUSIC PLAYS
-Mind your heads, mind your heads.
REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS
I got a lift to the graveyard from an old friend of Blacker's,
Naptarli, who'd been put in charge of clearing the roads
for the cortege.
-You'd be a great getaway driver, Naptarli.
-You were? HE LAUGHS
-Life story, let him tell you his life story.
-She knows my life story.
-Not in such detail. You were a getaway driver?
-You will know it,
you will know it, you will know all of it.
Tell me about when you were a getaway driver.
Um, that's when I used to do armed robbery, I used to be an armed
robber, many, many years ago. I used to be an armed robber.
Banks and post offices and building societies, and that's...
But I was driving from when I was 13 years of age.
-In this country?
-In this country, yeah.
You know, and I just got the knack of driving and
just this "don't care" attitude that I've got.
It gets me into trouble but that was just how I was, you know?
That was just how I was.
Naptarli was obviously an appropriate choice as the escort.
The procession travelled unhindered through the rush-hour traffic.
You could blow a little more.
Keep it clear, please. Go out of the way, please.
Let us bow our heads in prayer, please.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the life of this great woman.
We thank you, Lord, also for the family that was able to share
the blessings of her life. And we will say amen.
A few weeks later, I went around to see Blacker.
He dug out some old family photographs.
I'll see if the bag has any goodies in it.
-The bag of goodies.
These are Mummy's archives.
So let's see what Mummy saved up over all these donkeys of years.
This car here, Miss Molly, see this car here?
..that's the only car number plate I have remembered all my life.
This is the car that picked me up when I came to England.
Austin Cambridge, Daddy's car.
2290 UR, and I remember that.
Do you remember that feeling of him picking you up?
Yes, I'll always remember that feeling.
I didn't... It was so cold, because I came to England in some little short
clothes, some little short clothes and no jacket or nothing, and it was
cold, and I'm saying, "Why did we come to this place here?"
And I think I said to my sister on that day,
"Sis, I want to go home, and I will go home and I have to go home.
"I'm not staying here. I don't want to be here."
I didn't know my mum, I didn't know my dad.
Dad left Jamaica when I was about two and a half,
and Mum must've left me when I was
about eight, nine months old, cos Mum came first and Dad came after.
And there was this horrible moment,
very horrible, I don't want to say this on camera, but there was this
horrible moment in the car,
and I remember saying to my sister,
"Who is this, who is this woman?"
Cos I was just so mad, I was like a little terror. "Who is this woman?"
And she said, "That's your mum." I said, "That's not my mum. I don't know her."
And my mum, I think my mum cried.
She was so upset, and maybe that's why I ended up loving her so much,
cos that's always stuck with me forever, that I didn't know Mummy
when I came to England. I never knew her.
Never, ever knew her.
Back in the 1980s when I first met Blacker,
I was making a film about the underground network of Jamaican
sound systems playing around the UK.
DUB MUSIC PLAYS
In halls all over the country, teams would arrive,
string up vast speaker boxes and play exclusive reggae music to
At the time, Blacker was a rising star in that world.
The sound business is funny.
It's not, it's not who's carrying the swing on the die, really, that's
the best sound, it's who can keep it up.
Blacker went on to become a hugely successful reggae producer with his
-own label, Blacker Dread Music.
-I'm on my way over to you.
30 years later,
he was still producing music, and I went with him to deliver his latest
track to radio DJ Seani B.
-What are you saying?
-Hello, who's this?
-This is Molly.
-Filming a documentary.
-Oh, you're filming a documentary?
-Well, go on.
-Welcome to the team.
-About Blacker Dread.
-The boss, this is, you know.
When you look at emcees like Stormzy, Wiley, Chip,
all these kind of emcees in grime music,
it started out with a man like this.
Where everything has to have a seed, you understand what I'm saying?
And even though it may have flowered and grown in a different manner,
you know where the seed comes from,
and the seed comes from Jamaican sound system culture,
and one of the spearheads, columns in the UK of this culture
is this man right here.
DUB MUSIC PLAYS
With the success of his label,
Blacker then set up his record shop in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton.
I dropped into Blacker's shop in 2012, during the Olympics,
when Jamaica was dominating the headlines.
World record! World record!
The shop had become a focal point in Brixton, and Blacker had
become a leading figure in his community.
He went on to work with the authorities, helping create huge
local events like Brixton Splash,
where up to 40,000 people came every year.
Blacker still has his shop, and we arranged to meet down there with his
old friend Naptarli, who'd driven me at the funeral.
-This is Brian Alfonso Rancus.
-No, that's a spurious name he's calling me by, Mo.
-That's a very spurious name.
-Brian Alfonso Rancus, yeah.
My name is Naptarli, Brian Bedford, but Naptarli is my street name.
This is a name that he's just conjured out of his brain.
-Are you an Englishman?
-Am I an Englishman?
So what are you talking like an Englishman for?
Because sometimes I do, because I'm able to do that, I sometimes feel...
..I feel comfortable doing it, cos I've been doing it for many years.
-Not chatting like me, chat like you.
-I can chat like me!
-You do say... You drift in and out.
-Ah, you see? You're a drifter.
-But I'm talking for you, I'm not talking...
-You're a hybrid.
Well, that's it, I'm talking for her.
For her or whoever is the audience behind the camera.
-All right, I hear you, mate.
-He's a John now, isn't he?
-He's not like me, innit? He's not Brian any more, he's John.
-You need your glasses, mate.
-John, I don't know what he's talking about.
-Need a glasses to be a Brian, mate.
-Glasses to be a Brian.
-Did you lock your car?
-No, we don't lock car out here.
-We don't lock our cars around here.
-I don't lock my car around here.
-Not around here.
-Can I be here 21 years and still lock my car?
-No, there's no point.
-What about parking tickets?
-We don't worry about that.
-We don't get...
Parking wardens, they don't give us any problems.
We've got a man that's in there with a garage.
-There's a man about a dog there.
-He's a man about... Yeah.
REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS When I got to the shop,
Blacker's older sister June was helping out.
Yeah. It might look like it's closed, but it's not, all right?
What no-one had actually told me was the shop was being packed up and was closing down.
-Seriously, Blacker, you're going for real?
-It's a lot of spending money here.
-So what do you need to do?
-Where's the human chain, then?
-He can't...he can't go.
-Why is he going?
-I don't know.
No, man. What good if I come here today?
-Why does it matter to you so much?
Because Blacker Dread's shop is part of the community.
Very much so.
People would want to help, man, seriously.
What wasn't clear was why the shop
was closing and where Blacker was going.
One way of finding out was to go and mind his car.
-How was it?
-Yeah, yeah, everything is great.
-It's not a good job for a lady of your status, ma'am.
Blacker, where are you going?
-My suspicion is you're not going on a yoga camp.
-And you're not going to Jamaica.
But you're going away somewhere, which is requiring a lot of
-preparation of life.
-Yep. That's right.
That is perfectly true.
-What a nightmare.
-Yeah, a nightmare.
I've allowed some things to happen in my life that I should not have
allowed, and it's come up on top.
Made some people do some things that
should've known better,
but they fucked me over.
-Because they fucked me over. You know what I mean?
-Is it serious?
Yep. Serious, serious shit.
Can I ask what or not?
Somebody's led me into a predicament, and now I have to face
the consequences of that predicament.
I'm just one of those people that just gets on with my life.
You know what I mean? I'm just one of them youths that, I've never done
-anything, I don't do anything, I don't do...
-What do you mean?
-I don't do anything.
-I don't do anything.
-What do you mean, you don't do anything? You mean bad stuff?
Yeah, I don't do anything, I'm the type of person that don't do
anything. I'm always the one trying to encourage people not to do shit.
-That's what I've always done.
-Yeah, well, I heard that at the funeral.
And giving people advice. But I'm just a human being and I make
mistakes, and if I make a big one then it affects me, and it's going
to affect everyone else, so I have to just stand up and face my
judgment. And on Friday I will go to face my judgment,
and when I face that, I will start
my countdown from that moment,
whatever happens in my life, but it will change everything.
Blacker had been found guilty of money laundering.
He'd allowed large amounts of money, stolen by someone else, to be hidden
in his bank account.
He was due to be sentenced at the end of the week. SIREN
-Yeah, just doing some work.
People just use this as an iconic place for them. They don't know
the business of what it takes to keep it going.
They're not bothered about what makes it, what keeps it going,
they just want to know that they've got a little place that they can
say, "This is Brixton, still."
It's sad he's going, isn't it?
Yeah, it's very sad, it's like a cornerstone, you know?
-Not like a cornerstone...
-Matter of fact, he's not like a cornerstone, he IS a cornerstone.
From he's gone there now,
we usually come to Brixton and you say, "Blacker Dread", and you come
to Blacker Dread, you say, "Go and link Blacker Dread."
You know exactly where to go.
Everybody wants a bit of him.
So what's going to happen when they can't have him?
It's going to be like you've lost a great aunt or a great uncle...
..cos everyone, all the children, it's "Uncle".
-Whether they belong to us or not. It's "Uncle".
So what's going to happen now that he's not going to be around
-for a while?
-And he's a figurehead.
And will they know why he's not around?
Um, the majority of them won't,
cos it's not something you're going to advertise, is it, really?
I replied to him and said, "Well, you know..."
It would be Blacker's first prison sentence.
Martin and his shopping.
What happens about your locks inside?
-Nothing. Mine is mine.
-You're just allowed to keep them?
It's mine. Of course, they're mine.
When did you last cut your hair?
From the moment I was free of the shackles and the chains,
and I didn't have to have parental fuss-pottery.
So I've never had a haircut since I was 14.
-You don't let it out much, do you? I noticed...
-No, no, no, in England I
don't let it out, because people get kind of, "Oh, my gosh, it's so
"long! I've never seen anything like that before, can I touch it?"
"No, you can't." "Please, can I touch it?" "No, you cannot.
"Ma'am, you cannot touch my hair. OK, let's make a deal,
"I allow you to touch my hair if you allow me to touch your breast.
"Is that a good compromise?" "No, no, no, no, no!"
-I think that's a slightly strange one.
-But that's what I'm trying to say...
..your breast is personal to you,
as a woman, and you hold it as a private part of your life.
-Can I see how long now?
-Can YOU see?
I don't want to touch, I just want to see.
OK, now that's maybe a different request, then.
Yeah, I wouldn't dream of saying, "Can I touch?"
Especially not under the circs of what you've just said. HE LAUGHS
See, it works every time.
I don't mind my locks being shown, cos it's mine, and I have no
problems with showing my locks, because it is a part of me.
And some of them have been there for 40 years, cos these are the original
ones from day one.
Yeah. This is original from day one.
Do you wear them out in Jamaica? You say you don't wear them...
It's just to get the chicks going, that's why you do that.
No, man, no chicks are around there, man. And then, when you flash them and flash them, the water just
flies, and then I take them and I spin them. Like this.
And by about one hour, they're dry, and I get some olive
oil and put it in it, you know? So that's all I do.
That's it. That's why, you know,
any time when I have them out, I just do this
and put them in my pocket.
While I was at Blacker's,
Naptarli turned up to show him the new car he's managed to lease.
He wants to start a legitimate career as a chauffeur.
-Looking at all the hits on the car.
That's the accident that they hit me. I'm waiting for my insurance.
-I don't care! And this tyre...
-This is all one accident.
-And this up here as well is another accident,
-What? There's no accident there. That's chipped.
-That's not an accident, brother.
-So what is this, then?
-That's where somebody grazed me.
-No, man. I'm not accepting that, man.
-What's wrong with this brother?
The first time you were inebriated, you broke that.
Broke what? No, that's nothing to do with that, Steve. That isn't inebriation.
Let me tell you what that is. That's parking on the kerb, too close to the kerb.
Could it be something to do with your glasses?
-Yeah, we need to buy you a pair of glasses.
-No, Mo. No, Mo.
-Why you driving with them?
-Because they allow me to, they say I can drive with them.
-No, no, no, no, no, reading glasses are reading
-glasses, my brother.
-Here's why they're reading. This part here is for the reading.
-This part here is for seeing.
-Yeah, but you're always looking out that part, down the bottom.
-I'm looking down to see over the top of the glasses.
-You need...you just need a proper glasses, bruv.
-It is a proper glass!
And then you've got the bloody hat on, that's covering your eyes as well.
-If it's not the hat, it's the towel.
Naptarli and Blacker have been close friends since they were 13,
but they've led very different lives.
-When did that happen?
-I forgot, tell me.
December '88, when I got shot by the police.
Excuse the holes in my vest, it's a work vest.
..and over here.
That's quite a serious one.
It would be, it's a gunshot. They're all gunshot wounds.
What, it went straight through the arm and out the other side?
Yeah, and along there.
Tell us the story, Naptarli.
It's a simple story.
-Armed robbery, I used to be an armed robber,
and on our last escapade we went in and demanded money,
and we came running out and the Barnes police,
Barnes robbery squad was there, waiting for us.
And a gun battle ensued between us and the police,
and two police officers got shot and three of us got shot.
And I'm here to tell the tale.
But does it not make you feel a bit of a shit, scaring someone?
No, not really, not...
Not then. In those days I was...I didn't really care less. I just was
looking out for me and myself.
-You know, and...
-You feel different now?
-Yeah, we used to smoke cocaine in those
days, so we used to,
we were high up on cocaine, as in fearless.
So, because we were fearless,
anything comes, anything goes.
Didn't really worry about it.
What's the price you've paid, though?
Spending time away from my...
..loved ones, and missed out on the growing up of my children.
Missed growing up with them.
-Grandfather, what are you doing?
-Yeah, I'm running from the camera.
More of Blacker's old friends have turned up to help dismantle the shop.
The camera there, see one there, see one there.
They're all around. You can't hide.
-This is Grandfather.
-My agent told me I have to cover up.
-These are your agents.
REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS
How long have you known them, as a family?
I've known them 40-odd.
He's really caught up at the moment.
You know? And trying to come to terms with the loss.
In time he will get there, but at the moment he's...you know?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But it's a sad thing, you know?
Especially when we are saying how you're close to that individual,
you know? Cos he's just getting over his son...
His son also died as well.
You know, and he's getting over that, and then his mum here now,
-so it's a double for him, you know?
-What's going on, my soldier?
-Yeah? You're getting big, man. Yeah, man.
How did he lose his son?
Some street battle.
Street, you know?
Oh, let's see that.
And he walks with me, wherever I go.
-You see what I'm saying?
-That's a fantastic shirt.
It's like a war wound, you understand?
You go to the war and it's there, you know?
-This bag is yours?
-Yeah, you can manage this as well, at the same time?
Now wasn't the right time to ask Blacker about Solomon.
I knew he'd been killed violently on the streets, but I wondered why
Blacker had called it a war wound.
What it is, right, I was on a building site, yeah?
We're not getting racial, right, but I was on a building site and a white
man said to me that, "The other day I took up a magazine, and I read the
"magazine and it was an article with the National Front,
"and you know what the National Front said?"
He said, "Thank God for the Yardies."
So I'm thinking, "Why would he say that?"
"Because we don't have to do black people anything no more,
"they're doing themselves harm.
"We don't have to be killing black people or going and burning down
"their houses or offending black people."
It's a black-on-black thing, what's happening now.
The black youths don't respect their culture or their skin. They need
to start going into their culture and get to know their culture.
You get me? They need to start learning about their culture.
They know nothing about their culture.
They know nothing about Africa, they know nothing about the West Indies.
They need to know where their parents came from and the struggle they went through.
I wanted to ask June about Solomon but an old friend of her mother's was
I thought it was June that was your girlfriend.
What's your profession?
-What do you do?
-He's retired, he's an OAP, darling.
-Yeah, but what was it?
-He used to...
Engineering, engineer, Post Office.
British Telecom, stop it.
I had the best time with Post Office, Government.
I'm living happy.
When we came here, England was England.
Third and fourth generation, no love at all, no love.
They're not like we. We would pass and say good morning, good evening.
They're not like we.
Will you tell me about Solomon, what he was like?
-She can tell you.
-As a person?
-Oh, go on.
-It's too emotional for me.
-It is very emotional for you, though.
-You were very close to him?
And although it's been...it's ten years this year...
I know, cos Steve's still got the DVD and he's never watched it.
-Yeah, I've never watched it either.
-I've never watched it either.
-Of his funeral. And I've never, ever watched it.
How was he killed?
-They shot him.
-He was shot in his head.
-In the head.
-Did they ever find out who did it?
Up until today, it's an unsolved case.
Is anyone trying to solve it?
I borrowed the DVD from Blacker and found that his mother had delivered
the graveside eulogy.
We just want to thank you for Solomon's life.
We know we can't do nothing for him now.
You said there's no repentance in the grave or pardon offering to the dead
so we have got to pray for the ones that are left behind.
Lord, my family is very, very large and you know, I know,
and everybody knows, and I pray God for them, especially for the young men.
Lord, I pray that you'll take them off the streets.
I pray God that you'll let them be at home where they belong.
I pray, Heavenly Father, that you'll touch their hearts,
touch their lives, Lord, and turn things around.
And I ask you, Heavenly Father, that you will take full control of their
lives. We don't want to see any more young men like this.
I see. Everybody's in one
grave, then? Everyone's in one grave, then?
With Mummy? Yeah. We've got Daddy, he was number one.
Solomon's on top of him. And then Mummy's on top of them.
They're all down there together.
..father Martin and son Martin.
-When's Solomon's anniversary?
-31st of December, it will be ten years to the day.
Ten years to the day.
I think the longer it is, just the worse it gets.
They shoot him. Drive-by killing.
They set him up and shoot him.
But the law don't care.
You know what I mean? I've never had a conversation with the police in charge of the case.
What did he do, Solomon? What was his thing?
Solomon was a street youth. He'd been away,
done a robbery, got some time for it.
He came out in December and died in December, so it's not like he had a chance
to even change his life if he wanted to.
He didn't get the opportunity to wake up one morning and feel the spirit
of the Almighty hold him and say, "Come, son, I'll take you home."
24, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I never took any exams at school.
-My knowledge is of the street.
I don't know if I'm academically wise. I know I'm streetwise and I learned
my education from the ghetto college of education, further education.
It's called ghetto-ology.
And do you think there's a freedom in that or a price to pay?
You pay the price of probably missing out on the opportunities of
being a part of the so-called society.
I grew up in the '70s and '80s, you know.
There was no opportunity for us.
It was token black time, when token blacks were given token jobs.
-You don't think it's different now?
-You ask all the youths in the community around Brixton if it's any different now.
Don't ask me. I had my chance and I did what I did.
But you ask the youths, because when they grow up and they're telling their story like I am,
they're going to say the 2000s,
2010 to 2020 were the hardest times in the history of England.
How much youths were dying, how much youths were in jail, how much youths couldn't get jobs.
Do you want a hug? Do you want a hug?
Where are you? Upstairs?
Yes. I'm downstairs eating my breakfast.
OK, you make your own breakfast now?
Blacker's youngest son, JJ, goes to school in Jamaica, where he lives with his mother, Maureen.
Sorry, excuse me, sir.
You see me make my breakfast every morning. There's no difference to this morning, is there, Daddy?
No. No, son.
That's the sound of Brixton.
-And how often do you talk to them?
Every single day.
-Why does he...?
Why have you got a son who goes to school in Jamaica?
Because of England. England has messed up a couple of my other children,
they end up in prison now, whatever, but the system, their oppression,
all kind of crap, saying he's a bad child, he's this, he's that,
he's the other.
And now he's in Jamaica, he's an A student.
So what does that tell me as a father?
They had actually told us... The school in
the UK told us that Jahmel does not belong in a mainstream school.
They said that you have some children that cannot deal with mainstream
schools and Jahmel is one of them.
-So, you know, what do you do? So if my child stayed in the UK,
he would have ended up in a pupil referral unit full-time.
When I was 13, I was...
..I got involved with some wayward people at school that were...
-They were unruly like myself.
-And we just did silly things and I never got a chance to finish
school because of my waywardness at school and so I ended up in the
children's home and...
-Why? Where were your parents?
-Well, they were here, they did their best. But you know when you buck up
with some people and then you don't want to listen to what Mum is saying
any more, you know, and before you realise it is too late.
-Then what happened to you?
Children's home. Detention centre.
To prison. Ten years in prison then two years in prison in France.
-So if you've only been out for three years...?
But before that you were in for how long?
-For two years.
-And then before that for ten years.
-He was knighted?
Knighted? Yes, that would be nice!
He was a naughty boy. He was a bad boy.
All right, all right, all right.
Tomorrow morning, Blacker goes for sentencing.
Word's got out.
-I saw you.
-Love you to the max.
-All right? Sorry about that.
-Yeah, man, respect.
-God bless you.
-I'm going to come look for you, all right?
Can you take me in the morning?
Yeah, you going to come to my house?
No, cos I've got no transport.
-I won't have no transport.
-Get you from where?
-The Vale. It's on the way.
-It's not on the way.
-Are you going as well?
-Of course I'm going.
-Why do so many of you go?
-Because you've got a family and you've got a support system and
those kinds of things, you know what I mean?
Like, a lot of people, when they are facing these things, they don't have anyone.
It's just them.
One and God. But he's got family and people that care, innit?
Some of the family have come round to be with Blacker on his last night at home.
Five, six, seven, eight, nine pairs of socks.
-June, why are you doing all of this?
-Why are you doing all this?
I'm listing so he knows what's in there.
They're packed to go,
like you're packing on a holiday and that. It's not holiday, you know?
Yeah, and you're forced to go to a place where you don't want to go.
Have you ever been in one of those places?
More than I would like to count.
-I ironed my underpants and my vest.
No, his mother does these things.
Look in my drawer, I ironed my underpants, I ironed everything.
I ironed my sheets,
I ironed my pillowcases and my towel, if you don't watch it, as well.
Daddy's got OCD.
Why? I don't know, it's just what I do.
I didn't think of... Is it not normal?
I don't know what normal is, Dad, but...
I don't know nobody else that iron...
-So, you don't iron your underpants?
-No! What for?
People don't iron socks.
You take your socks out, you put them down like this,
and you go like that and you roll them and you sit them down.
My baby brother, sometimes I have to love you cos you iron your socks.
Oh, my God, my brother irons his socks! Oh, God!
You never seen it?
-Yo, sis, put down that bag.
-Come on, baby, get in.
REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS
-How are you?
-No, I'm all right.
Who were you talking to, Blacker?
And what did he say to you?
So, it's a shock.
So he said tears are coming down his face.
She's getting married in Jamaica, and Daddy's not going to be there to give her away.
It's Corinne who's about to get married.
She's one of Blacker's elder daughters and a probation officer.
Ebony is another of his daughters.
In fact, quite a few of Blacker's children have come.
Remember, her mum said that we mustn't come in, innit.
The judge sentenced Blacker to two and a half years
and in his summing-up dismissed him as a failure.
You've failed, you've failed and you've failed again.
You know what, he needs to not take in those words.
No, he hasn't failed, that's his opinion.
He doesn't know him from nowhere.
No, but listen, someone so stupid that the fact they think Dad was the instigator.
Do you know how stupid that sounds?
I don't think that word "failure"...
-I don't think he's failed.
-..should penetrate. That's what I'm saying.
He'll be out next week. Next year, June.
See, look at that. Fuck me,
-that's all right.
-Well, that's it, isn't it?
-It is what it is.
-It is what it is.
So he only has to look after his ass for a couple of months, a year.
For a year. For a couple of months. Look after himself.
Are you crying? Stop it. Please, stop it.
There's times when I'm at home and I think about him, and my mind goes to
him, and I think, "Fucking hell, Steve."
You know, what he's going through in there now, where he is.
Because I've been in the same place many a time, so I know that part of it.
I feel that pain.
There's times when I know even as a man he will sit down,
and because he's there he will sit down and cry.
He will cry. To himself, when there's no-one around.
For Naptarli, it's now life on the outside that's the struggle.
I only washing up.
And he waits for me to come home from work at half past six to cook, sometimes seven.
Cos she does it so nice.
It turns out he can't get a licence to be a chauffeur because of his criminal record.
As the man I have to help provide,
and not providing how I should be providing.
And it hurts me to...
Because I feel inadequate.
Is this just, as it were, sort of just deserts,
that you sit here thinking, "Shit, now what?"?
What would you say to that?
I know you will have something to say.
Life is not fair, is it? Life ain't fair.
Life is not fair. I did what I did.
I paid for what I did.
I paid for what I did.
I was incarcerated for many years.
And that's my just deserts.
So, now, I'm still a human being and I'm still alive,
so what are you going to do with me?
Are you going to make me live and be dependent on you?
Fend for yourself.
But because of your situation, we've taken away your liberty
from you and we just dropped you in...
..in a pond, now, for want of a better word.
You need assistance to get going and be straight like everyone else.
Cos if you don't straighten up like everyone else, then you just end up back where you was.
I miss him.
And, like, here,
I'm in his home looking after his bits and pieces.
Every time I turn around there's Mum and my dad sitting on one wall,
there's Solomon on the other wall, and there's Steve sitting up there,
and they're all smiling at me and I'm not in a very smiley mood.
Were you this involved with Blacker before all this began?
Were you around and helping him?
Do you know, he was my baby.
And I was there.
I was there from the beginning, and he was our baby brother.
Jean and my baby brother.
He would have been ten...
I think he'd only be about eight when he got here, and his dream was to go home.
It's always to go back to Jamaica and live in Jamaica.
Not stay here indefinitely,
die here or anything like that.
And the only reason why Steve did not go was because of Mummy.
His heart was never in England.
He left his heart in Jamaica when he was a child and came here.
Cos he had no choice.
Is the house that your mum lived in still there?
Yes, cos my sister... Oh, my sister made me laugh.
She said... Cos when we were little
this house was like a huge, phenomenal thing to us as little ones.
And my sister said to me, she said, "You know what? Mum's house that we thought was so grand
"is just like a shack."
My grandfather's house, which was like...
..huge to me when I was little, she said, "It's a shack."
The home they left behind all those years ago is here in the parish of
Saint Thomas, Jamaica.
So, this is all the family plot?
Is Blacker's mum's, Pauline's old house?
No, it's where my great-grandmother used to live.
Some of the family still live here now.
In fact, June's son Nicky is living here at the moment and he's brought me out here.
That's Anne Marie.
So, this is... Whose place is this, then?
And down there is Steve Martin.
That's what he left. Who lives there now?
I've got a cousin staying in there.
The main reason I'd come out to Jamaica
was to meet Blacker's son JJ, who I'd only met on Skype.
Don't worry, I'll play another one, hopefully I'll win that.
Is this going to go on BBC News?
Well, I think it'll probably go on prime-time television.
-Yeah, you playing your game.
-I think so.
-What, like, everybody in the world's going to see it?
What are you going to do when you grow, do you think?
-What would you like to do?
-I would want to be a wrestler.
I would want to be a wrestler.
My other profession would be a footballer,
if I don't get to do that.
You don't want to follow your academic work?
Well, if I had to, I will.
-You're so clever.
-I know. Thank you.
JJ lives in Kingston, which is two hours from the family plot.
Some people get a ride on the back or front of the car.
They don't want to pay you, though.
LOUD REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS
-30 for them?
-Yeah, 60 you get two.
-Come on, man, 20 for them.
You want bagjuice? 20 for bagjuice?
In two days' time, JJ has to sit entrance exams for secondary school.
And when you get those good grades that you're proud of and you turn
around and say you didn't think that you could do it but you did,
just remember that feeling.
I didn't say I didn't think I could do it.
Remember the feeling you had when we looked at your report card the other day?
-And you got what?
91.2, I know I could do it.
-What did you get?
But I wasn't surprised, because I knew I could do that, but I know I can do better.
-You can do better.
I can get 100% if I focus more.
So, I don't think you're going to be a wrestler.
Well, I could be, cos you have to use your brain to be a wrestler.
You have to know what moves, when to do it.
So, everything you have to use your brain
when you're doing it, like how to pour a bag of sugar into a pot,
you have to put the exact amount.
That's where I put my science book.
You know the work that you've done in those extra books that she gave you,
-and you need to bring back those books.
-I have to do extra work.
Extra work pays off!
How long has he been at school out here?
This month makes four years.
One thing that Jamaica has taught him is that
he's not different.
He's not different. He is a normal boy that has lots of energy.
That's like a lot of the boys out here.
In the UK...
..he was being taught that he's not normal.
They thought he had ADHD, they thought he was autistic,
they thought he was this, that... He was just rude.
He was just rude, rude, rude, rude, rude.
-But I had brains.
he's always had a brain, because he knew how to wind the teachers up.
-This is in England?
And because the teachers are powerless to do anything
because your government over there has made them powerless to do things,
so they can't even touch a child,
cos if they touch a child then they're frightened of losing their job,
then of course the children are going to run wild.
That's what he done, he ran wild.
I kicked a teacher.
-Yeah, I remember that.
And I got... It's like in an article, and Daddy had to come for me.
He was cursing all the way home.
When he was going to mainstream school,
practically every day apart from maybe one or two days a week...
..they called us in to come and pick him up.
Do you feel here, too, do you feel the teachers are more interested in you here?
Well, yeah. Like, they might be hard on you, but they're more interested of you helping...
They want to help you get somewhere.
So, if they want you to help get somewhere,
as well as teaching you the work, they want you to have, like...
They want you to have behaviour so when you grow up you know your manners
and respect for elder people, so you can say please and thank you and hello and good morning.
So they teach you discipline at the same time as they teach you the work.
So it's a good thing.
But England, they didn't teach me that.
All they taught me was my behaviour, I wasn't anything good.
And I was believing it, but when I came to Jamaica I realised that what they were saying was not true.
-And who is this?
-My sister, Colleen, Dad's daughter.
This is just your morning costume?
-You look fab.
Oh, gosh! Good morning.
Good morning! Good morning!
-What are you doing, baby?
-I'm waiting on you.
-Are you going to come?
You got your bag, you got everything?
No. Not got everything.
I haven't got everything.
You were sitting in there on the phone
and you haven't even done your wallet, you haven't put on your watch.
So, you are not ready, and I'm ready to go through the door.
-You were sitting on your phone, Jahmel.
That's why I'll take the phone away from you.
Because if you don't know when to put down the phone and look about
getting yourself ready, I will take the phone away from you.
All right? This is what I keep on saying.
It's a distraction, and until you know how to use it responsibly, I won't let you have it.
That's fair enough, right?
Bye, Jahmel, see you at school.
What about Jahmel? At the moment, does he know or not?
No. No, no, no, he doesn't.
And he's not going to until his father is ready to tell him.
We've discussed it and we've said,
yes, he does need to know, but he doesn't need to know now.
-And it's going to be a conversation that him and his father will have,
because his father is going to have to explain to him
what he'd done, what he'd done wrong.
You know, why it was wrong, and this is what happened to him
because of the wrong that he done. But then for Jahmel to process that,
he's going to be seeing his father in the flesh.
Maureen, how is it for you?
Yeah, for me, put it this way. I think I can talk for...
It's not just me, it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what background you are,
I don't think anybody sets out to end up in jail.
I don't think anybody does.
When you think about life and the things we've done in life,
you know, even if it's to do with the taxman, you're fiddling a bit of tax.
Now, I know people have got their business,
you know, it's about getting a good accountant.
When you've got a good accountant
then you're trying to pay the least amount of tax as possible.
Technically, that's illegal, if you think about it, but we all do it.
Because it's about surviving. It's about surviving.
Because life is hard, so, sometimes things come your way,
an opportunity comes your way and...
..you think about it...
..for a split second, and you just probably think about the glory side of it
but you're not really thinking about "what if..."
And it's that split second that you say, "All right, gonna try a ting."
And you try that ting and you're going to say, "Yeah, if it work, it go nice."
And, you know, if it works, it's going to be nice and nobody's going to be none the wiser.
But if it doesn't work...
..your whole world can be blown apart.
And that's what it is.
It's the difference between, "Yes, I'm going to do it," "No, I'm not." Simple.
And it was a yes or no decision. He went with a yes.
And that's it. And then your whole world gets turned upside down
just because you said yes.
And that's what life is about, life is about choices.
Back in London, Naptarli has managed to get a job driving a van for an agency.
At the moment he's delivering to charity shops.
-My name is Brian.
Thank you, Brian. Very helpful.
-Now, where's the bloody key?
-Why do you enjoy it?
I'm giving back. I feel like I'm, you know, helping out...
..from society, so to speak,
as a man who spent a portion of his life taking.
It's all in a day's work.
-Hi, is this the right time that I can talk to you?
Well, you can, in a way, yes, you can, but...
Yes. You do remember the conversation that we had...
-..regarding... ..regarding the arrears.
Right, OK, yes.
So, as of now, as of today the arrears are £3,352.49.
Yep, I'm hearing this. Jesus.
OK. So, we want you to
come to some kind of payment plan where you can actually start paying more.
Obviously, yes. Yeah, I would imagine that, yeah.
What do you work as?
I'm a driver.
OK, and how many hours do you work?
It depends. That's the thing, I don't work every day of the week.
Sometimes, because it's an agency, I might not have work tomorrow.
And how much do you get paid?
For me to tell you a set wage weekly, I can't.
It doesn't work like that.
The sooner you come and sort this out, the better to...
Obviously, yes, yes, yes.
OK. We will see you next Thursday, then, yeah?
-Yes, madam. Yes, bye-bye.
Isn't it? That's the world I live in, Molly.
I don't get the break that I want.
Cos the world is not a nice place.
-It doesn't forgive.
-Well, it's just that you are...
-It doesn't really forgive.
It's just you started on your straight journey so late.
Yes, that's the problem.
The world is awash with money.
It's awash with fucking money but...
..people who need what they need to get by and be comfortable
can't get nothing, they get swindled out of it.
You must just put up with your lot, so to speak,
but the big guy, or big guys,
can get around it anyhow they can and get around it and it's OK.
And it's just total bollocks.
It does make someone like me who is of the other side of the track,
or who has been on the other side of the track,
say to yourself, "Fuck me, man,
"I just want to do criminality all the time."
Cos, you know,
if that's what you know to get yours
then you want to do it when you see these other shit.
But conscience, you know, you have a thing called conscience.
-Also you have a thing called prison.
And these guys in front of you!
After 15 months in prison,
Blacker has been released, and JJ and Maureen have come from Jamaica.
HE SHOUTS AND LAUGHS
Now we can do the interview.
This is, yeah... This is called child crutality.
-This is child crutality.
-You can't do that, that's horrible!
That is not nice!
Hang on to the rope already! Hang on to the rope... Aagh!
Oh, excuse me.
-Daddy loves you so much.
-I can't get up, man!
How long since you two have been together fighting?
I've not beaten him up for 17, let me see, 12...
..19 months, I haven't been able to beat him up.
Blacker, what did you tell JJ?
I just sat him down
and I told him the whole "shangbangdiddlybangsking".
And he was very receptive to it and he sat down and he listened intently
and he was like... Could see he was shocked, could see he was shocked
because nobody had told him anything, which was brilliant,
and I explained to him, I said,
"Listen, your family and your friends have done what I asked.
"So don't have anything against them,
"don't think anybody was keeping a secret from you, it was my request."
Tell me what you got.
-What, my average?
Well, when I did the actual exam it was easy to me
and when I got my results...
..I wasn't surprised.
Mummy wasn't surprised either
because we knew I was going to cut it.
Most of my grades were 95.
-Which you were one of the top ten.
No, the top six.
-He was in the top six.
Top six, top of the class, ain't he?
What was it like in there, Blacker?
That... It's crazy. It's rubbish.
What are they doing, they throw you behind the door and the judges,
the politicians, they don't care, you're behind the door,
that's it, another one off the road.
It's crazy. For the amount of black people that's in prison
in a country that's allegedly only got 5 million of us or 6 million,
whatever the amount, that total of us is terrible.
That means somebody's failing somewhere
so it's either coming from when you're a child at home,
your parents have failed you,
then the society has failed you in school
because as you're a young black boy, if you are militant, you're trouble.
And I'm not going to be bothered with trouble so we put you in that little naughty corner,
or send you out to the headmaster's office or something like that
and that's it. And then you grow up feeling left out,
you grow up feeling that you're not a part of what's going on,
so then when you get on the street
you're still not a part of what's going on so you become
what you would never have been if somebody had taken that five minutes
just to put you aside and give you a good talking-to.
So tell me what happened to you at school.
I took my 11 plus.
I got a very good mark but I was told to take the 11 plus again.
I just knew they didn't believe that I could just come to England
and be able to take that 11 plus.
I got good results and I went to grammar school in Penge.
It was only, like, four or five black boys in the school, yeah,
so Mr Jenkins used to pick me up
and drive me up the road,
far away from where the boys used to stand up and wait for you
cos they'd wait by the gate. So you jump over the back fence
and make a run for it,
you see the bus coming, you know the bus is coming,
you know you can run so you'd, like, wait until they thought you couldn't get the bus
and you make a run. Boom.
And just run and jump the bus,
and it was like a cat-and-mouse thing with me and them for years,
so it was a godsend when I had to move school.
Did your parents know what was happening?
Mum never knew because
you couldn't tell her, I say I get beat up,
you couldn't tell her that people beat you up, yeah?
And you can't tell her
that you're running from people
because she never bring us come England to be scared of anybody,
she bring us come England for want of a better life.
My daughter's getting married.
So I'm supposed to... I signed the paper two nights ago,
the man came and gave me a paper to sign to say that
it's one second before midnight.
Blacker's daughter Corinne had changed her wedding plans
so her father could give her away, but he's out on tag.
Could you tell that to my wife?
I didn't get a letter from Corinne or anything like that
so she's worried that I'm making it up. Thank you.
Hello, good evening.
-What's it look like?
-It's a little thing.
-Oh, it's tiny.
Thank you very much.
OK, all the best. Thank you, bye-bye.
Here we go, you got permission.
-Make sure you get your backside in the house long before 12 o'clock,
otherwise I'm going to beat you.
I'm so happy!
Thank you for your gifts, yeah, thank you very much for your gifts.
Yeah, see you.
-Come on, Daddy.
Let me hold you.
Oh, my word.
Nice. I want your dress.
-Lovely day as well.
-But you knew you were going to get this day.
Listen, remember we were going to Jamaica? Jamaica came to us.
Remember I said that to you, because you've changed it.
-You remember what I said?
Cos you've changed it, you're going to get the best day of the year.
MUSIC: Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
# Darling, I will be loving you till we're 70... #
# And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
# And I'm thinking 'bout how
# People fall in love in mysterious ways
# Maybe just the touch of a hand... #
You all right?
You all right, bruv? Thank you.
-You look beautiful.
Thank you, thanks.
-It was really nice, though, you know?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-It just went by so quick.
And so is the rest of the day.
I'm so glad that you're here to see.
Yeah, man, what do you mean? This is, like, my world.
If I wasn't here I would be so upset.
I don't think... I would have been mad today.
-I think I would have been crazy. Yeah.
And I've always wanted
to walk one of my children down the aisle,
one of my daughters, cos I have about six of them, right?
And so, Corinne,
I thank you so much for today.
After all the sadness and all the sad things that we go through,
you know, today is a day with bare joy, bare love,
bare happiness, bare smiling.
And, Dwayne, respect, my brother.
I'm glad to say you turned my daughter into a wife, yeah?
Yeah, give me a kiss, babes, I need it.
Where's the best man? Where's the best man?
Just as the party's getting started, Blacker has to leave.
He has to be home in time for his curfew.
-See you, baby.
-You all right? See you soon.
Thanks for a nice day, Miss Molly.
-I know I got up your nose two times for the day.
Tomorrow, Maureen and JJ are going home to Jamaica.
And in six weeks, as soon as his tag is off,
Blacker will be free to follow.
# I do my own whatsit
# You know what a whatsit?
# Some people don't know what a whatsit, they can't do a whatsit. #
Hoover thieved my locks.
Hoover tried to thieve my locks.
# ..judgment, murderer!
# Blood is on your shoulder. #
I'm listening to some Buju Banton.
Blacker's shop was leased to someone else while he was away.
And it's now a dress shop.
The whole of Brixton is changing as well as Blacker's life.
On the house.
We are what? We're opening soon, on the house.
So what is that they're opening there?
It's an estate agent.
Oh, bloody hell, yes.
That's about right, innit?
Another one here.
There's another one there.
That's why they wanted to get me out, you see - "We get Blacker out,
"we can do what we want.
"When Blacker's here, everyone's coming to Brixton to see Blacker,
"we can't afford to do anything while he's here.
"Get that bugger out. Have to get him out of Brixton, mate."
Who's that? The great silver wonder?
-It's the great silvey.
-Silver wonder in person.
-Who's that? My sister.
I'm good, I'm good, I'm good.
-Yeah, I do.
-Oh, Lorna. This is my cousin Lorna from America.
-Hello, Lorna from America.
-And this is my sister Joanne.
-This is Blacker Dread.
-Blacker Dread is one of the characters of Brixton. Trust me.
-I remember you.
You were so upset the shop was shutting.
I was. And I was going to point out his shop to you and show you.
This is one of our famous Brixton landmarks.
-And then I see him. That's good.
-Yeah, you see.
I'm not making what happened to my mum and dad happen to me.
I'm sure when they left Jamaica it wasn't forever...
Has England been good to you?
England good to me in terms of the education in learning, life.
I can't film you against the window, cos you're so dark,
you're going to have to sit down. I'm so sorry!
-But you go silhouetted.
-You're being racist now,
you're being racist now, Molly, man.
It's not, it's about video exposure.
OK. So I'm going to sit down here all day.
What did you mean, learning about life?
I mean there were so many things happening and your brain,
as a little youth, you don't even think.
Describe the sort of things.
When I'm working at Crystal Palace
and all these big footballers used to be there
and you can't believe these are the guys you're seeing
on your black-and-white TV.
Match Of The Day. And these are the same guys you're walking past,
I was allowed to walk through the place because I was staff.
I used to sell programmes walking around the pitch.
They used to curse me, "Oi, nigger, come sell me a programme."
"Hey, you little black cunt, come here." Things like that.
I used to get abused like nobody's business, but I love football
so I didn't care about the abuse, because I'm getting abused when I'm walking on the road,
I'm getting abuse when I'm on the bus, I'm getting abused when I'm going shopping,
I'm getting abuse when I go to school,
so if I get abused at football matches it's just the next abuse.
It doesn't really matter to me.
What do you mean by abuse - what kind of things?
I mean racial abuse, when people are cursing you and telling you to
go back on the jam jar, you little gollywog, you know what I mean?
"Black bastard" and...
What, because they say that it's better?
You got the people that believe that it's better, let's just be real.
Forget all that hype about diversity - diversity is a word.
It's a word, it doesn't walk, it doesn't live, it doesn't breathe,
it's not like a piece of grass or a tree leaf that comes from the ground
that's grown. It's a word that people, all right...
A black child...
..a child that's born in a mixed relationship, yeah?
We used to call them half caste, now you can't call them half caste,
why not? Cos it's not politically correct.
So all these new words,
all they've done is swept it under the carpet,
so when you go under the carpet,
all the dust and the mites and everything is living under there
now, there's a world under that carpet that you're not seeing.
You don't even know that it's there but it's there and when anything
happens, you're going to see who is who, yeah?
You will see who is who.
I ain't no racist person, you know?
But I'm on the side of reality, yeah?
And what I like, when I go to Jamaica, black Prime Minister,
black finance minister, black police, black people,
and that's what I see. When I was a kid in Jamaica, you know,
I used to see white people and we used to say, "Look at the white man there,"
but we never, ever thought of hating that white person.
You love them, you bring them in because they look so different,
so you just want to be around them to see what is this person,
why is this person's skin different? Why is their hair different?
Why do they talk like that? Why do they do the things they do?
When you come to England, it's a complete different thing.
You land in their country, they don't want you here!
What are we going to do?
-We're going over to north-west London.
-Yes, I know that much.
And we're going to a gathering.
-And it starts at two, finishes at four
and it's just a solidarity thing to do with the family of...
-Do you like my posh sat nav?
-Posh, isn't it?
-Cos you have one in the car ain't working
cos there's no point in putting in crap sat nav like that,
-those days are over.
Turn right, A23 Brixton Road...
I know what I'm doing, I'm not exactly going to follow this.
-I won't be following him.
Turn left, then sharp right.
Shut up, man, we know where we're going.
Sharp right means your immediate bloody right,
that's what a sharp right means.
Yeah, and it also means driving with due care and attention.
No, no, no!
Actually, you can use this lane - what am I doing?
-There's no-one else there.
-No, you're allowed to use the lane.
I remember the other day.
I came down here and look, see, look.
If I'm turning left I can use this lane.
Turn left, A3213 Drummond Gate,
then take the second right.
REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS
-THEY SING ALONG:
-# ..to the edge of the boom, hey! #
Turn left, Doyle Gardens, then you've reached your destination.
OK, I can see crowds already.
Where can I park?
Can I park on the corner?
Yeah, we can park on the corner.
We're going to park on the bloody corner.
So this is the school?
Yeah, must be there, innit?
The gathering we've come to is a vigil.
The child of a friend of Blacker's
was murdered outside his school last week by another boy.
..killing a child, and that is not OK on our streets, in our community,
that is not OK!
Yep, that's right.
Me and Quamari been brethrens for so very long
and I was fortunate enough to talk to him on the day that he died.
Quamari was one of the realest people I ever met
and it just saddens me,
when I did find out the news, my body went numb.
-I told my mum,
I was Instagram
and had to find out that one of my good, good friends is passed.
And I couldn't even walk down the stairs,
I'm walking on the street and I'm seeing someone and I'm thinking
it's Quamari and I know that I can't even call his number
because the phone won't ring or something like that.
And it really saddens me.
I know I don't shed no tears yet, but this really affects me.
And I just want, as black people,
cos I am black and that's all I know,
and I want us all to be together.
How come every other single culture can be together but we can't?
Talk the thing! Talk the thing!
-Yes, talk the things.
-Black people are always fighting over nothing.
As a black youth myself, I think that...
..us black boys especially, we don't value our other people.
But we'd rather go and fight people, go and stab and shoot people,
-and it's just for what?
-Talk it, son.
Because you're going to go and stab and shoot people and end up in prison.
There's no use in prison, you can't do nothing in prison.
We have to really realise that a lot of us black people,
we don't know the value of this colour.
We want to walk and go and lighten our skin to go and get a job.
So we need to understand, we've got something important and valuable.
That's all I have to say, but we all love Quamari
and I'm happy on behalf of him that we've all come out.
# Old pirates, yes, they rob I
# Sold I to the merchant ships
# Minutes after they took I
# From the bottomless pit
# But my hand was made strong
# By the hand of the Almighty
# We forward in this generation
# Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom?
# It's all I ever have
# Redemption songs
# Redemption songs. #
Beautiful flowers you got there.
Yeah, my sister bought them for me. She's always buying me flowers,
cos she knows I love flowers.
Yeah, she's a darling, she's always buying me flowers.
Today would have been Solomon's birthday.
They're going to open up now and go...
I keep telling you, you're killing them.
You need to stop putting them in this.
That's why I need a couple of those, I can't help it,
I like to see the things up, babes.
-But every time he puts them in there I take them out,
you know, because they're just going to die.
Which one's he putting in?
No, what he does, he puts them just in the ground
and then what happens is that they all just die after a day
-and they need water.
-Blacker just sticks those?
He just, yes, he just sticks them in the ground.
-It looks like it belongs there.
But it's going to die.
-Cos it can't...
-Yeah, but the point is that when I come,
I like to see the beauty of the flowers,
-that's why I don't bother with the plant.
-And we want longevity.
Come here, sweetheart.
Solomon's older sister Serita arrives.
You're taking liberties, you know?
Followed closely by one of Blacker's sisters, Kim.
-We've been waiting!
Bit by bit, the whole family start to arrive
because it's also the anniversary of Blacker's mother's death.
Look, we've got them here!
Come, we brought all our knives, we got rid of our knives.
I have not seen you since the West was won.
-Since the West was won.
-I haven't seen you since the West was won.
-This is for Mummy.
Yeah, that music is for her, it's all her church songs.
And she likes it.
We've been coming up here from we was little children for my dad
over 30 years. And it's just a place to, like, remember
and just gather, and my mum likes her flowers and we can put
a really wicked display on for her. You know what I mean?
And we're all in one, everyone...
You know what I mean? We've all got the same feelings.
Everybody went to Mum for everything and anything.
She was like the backbone.
People call their beloved ones rock but she was the backbone, literally.
It was Blacker's mother who brought him here.
She was the reason he never went home to Jamaica.
Now that she's gone, he's free to go.
It means leaving behind his father, mother, and son at the cemetery,
and the rest of his family.
-He's coming, look, he just...
One-stop! Put on the brakes!
Look, they sent a helicopter for us.
But being with Blacker has made me understand why Britain has
never really felt like his home.
What? The snow is falling,
England snow, you see this?
A snow scraper off a window, you know that?
-What's going on?
MUSIC: Praise Him by Sanchez
Long time since I seen snow like this.
# Hey! Hey! It cold!
# England pretty but it cold, I said England's pretty but it cold
# I want to go to Jamaica, where the sun shines bright
# England's pretty but it's cold. #
-Praise his name
-Every night and day
# Oh, when I am down and low
# And the heathen, dem a throw dem glow... #
After a ten-year absence, acclaimed film-maker Molly Dineen is back with a new feature documentary, Being Blacker.
The film tells the story of the renowned reggae record shop owner and music producer Blacker Dread, his extended family, friends and the wider Brixton community. Made with Dineen's characteristic intimacy, the film focuses on a tumultuous time in Blacker's life - the death of his mother and the prospect of his first prison sentence.
While the documentary focuses on Blacker's journey, it also features a wider cast - best friend and former armed robber Naptali is struggling to go straight, sister June is trying to maintain family ties after their mother's death, and partner Maureen is ensuring their youngest son maintains his exceptional school grades in Jamaica, having been excluded from school in the UK.
With the unprecedented access granted by her old friend, Dineen shines a spotlight on the struggles the subjects face on a daily basis. Being Blacker offers a particular understanding of both the challenges and triumphs of family and community togetherness, as well as a unique insight into being black in Britain in 2018.