“inna Landan tiddey”

‘De-colonising’ London in Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dub Poetry

  • Pierpaolo Martino "Aldo Moro" University of Bari


One of the basic assumptions of Decolonialism is that the "coloniality of power" does not end with Colonialism and that the Modern capitalist World-system imposes a racial/ethnic classification of people around the world as a basis of its power structures. Linton Kwesi Johnson’s dub poetry stands as a space of resistance to these very structures; mixing Caribbean dialect and the rhythms of reggae it speaks to the heart of the British experience of inner-city (Brixton based) black youth. In such poems as ‘Inglan is a Bitch’ (1980), ‘Mekin Histri’ (1984) and ‘New Craas Massakah’ (1984) London is portrayed as a site of conflict between those who perform and those who try to resist discrimination. Johnson’s is an artistic/critical language overcoming theory (and prefixes), a poetry to be performed and not just read, which asks its readers/listeners to perform themselves the resistance required to preserve and assert their own difference.