Windrush scandal resonates at the Jazz FM Awards

The BBC's Clive Myrie

Anger from Myrie and Matthews on stage at Monday’s event

The plight of Britain's Windrush generation migrants, which is rocking the government, even made it on stage at this week's Jazz FM Awards.

Two stars were moved to make political statement about the scandal. Multi-instrumentalist nominee Randolph Matthews and BBC News broadcaster Clive Myrie, who both have Caribbean immigrant parents, made their anger clear.
 
Matthews, who was nominated for Live Experience of the Year, carried a suitcase on the night and explained that it belonged to his father when he first made the trip to the UK in the sixties. He told Jazz FM:
 
“People are moving all the time; you take your baggage with you and so without going deeply into it, my mum and dad are so close to my work because of the journeys they’ve taken. They came here with sunshine in their hearts but at the moment it’s a grey cloud over their generation. The suitcase represents a weight of experiences and memories that my family and I carry with us, always. It’s about past, present and future – especially given that I carry my music in the case, it’s something I can’t let go of, even though sometimes I want to.”

Meanwhile Clive Myrie was invited to present Zara McFarlane with her Vocalist of the Year prize. Referencing his night off from the news, he quipped "it’s great to not have to be talking about Amber Rudd. Though if anyone is in from the Home Office, my passport has been checked…"
 
It's fitting that the Windrush scandal was noted at the Jazz FM Awards, which has long championed the relationship British music has with the rest of the world. The post-war wave of migration from the Caribbean had an incalculable impact on UK music and culture from the moment HMT Windrush docked at Tilbury in June 1948. Hugely influential Trinidadian musicians Lord Kitchener, Lord Woodbine and Mona Baptiste were all on board, and the effect they and musicians like them, as well as generations of music fans, have, continues to this day.
 
Other jazz musicians have taken to social media this week to express their displeasure at the situation including saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, singer Barb Jungr and electronic duo Blue Lab Beats who urged their followers to sign a protest petition.
 

Randolph Matthews carries his father's suitcase on the Jazz FM Awards red carpet

More from Music News