talks & debates

Violet Nights: Children of the Windrush

Part of Violet Nights

The Windrush scandal shocked a nation, but how has it affected young people? Hear from Marci Phonix and artist Rachelle Romeo in a discussion chaired by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, with a performance by MC LeeN.

At this edition of Violet Nights, explore the government’s ‘hostile environment policy’ and hear intergenerational Windrush stories.

In 2018, the Windrush scandal erupted around UK residents who had their rights threatened or removed by the Home Office, and who were, in some cases, deported. Many people lost their jobs, homes, benefits and access to care on the NHS.

Chairing the debate is Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, editor of the book Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children, a leading new exploration of the Windrush generation.

Joining her in discussion is Grime MC Marci Phonix, who went viral in 2018 for criticising MP Kwasi Kwarteng live on Channel 4 News over the Windrush scandal, and artist Rachelle Romeo, whose father was personally affected by the hostile environment policy.

Brinkhurst-Cuff is an award-winning writer, editor and columnist who focuses on issues surrounding race, social justice, culture and media. She is Deputy Editor at gal-dem, a magazine written and produced exclusively by women of colour and non-binary people of colour.

Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children, edited by Brinkhurst-Cuff, features David Lammy, Lenny Henry, Corinne Bailey Rae, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Hannah Lowe, Jamz Supernova, Natasha Gordon and Rikki Beadle-Blair.

North-London based Romeo shares her intricate tapestry entitled Identity, which she describes as ‘an emotional reaction to the treatment of my father by the British government, exposing the pain, abuse, confusion and loss of a group of people who thought they were “British”, as that was the identity forced upon them.

Identity explores the feelings of being disowned by the only nationality you know and the impact it has upon your life. It also celebrates the triumph of West Indians and their allies; fighting against the government, having our united voices finally heard.

Marci Phonix's music has been backed by BBC 1Xtra's head of playlist DJ Target, as well as being shown continual support from the likes of Manny Norte at Capital Xtra, Complex magazine, Noisey, and online platforms GRM Daily and Link Up TV. He is also the official face and voiceover of brand-new online sports platform OTRO.

Producer and MC LeeN, aka Jesse-Lee Norville, combines a passion for current affairs and concerns about his community with a desire to entertain and educate.

Violet Nights is our social space for young people to express their views and explore topical issues through music, performance and discussion.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
Blue Room, Level 1


Free, but ticketed

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Age recommendation
For ages 18 – 30

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This event is inspired by Candice Carty-Williams’ new novel Queenie which looks at life, love, race and the Caribbean family. Join us to hear the author in conversation with TV presenter June Sarpong on Wednesday 17 April at 7.45pm in Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall.
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