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Camden police have banned reggae music and events by Black artists from Camden

Reggae Camden | 13.08.2009 20:25 | Culture | Repression | Social Struggles | South Coast | World

Camden police have banned reggae music played by Black selectors / MCs / DJs in Camden Town venues. Camden's [if not London's] best known reggae venue was closed after the police blamed the reggae nights for causing drug dealing. The police have since gone around Camden Town venues warning managers and proprietors that they will be shut down if they allow reggae nights in Camden Town.

Local reggae music vendors in Camden Lock have said that it is unfair to criminalise an entire genre of music and a whole community beacause of the behaviour or perceived behaviour of a small handful of people who might have caused trouble. Racism is a more likley culprit however than genuine troublemaking. Humiliating conditions were given to managers to enforce on reggae nights.
First it was the hats....the police went to the Oh Bar and told the managers that no hats were to be worn on reggae nights and demanded that a "Police Warning : No Hats" sign be displayed in each window of the Oh Bar which erm..meant that HATS ARE ILLEGAL IF WORN BY BLACK PEOPLE. The signs went up as a compromise to save the nights which were becoming popular. Police started turning up with truncheons out, maniacal expressions on their faces as the increasingly popular reggae nights un-nerved them. Then there were the Stop Dealing Drugs signs. Then there were the scanners and searches....eventually there was a suddden closure and all sorts of accusations thrown at the night and the cusatomers. Funnily enough there was in fact LESS trouble at the reggae nights, less fights ending in bloodshed etc than at other popular Camden bars. As local reggae fans have pointed out : "Reggae isn't about Class A drugs like the techno clubs in London, we don't deal with Class A". In fact class A drugs are frowned on at reggea nights.
After the reggea nights were closed the police went around Camden Town warning venues that if they play reggae they will be closed down.
What's very indicative of the racism involved is that reggea played by WHITE DJs with mostly European customers at the nights have been allowed. It is reggae played by Black people, attended by mostly Black people that Camden police do not like.
If you think this racist stance against reggae in Camden is terrible then leave a comment.
We are in the process of making some petitions and a myspace page but we welcome any comments left here.

Reggae Camden