ONE OF THE biggest motivators to sit down and write this column each month is the opportunity it provides to meaningfully engage with other lovers of our music and culture on all levels.
That rang true last month when my “Five Point Music Plan for the Caribbean” was sure to spark debates, conversations, and opinions aired!
A big thank you to everyone who got involved, let’s keep the dialogue going! “You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you come from”. It’s a well-known saying that rings so true in musical circles.
It is very important to recognize those who have gone before us and to ensure that the path of history is accurately told, which in turn should help inform and shape information for new generations.
One of my main careers is being a national and international broadcaster. I am proud to say that I have been on BBC network radio for 20 years this year.
The road for me to be able to celebrate the music I love on air with listeners has been made easier by a number of pioneers.
So salute the likes of Tony Williams, Daddy Ernie, David Rodigan and our topic for this month’s column – the Miss P.
Music was clearly in his blood and apparently part of his destiny – his sister is Rita Marley and his brother Lepke was one of the cornerstones of the spread of reggae in this country.
The legendary DBC – Dread Broadcasting Corporation – was Lepke’s brainchild, with its iconic logo of a dread with earphones and a spliff in its mouth. For those unaware, DBC is considered the first black-owned black music radio station in Europe.
To put that into context, without it you probably wouldn’t have had WNK, Choice FM, Capital Xtra or 1Xtra. Britain in the 1980s was not an easy place for black music fans, and DBC started out broadcasting only Friday nights on 103.8fm in London. Speaking in 1980, Miss P made clear the reason for her existence.
She said, “We want to give black musicians and producers a chance to have their music heard.
“When we play the songs, that gives listeners the opportunity to go to record stores and ask for it. In turn, that forces record stores to inquire about the tracks as distributors, and that helps the records to become more visible Reggae music is loved by millions of people and we want to help it be seen by an even wider audience.
In the early 1980s, Miss P was approached by the BBC to create and direct the trailers for the black magazine television show Ebony. This level of authenticity encouraged the BBC to offer her a guest spot on Janice Long’s Radio 1 show.
In the mid 1980s her talent could not be denied and she became the first black presenter to have her own specialist show on BBC Radio 1. Culture Rock became a staple for reggae fans across the UK every Sunday. , and he introduced reggae programming to many areas across the country.
It wasn’t long before a wider international audience called her, and once again she broke new ground. The BBC World Service gave him the first global radio show to air. At its peak, its audience exceeded 100 million worldwide. That’s a truly phenomenal number these days, so you can only imagine the impact it had over 35 years ago.
One of its many strengths was its radio output. His music lineup was second to none, and his stint on BBC Greater London radio saw The Friday Night Jam show seamlessly blending R ‘n’ B and reggae each week with a host of special guests.
The show’s popularity saw her lead new Sunday programming, reminiscing on previous Sunday reggae radio shows with her Sunday Best show. Sandwiched between shows hosted by Lindsey Wesker and Norman Jay, this show gave reggae the daytime prominence on a major station it deserved.
Miss P had a lot strengths. She had an incredible production ear and was an award-winning presenter, as well as a drive and determination to break through all barriers in her path.
His career not only spanned radio, but also spanned television, voice-overs, album production, and consulting.
There’s no denying that she was a true professional in the music industry. However, her most valuable assets are her drive and determination to support the reggae music industry through her hard work and constant pursuit of excellence in everything she is involved in.
Much of what she did was about building community and bridging the gap between local, national and international spaces.
Climb heights to find peace