British Reggae: Resistance and Transcendence

Fri 06 May 2022, 10.30-10.50

Prof William ‘Lez’ Henry, University of West London

In this Reggaematical talk, Prof William ‘Lez’ Henry will take you on an audio-visual journey through some of the hidden struggles of Black people in the UK for equal rights and social justice, as framed through the lens of reggae music.

By using his ‘A Side – B Side’ metaphor, he will shed light on the treatment of peoples of African ancestry by racist Europeans in the UK, to explore how popular cultural artefacts are often utilised as viable, and valid, forms of resistance to transcendence. 

About the speaker

Prof William Lez Henry was born in the London borough of Lewisham, of Jamaican Parentage and is Professor of Criminology and Sociology, University of West London and is the Course Leader for the MA: Global Black Studies, Decolonisation and Social Justice. He is the British Reggae Deejay Lezlee Lyrix and is a writer, poet and community activist who is renowned as a first-rate public speaker. He has featured in numerous documentaries and current affairs television and radio programmes and lectured nationally and internationally on behalf of private and public institutions.

Prof Henry lectures in the areas of criminology, sociology, anthropology, black history, whiteness studies, race, education, ethnicity, gender, youth justice and cultural studies, and delivers educational programmes in community and grass-roots settings, as well as in universities, schools and colleges.

Moreover, with a keen interest in the counter-cultures of the African Diaspora, especially as recorded through the lens of popular cultural forms such as reggae music, his perspective makes known the
historical black British and Caribbean influence/contribution to the social, cultural and political struggles of the global African Diaspora against white supremacist thought and action.

Prof Henry has sole-authored several journal articles, books, and chapters in books and has written and published extensively on many of the concerns of the African/Black Diaspora in the UK and
beyond. Moreover, with his wide-ranging research and teaching experience, in formal and informal academic settings, he has taught educational programmes for many of those who, like him, turned
their backs on formal education in their youth.

He is currently delivering his ‘GOAL MODELS: Pathways to Success’, in tandem with UWL’s ‘Outreach Team’, to Secondary Schools and works with UWL’s ‘Mature Learners Team’. Prof Henry is a founder member of the National Independent Education Coalition and The Lewisham Black Fathers Support Group and has also led study tours to Egypt.

Prof Henry has a passion for martial arts and holds a Shodan Black Belt in IKK Kyokushinkai Karate and is a 2nd Degree, Black Belt, Instructor with London Hung Kuen, Five Animals, Shaolin Kung Fu.