IMPAKT TV with Don Letts
Punk, civil unrest and the power of music
Location: Online: Planet IMPAKT
Join us on 12 May for our next IMPAKT TV episode with the legendary British punk and reggae film director, DJ and musician Don Letts. IMPAKT TV is a series of monthly online events in which we reflect on the latest news and trends in art and culture with a special guest.
Don Letts came to notoriety in the late 70’s as the DJ that single handedly turned a whole generation of punks onto reggae. Adopting the punk D.I.Y ethic he began to make his first film ‘The Punk Rock Movie’. This led to a period of directing over 300 music videos for an eclectic mix of diverse artists ranging from the Clash, via Public Image Ltd to Bob Marley and Black Grape. He then moved into documentary work covering the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, The Jam, Sun Ra, George Clinton and most recently Paul McCartney. His latest documentaries, Two Seven Splash (2016) and Skinhead (2017) touch on the myth and the reality of the ‘punky-reggae party’ respectively the evolution of the skinhead movement from a multicultural origin into a “threatening and bigoted subculture steeped in far-right politics.”
As a child of the Windrush generation (arriving from the Caribbean in the UK between 1948 and 1971), his biography and career have always been evolving against the backdrop of British politics. The film on his life Rebel Dread (2021), Letts’ life is framed against the hostile environment against immigrants and the ever-present threat of racism – from the 70s to the present day.
With Don Letts we will discuss why moments of civil unrest are pivotal for cultural life, the power of music, and the ever new shapes of political struggle. From this angle we will ask him about his view on the events of 2022 and his most important sources of inspiration in contemporary art and culture.
Tune in on 12 May, 20:00h at Planet IMPAKT.
About IMPAKT TV:
Every month we invite an artist, journalist, researcher or writer to discuss their work and the latest news and trends in art, tech and media, must-see exhibitions and events. IMPAKT TV is live-streamed every month at https://planet.impakt.nl
The IMPAKT TV editorial team consists of Arjon Dunnewind (General Director at IMPAKT), Michelle Franke (head of PR at IMPAKT), Friso Wiersum (European Cultural Foundation, Expodium) and Rosa Wevers (PhD candidate Gender Studies at Utrecht University). Read more about IMPAKT TV
Don Letts― Speaker
Don Letts’ reputation has been firmly established in both the film and music world by a substantial body of work from the late 70's through the 80's, 90’s and well into the millennium. His work has been exhibited in The Kitchen N.Y.C, The Institute of Contemporary Art, The N.F.T in London and was honored at Brooklyn’s BAM festival and The Milan Film festival. In March 2003 he won a Grammy for his documentary ‘Westway To The World’. He came to notoriety in the late 70's as the DJ that single handedly turned a whole generation of punks onto reggae. It was whilst as a d.j at the first punk club 'The Roxy' in 1977, that made his first film 'The Punk Rock Movie' w/ Sex Pistols-The Clash and many others. This led to a period directing over 300 music videos for an diverse mix of artists ranging from Public Image to Bob Marley. He then moved into documentary work making films on the likes of Gil Scot-Heron, The Jam, Sun Ra, The Clash and George Clinton. His most recent documentary was for Sir Paul McCartney’s ‘New’ project. Feature films include the legendary Jamaican movie 1997’s ‘Danchall Queen’. Along with his autobiography ‘Culture Clash: Dread Meets Punk Rockers’ released in 2007 Don was also the subject of the documentary film ‘Superstonic Sound: The Rebel Dread’ in 2010. He currently presents a weekly radio show on BBC 6 Music called 'Culture Clash Radio' and still d.j's nationally and internationally.