Jamaican poet, musician, journalist and author, Linton Kwesi Johnson, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on Tuesday 10 July, 2018.
Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson was born on August 24, 1952, in Chapelton, in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, Linton Kwesi Johnson enrolled at the University of London’s Goldsmiths College, and began writing politically charged poetry soon after. His early work was influenced by the turbulence of 1960s and 1970s Great Britain. Rampant racism and restrictive economic policies during this period made living conditions difficult for minorities.
In 1970, while studying at the University of London, Johnson joined the Black Panther movement. He started a poetry workshop, working with other poets and musicians, to address issues of racial equality and social justice. Johnson’s dub poetry, with its culturally specific Jamaican patois dialect and reggae backbeat, was a precursor to the spoken word and rap music movements.