Rich Mix ushers in the new year with their Voices of Freedom celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday and Barack Obama's one year inaugural anniversary. From January 18-23, the east end will be host to a series of events exploring questions of human rights, racial equality, and freedom of speech.
The "retrospective" season kicks off with Spike Lee's acclaimed biopic of Malcolm X. Denzel Washington boasts an electric performance as the controversial and influential black rights leader and provocateur. On January 22nd, Eclipse Theatre follows this with Michael X, a one-man show exploring another controversial figure in black history, Michael de Freitas, a pimp, dealer, and vagabond who suddenly finds himself as a black rights poet, writer, and revolutionary in 1960s England.
Other highlights include jazz acts like Mercury prize nominated Denys Baptiste, commanding the stage with a 11-piece line-up featuring Gary Crosby and Abram Wilson. They will be jamming to a tune inspired by MLK's famous I have a Dream Speech. Also rocking the house is a night of blues, gospel, jazz, and Afro-Cuban fusion featuring Booker prize winner Ben Okri and his powerful poem Mental Fight.
On the literary side, Ben Okri reads from Tales of Freedom and Michael Horovitz’ All-Star Poetry Olympics promises an "unprecedented gathering of scintillating supranational superbards on Friday.
This series will no doubt provoke questions of freedom, equality, and social justice and all in time for the General Election.
By Abby Chau
Book now: Rich Mix is at 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA