As part of our 21st birthday, we commissioned rapper Raxstar to write a piece celebrating our journey so far.
Raxstar is a British rapper from Luton who first came to prominence in 2005 with his producing partner Sunit. Their breakout single Keep It Undercover documented young love and the internal conflict when choosing between following your heart and going against parental expectations or conforming.
'This duality is an integral part of my identity as a British Asian. The culture I inherited and the one I was brought up in are worlds apart but there are millions like me who are also trying to figure it all out. Music is my creative outlet to explore that journey.' Raxstar
21 Artists for 21 Years is a project to celebrate the enormous contribution that British South Asian creatives have made, and will continue to make, not just to the success of Rifco but to the UK theatre sector. We have commissioned one artist for every year of our journey - playwrights, craft makers, lyricists, visual and spoken word artists – to create new work that celebrates Rifco’s 21st anniversary and gives voice to artists and the British South Asian experience. Find out more about the 21 Artists for 21 Years project here.
As we look back on how far we have come, we're incredibly excited to present proof that British South Asian artists are placed to lead the arts sector over the next 21 years.
the grandchildren of Partition
that dark division
made our hearts a prison
now imparting wisdom
through the art we're living
draw a line in the sand to see the corollary
between the monopoly of colony to now
so let me represent it properly
otherwise I'll never live this down
can we speak about and acknowledge
the 50 shades of gifted brown?
music made from twisted sounds
tears of pain uplifted
and became the way we switched it round
British and we're Asian and we're aiming for the clouds
it's a mish mash of the flag that we truly are
on the Wheel of Life aiming for the Crescent Moon and Stars
the cornershop is a cornerstone and uncles are driving taxis
arranged marriages back when Indians were Apache
if you're looking for acceptance you're never gonna be happy
live your truth you can't worry about other people reacting
the stories that are ours can only be told by us
that's our DNA the 22 carat golden touch
those of us lucky enough to walk thru doors that have been opened
by the pioneers who came before us and were chosen
they laid down the Asian Dub Foundations brick by brick
Panjabi MCs to Hit Squads made us feel Rishi Rich
of our culture, our badge of honour became designer
overnight successes started off as daytimers
tell me Is freedom moving out or is it moving to Uni?
do you call them gol gappeh or is it pani puri?
we made it home so back home is just a place that's left to visit
we all get along until they ask us who's the best at cricket
we Break The Floorboards and the ceilings
Deranged Marriages to Dishoom and everything in between and
at Abigail's Party we made sense of it all
it's Pyar Actually and now we're ready for the Glitterball
we look back in celebration to see how far we've come
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