Hip hop theme for Brixton Harlem festival

The second Brixton X Harlem festival kicks off five days of events in Brixton tomorrow (16 August).

boom box
unsplash/gordon cow

This year’s festival will be celebrating 50 years of hip hop across a variety of and includes a free screening of a documentary dedicated to the late James Dewitt Yancey aka Jay Dee aka J-Dilla: the visionary musician, producer and MC,  arguably one of the most influential figures in hip hop.

Wednesday 16

The Laundry

Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter/producer Xantoné Blacq gets things going at The Laundry at 7pm on Wednesday with his “free-range sunshine music”. A collaborator with Amy Winehouse, Emeli Sande, Mark Ronson, Earth Wind & Fire, Laura Mvula, Nigel Kennedy and others, he has performed at Glastonbury and events across the globe.


Wednesday 16

Brixton House

Opposite The Laundry in Brixton House theatre, AMV, a supergroup of female London-born singer/songwriters Marcina Arnold, Eska Mtungwazi and Heidi Vogel, delve into vocal sonics and live free improvisation with a live band. £5


Thursday 17

Black Cultural Archives

Opening at Thursday at the Black Cultural Archives, The Ascension Years is an exhibition of photographs by Alder White – Tee Max – recording iconic figures of hip hop and rap from the 90s, from Biggie Smalls to Beyoncé. Visitors “will be transported back in time”, and immersed in the sights and sounds of an era that shaped the course of popular music.

Until Sunday 20 August. Free.

Thursday–Saturday: 10am–6pm
Sunday: 12–5pm

Thursday 17

Brixton Brewery taproom

Brixton Street Wear present a Brixton X Harlem takeover at the Brixton Brewery taproom on Brixton Station Road, with a night of soul and hip hop classics with DJs Jumpin Jack Frost and Ray Keith. Pop-up street wear shop open. 7pm–late.

Thursday 17 

Ton of Brix

Sundown Boogie have a selection of DJs who will spin old and new reggae, funk, soul, hip hop, jazz-funk, modern funk, disco, new jack swing, house, broken beat, Afro and Latin and everything in between. At Ton of Brixton, once the home of Club 414, on Coldharbour Lane. 7–11pm.

Friday 18

Pure Vinyl

Pure Vinyl record shop on Ferndale Road regularly hosts up and coming musicians, who jam when the opportunity arises – no entry charge, no dress code, and no ego.


Friday 18

Brixton House

Brixton House presents a [sold out] free screening of a documentary dedicated to the late James Dewitt Yancey, aka Jay Dee, aka J-Dilla: the visionary musician, producer and MC, who is and was arguably one of the most influential figures in Hip Hop. Followed by a Q&A with director Shernay LaTouche and music from DJ Sarah LoveThe View from the Other Side: J-Dilla, A European Remembrance was filmed from 2009 to 2012 in London, Paris, Lausanne and Berlin and discovers underground communities and cultures whose rejoicing in and reaction to J-Dilla’s music, impact and legacy is as intense as ever.

7:30–9pm, SOLD OUT

Saturday 19

Black Cultural Archives

The Black Cultural Archives on Windrush Square host The Bridge, an all-day event celebrating hip hop culture. It includes open-to-all dance classes, a live graffiti muralist and dance competitions. A non-stop family outdoor street event culminating in “London’s friendliest social dance party”, The Bridge is the brainchild of former dancer, cultural creative and lover of hip hop Kate Scanlan. It also features interactive workshops.


Saturday 19 and Sunday 20

Downstairs, The Department Store

A special Brixton X Harlem edition of the popular Black Culture Market – the destination to support and shop from Black-owned businesses in Brixton. Buy food, drinks, gifts, cards, art, jewellery, male grooming kits, skincare, clothes, accessories and more.


Free, but register to get tickets

Saturday 19

Brixton Village courtyard

Hip hop turntablist veterans Bunny Bread & E Double D take listeners on a journey through 50 years of hip hop at the official The Bridge afterparty on Coldharbour Lane


Sunday 20

BRXTN Village Studios

Join DJ and writer Lynnée Denise in a conversation and listening session with Zezi Ifore discussing Denise’s debut book, Why Willie Mae Thornton Matters.

It will highlight the long-standing cultural conversation between Black Britain and Black America through an exploration of several themes in the author’s biography of the legendary blues singer who recorded her first album at the UK’s Wessex Sound Studios.

Born in Alabama in 1926, raised in the church, her songs like Hound Dogand Ball and Chain appropriated by white performers, buried in an indigent’s grave –Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton’s life events epitomise the blues.

Lynnée Denise pushes past the stereotypes to read her life through a Black, queer, feminist lens and reveal an artist who was an innovator across her four-decade-long career.