The BBC Radio Program That Helped Birth A People’s Musical Culture in the fight against the anti-Black  racism of the 1970s and Inspired New Generations

By Thomas L Blair March 2024 copyright


“Black Londoners” was the first Black daily show in mainstream British broadcasting. And the opening program set the goals. Hailing from Grenada, Alex says. “From the mid-70s to the late-80s I offered music with an Afro-Diaspora heart-beat laced with reliable opinion and information”

 Alex’s good vibes added diversity to London radio “A real boon to Black London communities, as well as academics, professionals and problem-solvers like myself”.

 For 14 years Pascal, interviewed Black and proud stars such as Bob Marley and Muhammad Ali and political militant Angela Davis. A perfect tonic to enfranchise a hard pressed people grappling with racial tensions. Hard work in an era of an uncaring BBC management and three prime ministers.*

In their defense, Alex’s program reached out to the millions – “Black, white or indifferent”. His drum beats, live and direct, aimed to open the ears of a nation badly informed and historically confused about the Black experience.

Great work deserves recognition. Now, on its 50th anniversary, ” ‘Al o’ we’ celebrate the role Black Londoners played in the social movement that birthed a thriving Black – and British – musical culture and history”, says Alex,  the Master Media griot in the African and Caribbean oral tradition.

Note: Alex Pascal OBE (born November 1936), from Grenada is a British broadcaster, journalist, musician, composer, oral historian and educator.

*Note:  The three prime ministers are Harold Wilson (1974–76; 2nd time) James Callaghan (1976–79) Margaret Thatcher (1979–90).