Propa Propaganda was Benjamin Zephaniah's second collection from Bloodaxe. It includes some of his best-known poems, including 'I Have a Scheme', 'The Death of Joy Gardner', 'White Comedy' and 'The Angry Black Poet'.
Best known for his performance poetry with a political edge for adults – and his poetry with attitude for children – Zephaniah had his own rap/reggae band. He produced numerous recordings, including Dub Ranting (1982), Rasta (1983), Us and Dem (1990), Back to Roots (1995), Belly of de Beast (1996) and Naked (2004). He was the first person to record with the Wailers after the death of Bob Marley, in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela, which Mandela heard while in prison on Robben Island. Their later meetings led to Zephaniah working with children in South African townships and hosting the President’s Two Nations Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1996.
His first book of poems, Pen Rhythm, was produced in 1980 by a small East London publishing cooperative, Page One Books. His second collection, The Dread Affair, was published by Hutchinson’s short-lived Arena imprint in 1985. He published three collections with Bloodaxe, City Psalms (1992), Propa Propaganda (1996) and Too Black Too Strong (2001), the latter including poems written while working with Michael Mansfield QC and other Tooks barristers on the Stephen Lawrence case. To Do Wid Me, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce (Bloodaxe Books, 2013), includes a full-length feature film on DVD with all the poems performed in the film – taken from all three of his collections – included in the book.
Benjamin Zephaniah: To Do Wid Me (complete film)
Pamela Robertson-Pearce's feature-length film Benjamin Zephaniah: To Do Wid Me can now be seen free-to-view online. Click on the Vimeo logo to view full screen.