For those unfamiliar with the term Lovers Rock, it’s a sub-genre of reggae created in the UK, mainly voiced from a female perspective. Director Menelik Shabazz sheds light on this well loved, but often forgotten genre which I can hand-on-heart say I never truly understood the value of until watching the documentary.
In effect, it was the first brand of homegrown music created by the first generation British black kids. It’s an interesting insight into how that generation created their own entertainment, built an industry that produced a UK singles #1 (Janet Kay‘s “Silly Games”), influenced British pop classics such as Culture Club‘s breakout hit “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me“, an international star in Maxi Priest, gave them a sense of being and international acclaim in places such as Japan with little major support – similar to reggae itself.
Much like the genre’s success, the documentary relied heavily on word of mouth promotion, managing to exceed expectation of the corporates. A member of staff at the cinema informed me it was extended by two weeks due to demand of showings (in limited cinemas).
Digging into the archives of their memories include Dennis Bovell, Maxi Priest, Levi Roots, Janet Kay with hilarious sketches by comedians Robbie G, Eddie Nestor and Glenda Jaxson recollecting memories of “shubeens” (house parties), “crubbing” (man-and-woman slow dance) and a look at the social impact, giving the new generation a place in a society that neglected them.
The Story of Lovers Rock DVD is released on February 13. Pre-order your copy from vivaverve.
More information: loversrockthefilm.com