Scratchylus salutes Windrush Generation
With 2023 marking 75 years since the Empire Windrush sailed into the United Kingdom with nearly 500 West Indians, descendants of those pioneers remember the sacrifices they made in a country that once shunned them.
Deejay Scratchylus, whose parents migrated to the UK from Jamaica in the early 1960s, salutes them with the song, Windrush Generation. It is produced by Sheldon “Calibud” Stewart.
Jamaicans comprised the largest group who went to the UK on the Empire Windrush which arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex on June 22, 1948. With Windrush Generation, Scratchylus looks at their impact on British culture and a love-hate relationship with, in some quarters, an intolerant society.
“The Windrush issue basically is, we came to England to build up their place and they never showed no gratitude. Some people lived in England for years and worked in the system, and never had a passport or NHS number, and when the Windrush situation come up they deport dem without any real gratitude for di work they put in; a whole heap of disrespect and disregard,” Scratchylus told OBSERVER ONLINE. “This song highlights all that injustice.”
That “Windrush situation” occurred in 2018 when a number of Britons of West Indian heritage were either deported, their passports seized or denied access to healthcare. According to the British Home Office, the dilemma resulted from many of the Windrush Generation (people who went to the UK between 1948 and 1971) not having proper documentation despite living in the UK for decades.
While the British government has taken tedious steps to rectify the embarrassing matter, Scratchylus is not surprised at the disregard shown to people who helped diversify the UK.
“My mum used to say, ‘dem love wi music, dem love wi food but dem nuh love wi’. It’s always been like that,” he said.
The youngest of four children, Scratchylus was born in Harlesden, west London, a community with a massive Jamaican and West Indian community. His parents ensured he had a sense of their roots with regular trips to the family home in St Thomas regularly as a boy.
He developed an appreciation for reggae by becoming a regular at Jamaican dances throughout west London in the 1980s and 1990s.
Much of Scratchylus’ recordings during the past 10 years have been done in Jamaica with veteran producers and artistes including Earl “Chinna” Smith and Kiddus-I. Reset The Mindset, his first album, was released in 2013.