J Chambers

Watch J Chambers' Blue Peter performance

Mancunian musician and poet J Chambers wrote a poem to honour Black History Month. He wanted to write something that resonated with young children and something he wished he'd have heard when he was younger.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 3 Nov 2020
  • min read

J Chambers is well-known on the underground Manchester hip-hop scene, making waves with his energetic live shows. A spoken word artist, he takes his inspiration from his Jamaican heritage, the Black British experience and the fight for equality.

At the beginning of October, Chambers was invited onto BBC children's TV show Blue Peter to read a poem that he'd written specially for the occasion. Watch the performance, and read the lyrics, in full below. 

Letter to Self:

I write this 20 years your senior,

With the demeanour of making a change,

Know that the light in you,

is the spark for adults see the error of ways. Funny thing about history,

Is being the change you want to see.

The chains are now broken,

Though hate is still spoken,

What’s really the difference between you and me. Every struggle is overcome,

With focus and poise,

Walk tall with pride and with purpose

Make use of your voice.

Knowing where you come from

Helps you see where you’re headed.

Though We learn from old mistakes,

We must never forget it

Know your skin is sealed

With the promise of a brighter day

From the tears of every ancestor

Who has fought for freedom along the way.

Know your history is more than slavery

There were Empires, Dynasties,

A whole world to explore,

Eclipsed by a momentary struggles we had endure. The future is yours,

With an open mind and heart,

Though I have to pass the heavy baton,

For you to continue the fight

for the simple freedoms which we marched.

Be street smart, power is abused

But it can be also used to support,

If its captured through the lens,

It can defend your friends,

And disprove judgemental thoughts.

One of the qualities of equality

Is that we each play a part.

So we all have to speak up,

For change to really start.

Acknowledge each other in spaces,

With a nod to put a smile on your elders faces. Follow your instinct and I promise it will

Always take you to better places.

I may be black history

But you are black future.

More than a month, though less than a year

Change is coming and that's what some fear. 

Black is Beautiful