Studio B: Unscripted

Studio B, Unscripted: With Priyamvada Gopal and George the Poet

The professor and the poet discuss slavery, colonialism, and the future of diaspora communities.

In this episode of Studio B: Unscripted, celebrated academic and author Priyamvada Gopal meets with BRIT award-nominated and spoken-word artist George Mpanga.

They cover everything from the legacy of colonialism and the argument for reparations, to growing up in an inner-city council estate and the role of the British royal family in modern society.

Gopal is an Indian academic currently at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on colonial and post-colonial theory, and her most recent work, Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent, chronicles the forgotten stories of active resistance against the British empire, and how important these were to the empire’s eventual demise.

Known as George the Poet, Mpanga is a British artist and podcaster of Ugandan descent. Growing up in inner-city London, Mpanga was once a grime MC but pivoted to poetry once he started studying at Cambridge University in order to better connect with his peers there.

Throughout the hour, Gopal and Mpanga explore the ways in which 21st-century Britain deals with the consequences of its former empire, tracing a line from slavery and resistance to today’s identity politics, as well as other topics such as the cultural shock they both faced at Cambridge University, or whether countries such as India and Uganda have decolonised successfully.

There’s even time for a short performance by George the Poet.

The views expressed in this programme are the guests’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Studio B, Unscripted is a free-flow conversation between two guests and a small audience, with no mediation, no MC, no TV presenter -.focusing on what brings us all together and how we can tackle and discuss some of the big issues of our time.

Editor’s note: Since the recording, George Mpanga rejected the offer for an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).