Tell _em Jack sent you blue shirt

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Tell _em Jack sent you blue shirt

With the Small Axe anthology, McQueen set out to, as he says, visualize the period in Black British history that follows the Windrush era—the  Tell _em Jack sent you blue shirt period following World War II in which immigrants from the West Indies came to Britain to address labor shortages. (The Windrush generation was so named for a ship, the Empire Windrush, that transported nearly 500 of these postwar settlers to London in 1948.) In 2018, it came to light that the U.K. government had been misclassifying hundreds of long-standing legitimate citizens who arrived as children from the Caribbean as “illegal”—stripping them of rights to employment, health care, and residency.  “Things happened in the West Indian community which are the foundations of what we are experiencing now as the United Kingdom,” McQueen said at the press conference. What does McQueen think of the phasing out of the term “West Indian” for “Caribbean,” the official demographic designation in the U.K.? Some say it’s the British-colonial equivalent of “Colored” versus “Black,” or “Hispanic” versus “Latino” (or “Latinx”). “I’m of West Indian heritage; that’s me,” he said. “I like it. I’m old-school like that.”

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