'Am I British yet?': Musician VV Brown tells James O'Brien how the Windrush generation has shaped her identity

22 June 2023, 13:41 | Updated: 22 June 2023, 15:20

VV Brown stresses importance of telling stories of the next generation of Windrush descendant

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

As a Windrush descendant, VV Brown shared how her family's stories have influenced how she sees herself as a black person in the UK.

The conversation came on the 75th anniversary of the ship's arrival, with the music artist telling James O'Brien about what her grandparents experienced when they came here.

She said: "When my grandmother and my grandfather came to this country, it has had such as residue on my identity as a black British person".

"They had these expectations of coming to Britain, and there were a lot of positives but there were a lot of negatives", she added, explaining there was almost "a disenfranchisement" of their identity, having travelled from Jamaica.

Ms Brown wants to republish her grandmother's book, 'When Our Ship Comes In', with James remarking that "there aren't that many repositories of stories" like this - as much of it has been passed down verbally, "if at all".

READ MORE: 'Ridiculous' that the UK doesn't have a Windrush museum to celebrate Caribbean immigrants, Levi Roots says

Referring to her layered heritage, Ms Brown said: "When I look at myself now, as a black British person one of the questions I ask myself is - and this the name of my album and book is - 'Am I British yet?'"

She now wants to publish the stories of her grandmother, mother, cousins and sister, describing it as "a real generational collection of black Britishness".

"Why is it important?" James asked.

"It is definitely coated in celebration - we've got this rich culture, clash of different cultures, but it's important to hear the actual voices of people who came here from their own mouth", his guest replied.

Windrush descendant scrutinises Suella Braverman stop and search plans

"I think it's really good to see how things have changed through generations but also to talk about how things haven't changed, so we talk about the Windrush scandal for instance", Ms Brown continued.

"Yes of course", James agreed, reminding listeners of another story of Caribbeans with chronic and mental illness being sent back.

"How shocked were you when the Windrush scandal broke VV?" he asked. "Was it traumatic?"

"It was traumatic", she replied, and agreed with James' comparison to "having a rug pulled from underneath you".

READ MORE: Britain would be less 'cheerful and talented' without Windrush, Broadcaster Trevor Phillips says on 75th anniversary

"You feel like you belong, you feel that you are part of the society, you see your grandparents, you see parents work hard, and then all of a sudden you watch the television and you're seeing someone who looks like your grandad or looks likes your uncle Earl...and they're being sent back even though they came here when they were four", Ms Brown went on.

"As a 40-year-old, where I've lived in Britain all my life, I'm very proud to be black British, it really did hurt that we're still challenged by what we are, and who we are in this country", she said.

More James O'Brien

See more More James O'Brien

Londoners to question the Mayor at annual State of London Debate with LBC

Londoners to question the Mayor at annual State of London Debate with LBC

Sacked borders watchdog David Neal said the Home Office is 'dysfunctional' and needs reform.

'It goes to the very top': Sacked border watchdog slams Home Office and calls for reform after Cleverly row

Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms

Sir Keir Starmer has defended comments he made about Margaret Thatcher earlier this month.

Starmer defends Thatcher comments as he says he ‘completely disagrees’ with former prime minister’s politics

A caller to James O’Brien’s programme has shared footage of the extraordinary destruction done to his newly purchased property just outside of Durham.

Property investor's shock at 'unexplainable level of damage' he discovered after buying new home

James Cleverly replaced Suella Braverman as home secretary on Monday

'I've spent more time with James Cleverly this week than with Suella Braverman in the last year', Sadiq Khan tells LBC

James O'Brien discusses Suella Braverman's 'destructionist' leadership style with a caller

'She's a destructionist': James O'Brien caller claims Suella Braverman governs like 'a five-year-old'

James O'Brien

'She definitely has something on him': Caller and James O'Brien debate why the PM hasn't sacked Suella Braverman yet

'A complete reset of the top' is needed says caller.

'We're being let down': There is a 'complete disconnection' between parliamentary and local Conservatives says caller

James O'Brien

'It's essential that people are able to protest peacefully against war', says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak 'almost physically moves away' from Suella Braverman in House of Commons debate, says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

'Suella Braverman succeeded - she's caused hate', claims caller after Home Secretary criticises pro-Palestine marches

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

James O'Brien on Dagestan

'It's a hatred as old as religion itself': James O'Brien analyses escalating anti-Semitism after Muslim crowd storms Dagestan airport

Carol Vorderman shocked about UK Poverty

'One million children are living in destitution': Carol Vorderman struggles to comprehend stark wealth inequality in the UK

Wes Streeting on dentistry

Wes Streeting invites the government to steal Labour's policy to solve 'dickensian' NHS dentist crisis

James O'Brien

'I think they're the loneliest voters in Britain', James O'Brien claims after Tories' double by-election defeat

JOB and caller Andy

Biden's visit to Israel is to show that the US stands 'unequivocally' with Israel says James O'Brien caller

JOB and Usman

Israel's current response will only 'strengthen' Hamas by rearing Gazans who seek revenge warns this James O'Brien caller

JOB on deaths in conflict

James O'Brien unpacks the 'controversial' feeling of being 'equally devastated' by Palestinian and Israeli deaths

JOB on starmer speech

Keir Starmer is using 'working class as the opposite of having a sense of entitlement', notes James O'Brien

JOB on HS2 promises

James O'Brien criticises Rishi Sunak's watering down of 'illustrative' Network North projects funded by HS2 cut

Sadiq Khan and James O'Brien

Sadiq Khan declares there is 'no place for anti-Semitism' in London as kosher restaurant in Golders Green attacked

James O'Brien on the challenge HS2 scrappage poses to Labour.

‘How much can Rishi Sunak knock down before Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister?, asks James O’Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak is like an 'incontinent cat': James O'Brien slams Tories ahead of PM's Party Conference speech

JoB and Jeremy Hunt

Navy veteran deeply hurt by Jeremy Hunt's plans to clamp down on benefit claimants

James O'Brien on Tory tactics in the upcoming election.

Tories desperately seeking wedge issues is the 'only way' they will retain power in 2024, says James O'Brien

James and caller Mervin on knife crime

'I'd prefer you to go to jail than die': James O'Brien is left aghast by this caller's father's stance on knife possession

James O'Brien

James O'Brien ridicules those prioritising Labour's private school VAT plans over the cost of living crisis

James O'Brien

'I mean this is a novel': James O'Brien hears why this caller blames Labour for HS2 problems

James O'Brien

James O'Brien takes aim at uninformed 'idiots' criticising Keir Starmer for not wanting to diverge from EU rules