UD Music and GUAP take over the V&A Museum for an exceptional Live Open Mic Night

UD Music and GUAP take over the V&A Museum for an exceptional Live Open Mic Night

Since September 2022, UD have been running their monthly Open Mic night at their Talent House home, in Stratford, E15. Teaming up with GUAP for their Friday Late, UD moved Open Mic to the V&A on 25th August, celebrating 75 years of the Windrush generation and legacy.

After working our way through over 50 exceptional entries, Ashaine White, SKYE, Dwills, Sweep, Anicah, Ziön x Siobhán, Deacon, Shanteh, Devante Vaughan & Reptile B were the 10 acts selected to represent on the night. As you entered the V&A’s main entrance you were greeted by a DJ playing the sweetest rhythms, everyone having the time of their lives, whining waist and shaking a little shoulder to the melodic symphonies of the Islands. It was an honour to be able to host the Open Mic in such a historic and iconic space, allowing me to meet and listen to artists of Caribbean descent, all of whom were insanely talented. Everyone came with the correct energy, spirit, and fire – they did not disappoint.

While all of the acts deserved a reload, some of the artists that really stood out to me were Ziön x Sibohàn, Dwills, Anicah and Shanteh. Anicah serenaded the audience with her Sax, playing some Caribbean bangers that got the crowd singing along. As she started playing you could see the
audience members’ faces light up. Nothing beats live sax! Ziön x Sibohàn came with ENERGY! Definitely a power duo to watch, not only were they serving vocals and vibey original music but they also came, dance- routine-ready.

Dwills has always been one of my favourite performers, hitting the stage with fire and a stage presence you just can’t ignore. Whilst performing he really made use of the wireless mic, venturing from the stage into the audience, adding to his two-song set. Shanteh’s introduction to the audience was funny and memorable, stating her name multiple times along with the correct pronunciation. Between her
introduction and amazing performance, no one will forget her name, with flows that are unmatchable as she effortlessly glides from rapping to singing. Sis really did her thing, and the audience were loving it.
With 75 years having passed since the HMT Empire Windrush ship arrived in Britain on the 22nd of June 1948, it is beautiful to be able to honour the anniversary at the V&A. There is nothing like seeing black excellence being celebrated and welcomed into spaces with such a rich history. The West Indians that arrived in the UK on the Windrush ship were met with a cold response, being made to feel that they did not belong here. And look where we are 75 years later.

Being welcomed into establishments like the V&A and being able to display and pay homage to the culture via multiple creative disciplines is so important. Caribbean culture not only plays a big role in the creative scene today but the essence of this city.

If you missed the GUAP V&A Late Takeover, you definitely missed out big time.
Hopefully we get a 2024 edition.

Words: Nayana Braithwaite / @Nayana.AB is an artist, a UD Creative and host of UD Open Mic. Photos by Joey Hoang