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Jayemm. Credit Cameron Medford.

‘We Rise’ is not just a song; it’s an anthem for change, celebrating cultural milestones while inspiring future generations to continue the fight for equality.

To listen and watch ‘We Rise’:

To listen and watch ‘We Rise - Behind The Scenes’:

Inspired by the 60th anniversary of the Bristol Bus Boycott, artists from Bristol have come together to release ‘We Rise’ - a powerful track that aims to inspire a future built on the principles championed by those who took part in the original Bristol Bus Boycott in 1963.

The Boycott was a landmark protest against the Bristol Omnibus Company's refusal to employ Black or Asian bus crews, leading to a significant victory in the UK civil rights movement and changing attitudes towards discrimination. The new track ‘We Rise’ channels the resilience and hope of the civil rights trailblazers who transformed the nation, and is set to launch ahead of Windrush Day at Bristol Beacon as part of ‘Windrush To Bristol’, a programme celebrating the rich cultural legacy of the Windrush generation in Bristol.
Laila Richardson, artist name Elarbe, one of the four young artists involved in the project, shares:
“My Grandmother was part of the Windrush generation, so this project feels very personal. I want young people to feel like they can have a voice when it comes to history. I want to show that there's things you can do as a young person that can make a change.”

Commissioned by Bristol Beacon and Curiosity UnLtd, the project was delivered by Aspiration Creation Elevation CIC (ACE), based at Docklands Community Centre in St Pauls – the heart of the Bus Boycott movement. ACE brought together talented young artists Elarbe, Dreamz, Jayemm, and Cstar to collaborate with seasoned music mentors Andre Currie, Javeon, Tanya Lacey, and Liam Callaway. The result is an empowering track that reflects on past struggles whilst rejoicing in the progress made.

As part of the track’s creation, the artists involved in the ‘We Rise’ track visited Parliament alongside individuals that took part in the original boycott, attending a reception hosted by Bristol West MP and Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire. This visit highlighted the historical significance of the boycott, which paved the way for the Race Relations Act of 1965.

Image: JAYEMM - We Rise Artist
Of the writing process, Julz Davis, Disruptor-in-Chief at Curiosity UnLtd, says:

“We stand on the shoulders of giants, and the trip to Parliament was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for these young artists to get up close and personal with some of those giants. We travelled up in a bus that had been fully wrapped to tell the Bristol Bus Boycott story. This provided a unique setting to inspire and ultimately enrich their songwriting process. We Rise exceeded my expectations and is truly an anthem for change that Bristol can be inspired by and proud of.”

‘We Rise’ is accompanied by a music video paying tribute to the St Pauls community and featuring footage from the Parliament visit. A Behind the Scenes film, exploring the track’s themes and capturing the Parliament speeches, will also be released on Bristol Beacon’s YouTube channel. Both videos will be prominently featured in the ‘Race Cards: A Blueprint 4 Change’ exhibition at Bristol Beacon from June 20 to July 5 as part of the Windrush To Bristol programme at which a number of the Bristol Bus Boycott pioneers will be honoured with a seat dedication in the venue’s 2,000 capacity Beacon Hall auditorium.

Guest artist mentor Tanya Lacey adds:
“It’s always exciting working with young people who are expressive with their music. Projects like these are crucial for reflecting on our history and honouring the paths paved by our elders.”

‘We Rise’ premieres on Monday 17 June. The track is part of the ‘Race Cards: A Blueprint 4 Change’ exhibition at Bristol Beacon


About Bristol Beacon:

Bristol Beacon is a renowned music charity, venue, and award-winning music education hub. With a city-wide programme of live music, creative learning opportunities, and community engagement, Bristol Beacon is dedicated to making space for music every day, with everyone.

The venue changed its name from Colston Hall in 2020, ending the symbolic association with slave-trader Edward Colston.

Bristol Beacon reopened following a five-year, multi-million-pound transformation in November 2023.

About Aspiration Creation Elevation (ACE):

Aspiration Creation Elevation (ACE) is a youth organisation empowering disadvantaged young people through arts activities, role-model guidance and inspirational experiences. Based in inner-city Bristol, ACE supports a vast array of talented young musicians, helping them build their skills and raise their confidence, so they can one day reach their potential in life.

About Curiosity UnLtd

Curiosity UnLtd is an award-winning think-and-do tank based in Bristol. They collaborate with corporate, civic, and community changemakers to co-create initiatives in racial equity and social justice. Their mission is to transform Bristol from the 7th worst into the best place to live in the UK for People of Colour.

For more information:


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