Massive International is an offshoot of Big Broad and Massive a music promotion Coop set up in Hackney East London in 1983.
B.B.M was the fundraising arm of Hackney Youth in Progress a politically sensitive grassroots organisation which had campaigned against the victimization and lack of opportunities available to the young people, in particular the black youths of the area. More importantly the group worked along with other organisations at the time in developing cultural awareness and identity to the growing number of young British born Black males to whom a life of crime seemed the only option. The powers that be recognized that educating cultural and social awareness to our young was essential into developing them into responsible citizens, not only for themselves but the Country and that this education be carried out by those who had been through their experience, i.e. born in England of West Indian parents was also recognized as important.
Despite this our methods of achieving our aims through activities like Sound Systems, Youth/Social clubs, Stage Shows, Film Making, Open Air Festivals, Carnivals etc were often undermined by the said Authorities, usually on the pretex of environmental health and safety, or objections from the local Constabulary. The bureaucratic maze, which was brought into play once approval for any of the aforementioned initiatives was granted, added to the frustration.
Within this background B.B.M promoted a series of music and sport festivals between 84 – 86 which presented the diverse talents of the young people of London. The shows Incorporated giant video screens and slide presentation showing mix footage from Jamaica and South Afrika never seen before that time. A separate stage for dancers completed the multi media presentation. These festivals proved very popular,and was used as a launch pad by many now established artist and D.Js. Another success of these shows had been the exhibition and sales area displaying art and graft originating from the ideas of the Black British experience.
One artist in particular typified the mood of the young British Black Man at the time. CLIVE A WOODSTOCK captured the imagination of the growing Ragamuffin scene.
So much so that his first poster sold over 5000 pieces dispite many outlets refusing to display it because they thought it offensive or negative, depending on if the proprietor was white or black respectively. This poster is now a collector’s item.
After B.B.Ms funding bodies had cease to exist, the group had continued fundraising efforts by running a stall at the annual Notting Hill Carnival. Building on the multimedia presentation of the stage shows our stall display and merchandise was an instant attraction not only to local black youths but also to European tourist visiting the carnival for the first time. For whom finding stalls like ours had been their main aim.
In 1992 Massive International London was formed as a music merchandise distribution company.
Building on the ‘in your face presentation’ of Notting Hill Carnival the stall Embarked on a tour of Europe’s major Reggae music festivals in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Holland, Switzerland etc, spreading the positive vibes of reggae music and livity. The stall has also accompanied touring reggae bands such as Culture, Misty in Roots, Shabba Ranks, Ninja Man etc as a merchandise stall selling artifacts of band members as well as our own. Some promoters fail to cease the opportunity demanded by reggae fans that see music and the cultural merchandise which accompanies them as the same package.
It’s this realisation which has kept us on the road till now. Contacts gained from touring and from our weekly set up at Camden Lock market enhanced our presence in Europe. Several production and distribution companies saw the potential of distributing their products through us direct to the public. The pleasure derived from providing such a service is immeasurable. The most visible results have been the rise in cultural outlets around Europe. In the mid eighties their were Few Reggae or Cultural artifacts outlets, around Europe. Over the years this trend has changed and the force of Rastafari has grown slowly but surely among conscious minded Youth.
They are hungry for the philosophy and lifestyle of Rastafari culture, so much so that every major European City has at least one shop decorated in the Ethiopian Ites, Gold and Green.
The most interesting facet of this observation is that most of the proprietors of these Business does not claim to be Rastafarians, but they recognise the value of the goods to the people who visit their establishment. These people to represent a cross section of the population, not just people stereotypically associated with the music. A sign that the hype Surrounding the sales of modern technology has not diminished mankind’s desire to stay in touch with the art of the world’s ancient peoples whether it be from Asia, Afrika, The Americas, Australia or the Caribbean.
The indigenous art and craft of these regions are artifacts valued for the authenticity of the people who created them as well as for its natural beauty. We have met young people on our travels who having been primarily influenced by the music of Bob Marley believe that respect of one human being to another first lies in respect for ones self.
Achieving this relies first on the acceptance that we are no better or worst than anyone else. When accepting this fact we can begin to place ourselves on a path to spiritual and personal upliftment need in this time.
Having established our unique style of selling we intend at future festivals to incorporate live p.a. demonstrations from young U.K. based artist seeking exposure to a wider audience. We have found that the major festival although catering for new rock and indie bands overlook up and coming U.K Black Musicians whose initial performance experience is limited to inner city talent shows. On the production side, work with independent U.K. reggae labels. Such as UK Black Roses will be the focus of most of our future distribution.
The ongoing development of Clive .A Woodstock’s artwork will front our image. His work was and still is geared towards producing feature length reggae orientated edutainment animation. As this site develops we will demonstrate our progress on this.
Blessed love “T”