A happy face, a thumpin' bass, for a lovin' race
Soul II Soul T-shirts - with their signature cartoon Jazzie B logo became a symbol of club culture in the late 80s and early 90s, when the group brought a distinctive black British style to the dance floors. With the full range now re-released at HARVEY NICHOLS, Jazzie B reflects on 25 years of the Funki Dred.
The T-shirts have existed since the year dot for us. We've been going since 1977 and been SOUL II SOUL since 1982. We came up with the design in 1979 - the original is by DEREK YATES, who I went to school with. He drew the cartoon and we issued the T-shirts back in 1990. We came up with the Funki Dred - the idea was we came from a planet called Ard, and we were sent to the earth as pleasure-givers, to put on parties and get into the funk.
In those days, we were West Indian kids growing up in a country where we didn't fit in. We were born in the UK but nothing in the culture related to us. That was the whole idea behind the Funki Dred. We were about being inclusive rather than exclusive, as other subcultures were. We had elements of fashion, music, club culture. It wasn't just for black British people - it was for everyone. That's why our motto was: "A happy face, a thumpin' bass, for a lovin' race."
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