Dance Can’t Nice: Exploring London’s Black music spaces

Where does Black British music belong, and who gets to decide? Celebrating south London’s music scene, Music Curator Adem Holness highlights the relationship between Black British music and physical space.

When the 696 risk assessment form made it harder for London venues to put on Black music events, many genres continued to flourish in private spaces.

Artists Naeem Dxvis and SignKid explore the language and spaces that have influenced the production and advancement of British Bashment, Garage, Lovers Rock, Grime, Gospel, Jazz and Soul.

Naeem Davis reimagines the bedrooms, barbers, churches and living rooms that are home to Black music genres and the people who contribute to them.

SignKid showcases the British Sign Language versions of key slang words and phrases from Black British music culture through an interactive video.

The exhibition is a Black-led interrogation of the power and responsibility public spaces and organisations have in supporting local music. By opening up the Horniman’s spaces to celebrate and showcase south London’s music scene, we hope others will do the same.

The exhibition is free, but you need to a book a free time slot to visit the Museum.

Why ‘Dance Can’t Nice’?

An adaptation of the Jamaican Patois “Dance cyaan nice”. In both Jamaican Patois and Jamaican English, this means we’re not going to have a good time at the music event.

Taking its name from the Frankie Paul & Sugar Minott song, Dance Can’t Nice invites you to consider the things Black live music needs to be great.

“Dance cyan nice unless we name pon de bill”

General Levy – Incredible

Shortlisted for Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year

Text reads Museums and Heritage Awards Shortlistee 2022

Supported by