Henry Stone’s Black Inferno – review


With a balance of accessibility and potency reminiscent of George the Poet, Henry Stone’s  Black Inferno is a raw, urgent encapsulation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Devoid of unnecessarily flowery jargon, Stone’s direct, exact language, coupled with reels of recent protest footage, sends an unwavering message: the civil rights movement is here and now, and it’s not going away until it’s redundant. 

In little over five minutes, the London-based poet and creator covers not only the atomised, individual experiences of racial violence but an array of larger structural issues. From cultural and artistic exploitation, to the damage of performative allyship, to disproportionate imprisonment rates, Stone’s piece is simultaneously a call to action, and an appraisal of the action already underway.

Seamlessly weaving together this mass of content in an eloquent, rhythmic manner, consistently containing impressive multi-syllabic rhymes, Stone has been hailed as having “spoken for a generation”.

With over 26K views across platforms in its first 24 hours, it’s clear that the public is still engaging with the Black Lives Matter movement on social media. But whilst indicative of incremental progress, mere engagement is not enough – as Stone highlights both verbally and visually:

“I see the gram and I pree the posts,
But I need a lot more than activism and snap decisions to enact the mission,
And to make sure my n****** don’t go back to prison.
If all you have is a couple black squares,
It means you did nothing to back the vision”

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