Benjamin Zephaniah (1958-2023) died this Thursday (December 7th) at the age of 65. His family said in a statement, according to The Independent: “It is with great sadness and regret that we announce the death of our beloved husband, son and brother in the early hours of this morning.”

His wife was always at his side “and was with him when he died. We shared him with the world and we know that many will be shocked and saddened by this news. Benjamin was a true pioneer, he gave the world given so much.” The family also said he was diagnosed with a brain tumor eight weeks ago.

Zephaniah was born in Birmingham, England, in 1958, the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. At the age of 13 he left school because he was dyslexic and could not read or write. However, he took a liking to poetry, moved to London at the age of 22 and published his first volume of poetry, “Pen Rhythm”, in 1980. This was followed by several volumes of poetry and plays.

Zephaniah, who declined the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2003, dealt with issues such as racism, poverty and social injustice. For a long time he devoted himself to dub poetry, which developed as a form of performance poetry from the music genre of the same name of Jamaican origin, and also performed with the group The Benjamin Zephaniah Band. In addition to his writing work, Zephaniah worked as an actor and played the role of Jeremiah “Jimmy” Jesus, a street preacher and friend of the Peaky Blinders gang around Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy, 47), in the BBC drama series “Peaky Blinders” between 2013 and 2022. .