Legendary Poet and Peaky Blinders Star Benjamin Zephaniah Passes Away: The Untold Story of His Impactful Legacy and Controversial Choices

A post on his Instagram account Poet and Peaky officially confirmed his passing in the early hours of Thursday. The statement conveyed that Zephaniah’s wife remained with him throughout his final moments, sharing, “We shared him with the world, and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news.”

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Born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham, to a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse, Zephaniah faced dyslexia and left school at the age of 13, unable to read or write. Moving to London at 22, he published his debut book, Pen Rhythm, utilizing dub poetry, a Jamaican style that later influenced the music genre of the same name.

Poet and Peaky

As his profile Poet and Peaky expanded, Zephaniah became a familiar face on television and contributed significantly to bringing Dub Poetry into British homes. Beyond his literary achievements, he acted in the BBC drama series Peaky Blinders from 2013 to 2022, playing the role of Jeremiah “Jimmy” Jesus.

Known for rejecting an OBE in 2003 due to its association with the British Empire’s history of slavery, Zephaniah was a vocal advocate on issues such as racial abuse and education. Despite a challenging upbringing marked by violence, he became a prominent figure in literature, releasing novels and poetry for children, including the successful “Talking Turkeys” in 1994.

Zephaniah, a multifaceted artist, also delved into music, releasing the album “Rasta” in 1982, featuring the Wailers’ first recording post-Bob Marley. His commitment to justice and equality was reflected in his tributes to political figures like Nelson Mandela.

The statement on his passing highlighted Zephaniah’s impactful legacy across poems, literature, music, television, and radio. The Black Writers’ Guild, which he helped establish, mourned the loss of a valued friend and a titan of British literature, emphasizing his integrity and exemplary values.

Tributes poured in from various figures, including actor Cillian Murphy, broadcaster Trevor Nelson, singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, and comedian Lenny Henry, all expressing their sadness at the premature loss of a gifted and influential individual.

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