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The Forgotten People

Lady Unchained

Lady Unchained stands in front of a graffitied wall with right fist raised in the air
Image by by Tracy Kiryango

The Forgotten People speaks to all those Black people who are trapped in the criminal justice system, who’s voices can’t be heard, those who can’t march or speak out about the abuse they face.

– Lady Unchained

In January 2021, we shared the premiere of The Forgotten People, a newly commissioned poem and film written and performed by artist and poet Lady Unchained. The Forgotten People highlights racial inequality in the UK prison system and was written in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020. 

Lady Unchained’s mission is to prove that there is life after prison and she initiated Unchained Poetry, a platform for artists with experience of the criminal justice system. Through poetry, she tells her own story and the stories of those with experience of the criminal justice system that are often left untold, because of shame, stigma and negative labels.

In the artist’s words:
“This poem is my personal campaign against the criminal justice system. We need to change the sentencing process and the way Black people are treated within the system from searches, to arrests, to court, to prison. After serving time in prison myself, I found out that being Black was a crime in the UK. There are so many Black people serving sentences for crimes that our white counterparts would not get a prison sentence for and, if they did, would receive a less harsh punishment.”

The Forgotten People was filmed in various locations in Lady Unchained’s local area in South London where there are currently hundreds of Black people imprisoned across three prison sites.

On 28 January 2021, we held a screening of The Forgotten People, followed by an online conversation between the creatives and Q&A about the making of the film:

The Forgotten People is commissioned by Artsadmin, with support from BE PART through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. 

Written and performed by Lady Unchained

Cinematographer and editor: Tracy Kiryango

For more information on this project, please contact Moriam Grillo at

Date Title Venue City
28 January 2021 The Forgotten People: Lady Unchained and Tracy Kiryango in conversation
18 January – 18 February 2021 The Forgotten People
Lady Unchained stands in front of a graffitied wall with right fist raised in the air
Image by by Tracy Kiryango