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BRINSLEY Forde, a founding member of reggae band Aswad, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Tuesday at Buckingham Palace in England.

The 61-year-old Forde was awarded the MBE by Prince William. His son, music producer Jermaine Forde and 80-odd year-old mother Stella, attended the ceremony.

Forde, who no longer has shoulder-length dreadlocks, spoke to the Jamaica Observer about being recognised by the British Crown.

“So far it has been positive in the feeling it has generated. So many good vibes with shouts that it was an achievement that lifted the spirit of the community,” he said. “My mother is very proud and that makes me happy. Giving thanks to my son, I’m blessed with another grandchild, that comes into this world with the knowledge he can achieve whatsoever he may choose to do.”

Forde was born in London to Guyanese parents. He started his entertainment career in the early 1970s as a teen actor on British shows like Here Come the Double Deckers.

He found fame later that decade with Aswad which released a series of hard-hitting songs that railed at racism against British minorities during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Most of those songs, including Not Guilty, Not Satisfied and African Children, were written or co-written by Forde.

Aswad’s sound and look became more mainstream in the late 1980s, their most commercially successful period with songs like Don’t Turn Around.

The band’s transformation seemed to reflect a social transformation in Britain.

“Britain has changed drastically yet remains the same. Our culture, music language, etc, has integrated into the British society,” Forde said. “Sometimes you hear some youths talking, and if you don’t see them it’s become impossible to know where they’re from.”

Forde left Aswad in 1996.