Smiley Culture


The sudden death of UK reggae icon Smiley Culture during a police raid by the Metropolitan Police Serious and Organised Crime Squad has sent shockwaves through the UK urban music scene and black communities.

Questions are being raised within Black communities in London over reports that the former singer ‘killed himself’.

There is a growing consensus that the reggae star may have been involved in a struggle with police officers that may have contributed to the stars untimely death.

Met Officers aided by Surrey officers raided the home of Smiley Culture, in Warlingham Surrey, early yesterday morning. At this stage it’s not clear what the reason for the raid was or indeed what happened once the police arrived. What is known is that within 35 minutes of the police arriving Smiley Culture was dead. The police version of events was that Smiley had “stabbed himself to death” whilst in police custody.

The case has been referred to the Independent Police Compliant Commission who is now conducting an independent investigation. The incident is set to be discussed at the forthcoming monthly meeting Lambeth Police Consultative Group early next month.

Police and black community relations could be deeply affected by this incident and it will be important that the authorities provide a clear and credible explanation of what actually happened.

Lee Jasper former Policing Director for London and Board member for Lambeth Police Consultative Groups expressed his grave concern about the possible ramifications of this tragic incident:  “There is widespread and massive anger and concern about the death of Smiley among his fans, friends and family. Concerns are being expressed about the credibility of the police version of events. I knew the man personally and I have to say that even I find the initial police reports of what happened incredulous.” He said.

He added: “Tough questions are being asked about how such a tragedy could occur and very many people are in a state of shock and disbelief. To say the police are disbelieved is an understatement. I will be fully supporting the family in their pursuit of finding out the truth about what actually happened”.

Smiley Culture, real name David Emmanuel, had appeared before magistrates charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine last September.  

Smiley was enormously popular with black and white people alike and is considered a forerunner - his chart topping tune Cockney Translator has been hailed as a celebration of British multiculturalism - and to have paved the way for mega artists such as UK Tinie Tempah and Chipmonk.

News update: Press release

The family of UK reggae star Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel who died Tuesday 15th March in suspicious circumstances during a raid on his home by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad will be holding a press conference at the Karibu Education Centre 7 Gresham Rd Brixton SW9 7PH, Thursday 17th March at 12 noon .

In attendance and speaking on behalf of the Emmanuel family will be Merlin Emmanuel. A long time friend and associate of Smiley’s, Asher Senator will speak along with other members of his immediate family.

Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium will chair the press conference.

For more information contact Lee Jasper on: 07984 181797.

Archived Comments

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I didn't know you but I certainly knew your beautiful music.

May your soul rest in peace brother.

worked with Smiley on his PR

worked with Smiley on his PR in the early days - a man of energy, creactivity, and to many seen as one of the forerunners who helped black music break through to the mainstream. Gone but not easily forgotten.

Smiley Culture

RIP. You will be missed. Your music is original and entertaining. Reminds me of my youth.
Prayers are with you and your family.

Smiley - Memories of you are only good ones

Tendai Mwari (be Thankful Unto God)

Was fortunate to have met him on a couple of occasions, one in particular I remember was when the sound I belonged to, Harmony (back in the 80's) was playing at the Podium and Smiley did a PA there. We reasoned later on in the Dj booth and I found him a joy to be around, and very funny too!!

May he raise on the wings of Ma'at after a favourable judgement in the council of Asar.

Smiley Culturen R.I.P Oh

Smiley Culturen R.I.P
Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains. ~Kahlil Gibran

smiley culture

RIP my friend remembering the good old days and the jokes we all thoughts are with your family and i will support all i can to ensure the truth comes out. People out there that didnt know smiley dont be side sweepet by talks and media coverage arround out standing court cases. Somthing seriously went wrong on tuesday and the police need to be accountable

Smiley Culture

I am still recovering from hearing of the tragic passing of this great man.
Smiley's 'culture' was not limited to his own community but to a nation of many. A true British Icon of our lifetime. A forerunner of Rap in the UK.
I am passionate that those of us that were lucky enough to witness Smiley's infectious musical career and subsequent business life, will not stand by and allow these ridiculous and blatant lies to be spread by the ignorant press.
The truth WILL out with wisdom, dignity and pride.
no justice-no peace.

smiley culture

R.I.P Smiley you are with the Angels now, I am an Eastender & loved Cockney translation & Police Officer x

smiley culture

R.I P....the truth will come out ..thanks for the great music daughter is 11 yrs old and is aware of your music thru me and loves it .. but cant understand the



Smiley Culture

Stay strong black people,the truth will come out...i will continue to pray for the family.....the police can not continue to walk away......God is not sleeping ............

The Cockney translator

God bless you and shine his light upon you Smiley - the news is a SHOCK!! not only to your fans but to all who knew your great music. You paved the way and helped set di path that numerous artists have followed. I send my blessings & condolences to your family & numerous friends but also ask for truth & justice to prevail in Jesus precious name. Amen

RIP. I was shocked to hear

RIP. I was shocked to hear about your death, you were with us upto last week. I remember your songs when I was a teenager. What is happening? your family needs answers. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Smiley Culture

RIP. I was shocked to hear about your death, you were with us upto last week. I remember your songs as a teenager. What is happening? Your family needs answers,we demand answers! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


Knowing smiley for over 30 years it would seem that the police would have us beleive there nonscence, a man who loved life would not take his life just like that.serious implication's for the police to answer to. This time it had better be the truth, for once..Much love to the whole family.

Smiley Culture

It is clear already that police methods are in question from start to finish.If his premises warranted a search why was'nt he handcuffed,was the raid recorded audio/video? Im sure independant pathologists and coroners will come up with a plausable explanation of how Smiley's life came to such a tragic end.

Smiley Culture

R.I.P., Smiley Culture..................The truth will come out