Arguably, the achievements and contributions of African and Caribbean people and communities should be celebrated all year round, nonetheless, the month of October provides a focus point in Black History Month, and this year, almost 30 years after it was launched, it remains one of the biggest celebrations of the Britain’s black culture and the culture of all African people.
Let’s take a walk through a sample of some of the events of this year’s Black History Month.
Africa on the Square – Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
Saturday 15th October, noon – 6pm. Free
London’s Trafalgar square will play host to a colorful display of African arts and culture for the third time. Africa on the Square is organized by the Mayor of London as part of the Black History Month and through a range of activities, it highlights the achievements of black communities across the globe. What can you expect? DJs, live music as well as an African market along with fashion shows and a lot of activities for children.
Ujima Hair Stories – City of Westminster College, Paddington Green, London
Saturday 29th October 2016. Under 12’s FREE with interactive workshops
Three black British business women; Katrina Emmanuel, Merissa Hylton and Belinda Raji have come together to form Ujima, which presents ‘HairStories’, a celebration of African hair throughout the ages. Visitors will enjoy a day filled with artistic imagery and interactive workshops that seek to celebrate African hair, the importance of African heritage and the multitude of varied hair journeys that exist. There will also be a variety of stalls for you to browse and shop the best in arts, crafts, fashion and natural hair products.
Black Is The Colour Of My Voice – Wilton’s Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley (pedestrian access only), London, E1 8JB
Tuesday, October 25th – Saturday, October 29th. Tickets: £15 to £25
Written and performed by Apphia Campbell.
‘Black is the Colour of My Voice’ is inspired by the life of Nina Simone. The play follows the story of the successful jazz singer through a period of grief while she is trying to cope with the loss of her father. In the second part of the evening, Apphia’s ‘Soul Sessions’ cabaret will remind the visitors of Nina Simone’s soul rocking music. After sell-out performances all over the world directors, Arran Hawkins and Nate Jacobs are coming to Wilton’s Music Hall.
Celebrating the work of Malick Sidibé: The eye of modern Mali at Somerset House – Terrace Rooms, Somerset House, London, WC2R 1LA
6 October 2016 – 15 January 2017. Free Entry.
An exhibition showcasing the work of Sidibé, a celebrated and award-winning photographer, is taking place at Somerset House. Acclaimed for his black and white images chronicling the lives and culture of the Malian capital, Bamako, in the wake of the country’s independence, Sidibé’s 45 original prints from the 60s and 70s will be accompanied by the gallery soundtrack which will recreate the spirit of the nightclubs where he shot his work.
Africa Arts Festival – Brighton Museum and Brighton Dome
Friday 28th to Sunday 30th October
A weekend celebration of African fashion, film, food, music and literature, inspired by the Fashion Cities Africa exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, created in collaboration with artists, makers, musicians, writers, performers, cultural organisations, and community groups. Highlights include Passion for Fashion: an evening of tales from Africa and Queer Fashion in the African Diaspora.
RBMA UK Tour Pres. Awesome Tapes From Africa – Corsica Studios, 4/5 Elephant Road, London SE17
October 20th – October 21st, 9pm to 2am. Entry: £15
Corsica Studios will be hosting a 10th Anniversary of ‘Awesome Tapes From Africa’. A decade ago a small blog started collecting gems of African music on tape. Today they are one of the most prestigious labels that release tons of new music. Corsica studios will be dancing to musical rarities that will take you on a journey through African rhythms.’ Awesome tapes from Africa’ will be playing with Ata Kak, DJ Katapila and DEBONAIR guaranteeing a great night of entertainment for all African beats fans.
Black | White | Colour – 192-196 Hanbury St, London, E1 5HU
Saturday 1st October – Friday 28th October. Free
Three different authors approach the same topic from their own photographic perspectives. In the focus are the lives of ordinary black people regardless of where they are. Kay Rufai explores the African tribes and the lives of people we know little about, while Cinzia D’Ambrosi documents the racism African refugees face in Europe. David Cantor’s work depicts everyday life on Brick Lane. By representing the lives of black people from different perspectives this exhibition makes a strong statement about black culture and its position in the modern world.
London African Entrepreneur Awards UK 2016 – The Decorium, Western Road Wood Green, London, N22 6UH
Friday 14th October, 7pm – Saturday 15th October, 3pm. Entry: £52.69 – £1,000
On October 14th the second African Entrepreneur Awards UK ceremony kicks off to reward the hard work and talent that enabled African and Non-African entrepreneurs to develop successful business models. More importantly, these awards aim to inspire more people to leave a positive influence on their communities and their countries. The ceremony will feature speakers from around the world.
Black History Month Oral History Archive – Multiple locations, online
Saturday 1st October – Monday 31st October. Free entry
The members of the Afro-Caribbean community of the East End will have the opportunity to share stories with their community. The importance of the oral history has been well documented, but there are always more stories to be heard. Collecting stories that tell the tales of black communities is what the Oral History Archive is all about. The Archive will be available online on October 29th.
Father Comes Home From The Wars (Part 1, 2 & 3) – Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS
Thursday 15th September – Saturday 22th October – £12
The year is 1862. The American Civil War is raging. A slave from West Texas is offered freedom if he joins the Confederate army. A black man forced to fight for those who don’t want to abolish slavery and in return he gets only a vague promise that one day he and his family will be free. Another brilliant play written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Jo Bonney.
GS Power Series Black History Month Special – 1 Embankment Place, London, SE1 2RT
Tuesday 11th October from 6pm to 9.30pm. Free entry
Generation Success has organized an event that will see a panel of leading BME business leaders who will be sharing their career journey and secrets to their success. This is an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge and build connections that may lead to better prospects in your chosen career. Featured speakers are Miranda Brawn, Jeff Green, and Sheldon Mills among many others.
Photomonth East London – Venues across East London
Saturday 1st October – Wednesday 30th November. Free entry
One of the largest photography festivals in London offers a wide variety of events that allow its visitors to get an insight into the contemporary photography scene. Galleries and cultural venues all over East London will host different events that are part of one of the most important happenings in the world of photography this year.
The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa: Black British Solidarity and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle – Woolwich Library, 35 Wellington Street, London
Monday 24th October, 6pm. Free entry – but booking is essential (020 8921 5750).
Elizabeth Williams, a university professor is the author of a book that speaks about the solidarity of the Britain’s African Diaspora during the struggles they experienced while facing Apartheid in South Africa. The need to help the people who were brutally tortured united them and it kept them united until the downfall of the monstrous ideology of Apartheid. Elizabeth Williams will talk about her book and provide a historical view on a subject that isn’t well known to the wider audiences.
Distorted Images II: A discussion on gentrification – Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, London
Thursday 27th October, 7pm. Free entry
Gentrification is taking place everywhere. Is it good for the local communities or is it causing permanent damage to them? Distorted Images II is a series of debates based on A Moving Image film. This award-winning movie treats the subject of gentrification in Brixton while mixing in documentary and narrative fiction. The authors of the film will be present at the debate where they will share their own views on the problems that are troubling the local community. Writer/Director Shola Amoo approaches the entire problem from the historical perspective and explains that current processes are the consequences of a much longer struggle.
The African Fight: The Hidden History of WWI and the Battle of Somme – Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, London SW2 1EF
Wednesdays 5th October – 2nd November. Entry: £50
The five-week course investigates the role of black soldiers in the Battle of Somme and the contributions of the soldiers that came from the Caribbean and Africa. The lectures show how African people went from fighting against the colonial powers to fighting for them. This course provides an insight into the history of the late 19th and early 20th century, while explaining the importance of the presence of Black soldiers at the battle of the Somme. The lecturers are Selena Carty, Sheraine Williams, and Tanya Prendergast.