Black History Month Recommendations
BOAT’s group SCAB for Black History Month was so thought-provoking and full of useful recommendations that we felt it warranted its own column.
From books, to podcasts and instagram accounts; find our student’s top picks of what they’re reading this month (and every month!) to educate themselves on this important topic.
We must do more to support black creatives. We must do more to celebrate black creatives. We must do more to elevate black creatives. We must do more to promote equal opportunities. We must do more to educate ourselves. We must do more to highlight the cultural value of diverse workforces. We must do more to create inclusive workforces. And we must do this all year round, not just during Black History Month.
Here are meaningful ways we can support change, show solidarity and make our voices heard in the UK:
- Donate to anti-racism charities https://www.wecreatechange.co.uk/engage/charities
- Read. Educate ourselves about racism in past and present times https://time.com/5846732/books-to-read-about-anti-racism/
- Sign petitions to help shape Government policy https://www.wecreatechange.co.uk/engage/petitions
- Be inspired by black creatives https://www.vogue.co.uk/miss-vogue/article/black-creatives
- Support initiatives helping black creatives https://www.bustle.com/life/change-making-initiatives-that-support-black-creatives-in-the-uk-22981657 & https://www.alternativeclassical.co.uk/features/support-black-voices
- Support the black LGBTQI+ community https://www.ukblackpride.org.uk/
Black History Month is an acknowledgment of our shared and marbled histories of both devastation and celebration. Irish, African or British, these stories overlap and lean on one another. The omission of one is to the detriment of everyone.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of people who I feel raised the bar of culture in both Ireland and abroad over 100 years ago and yesterday.
Black history month isn’t actually a thing in France, I looked it up. It doesn’t exist, yet I don’t feel like the issues mentioned aren’t part of black French people’s lives. I strongly support initiatives that aim to raise awareness and feel even more that, as Lilian Thuram (thuram.org) said, against racism we need to educate. Education is key to better a society’s future.
Self awareness is key if we are to make progress. I would encourage everyone to take these tests, to gain some insight into their subconscious and to gain some self awareness to support their decision making.
It’s a small step but I took this wake up call as the motivation to stop procrastinating reading “Why I no longer talk to white people about race” which has been on my shelf for a while.
I think we should continue to celebrate and expand our awareness of Black History and Culture throughout the year as well as making ourselves aware of the racism ( overt , covert and institutional ) that people are still facing today and continuing to speak out against it. These Instagram pages are a good place to start
As is this book :
We actually learnt way more about Black American history in the British curriculum than we did black British history, which sounds so odd to me now. So I picked up and read 2 fantastic books “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge and “Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire” by Akala. Both incredibly powerful and informative books on the African and Caribbean fundamental part in British history.
I learnt about the importance of the Windrush generation recently and the Windrush Foundation. I then made a video for my previous employers highlighting its importance, here is the link to view it > https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6813054503152078849/
I’m not saying that we should get rid of BHM but allow it to be in a normal curriculum all year around, and not just trying to sum up an entire history POC within just one month. Choosing better dialogue about how we talk about our history.
But it’s not all bad executive action has some level of up-sides, as well as there much more Open dialogue and conversations happening.
Morgan Freeman on black history month.
I’m always thinking about the contribution to culture when I think of black people and how invisible we are unless we are discussing our proximity to pain, so I’m trying to focus on black people I’ve never heard of. Black Romans like Severus Septimus. Black Tudors like Catalina de Cardones who accompanied Carathine of Aragon, I bet she saw some shit when Ann Boleyn got on the scene. Ooh or that rich African lady that was found buried in York with an Ivory bangle, what’s her story? Finally, How many great Ancient Greeks travelled to Africa to study and gain knowledge, what we associate with blackness has changed. Either way I like to focus on the reality that we have always been here. Everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Anyway James Baldwin sums up it up better than me:
Sometimes it’s better to listen, learn and amplify than to speak. So instead of an opinion I’ll share some good news. Black British literature is not a new thing, it’s just been excluded from the canon for centuries. Many great works have fallen out of print. But now Bernadine Evaristo is bringing them back, resurrecting lost writing in a new series, Black Britain: Writing Back. Time to get reading.
Since the BLM protests of the last year, Junaya Future Khan has led Sunday sermons on instagram (@janayathefuture). They use technology to create a space of learning in an intimate and compassionate way. Being white, I have found these sermons useful in regularly de-centering myself through listening, and strengthening the anti-racist actions of myself and those around me. Reading the black queer feminist literature of Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, bell hooks and Saidiya Hartman (and so many more!) has totally transformed how I understand Feminism and creativity. Lorde’s essay Poetry is Not a Luxury outlines how creative output is not a choice, but a vital necessity: http://sites.utexas.edu/lsjcs/files/2017/07/Lorde-Poetry-Is-Not-a-Luxury.pdf
Black history month takes from the British comedy TV show ‘Famalam’:
The first time I watched this TED talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about ‘the danger of a single story’ was in school, eight years ago. Whenever I’m feeling unmotivated or discouraged about life, I come back to it, and it reminds me why my voice is so important. To keep going.
Go watch it. Then read some of her books. Americanah is a personal favourite.
And if you haven’t seen the D&AD award-winning ad/short film ‘You Love Me’ yet, check it out. Listen to it. Like really listen to it.