British Black History Month turns 30 in 2017. Here's how to mark the anniversary this October
'Britain on Film: Black Britain’
In 1981, thousands of Londoners marched to Hyde Park for the Black People’s Day of Action in protest at the 13 young people of colour who died in a fire at 439 New Cross Road. The slogan ‘Thirteen dead and nothing said’ could be seen on placards, denouncing the two long months it took Margaret Thatcher to express sympathy. This is one of many pivotal moments seen in ‘Britain on Film: Black Britain’, a collection of archive films capturing the lives of twentieth-century Britons of colour. It’s a timeline of racial tensions and, equally, moments of joy. You’re at Notting Hill Carnival one minute, and at a Cornish-Nigerian wedding the next. The film is showing at the Barbican Cinema this week. It’s a visual reminder that black history is world history, and deserves more than 31 days could ever hope to offer.
Barbican Cinema. Barbican tube. Sun Oct 8. £10.50.
Genesis Cinema Screenings
This gorgeous, armchair-laden east London cinema will be holding a programme of free film screenings in celebration of Black History Month. There’s a chance to see the psychological horror ‘Get Out’, the James Baldwin documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’, the Oscar-nominated biopic ‘Hidden Figures’ and the story of a Rhodes scholar from colonial Jamaica, ‘The Stuart Hall Project’. See them gratis in the cinema’s Bar Paragon. But act quick: ‘Moonlight’ tickets are already sold out.
Genesis Cinema. Whitechapel tube. Oct 10-Nov 14. Free, book in advance.
Feast in the Archive: 30th Anniversary of Black History Month
Get a bellyfull of jollof rice and suya, curry goat and johnnycakes with a Sunday buffet at the Black Culture Archives. All the ticket proceeds will go towards preserving British black heritage at the Archives HQ.
Black Cultural Archives. Brixton tube. Oct 29. £25.
Secrets of Soho Black History Walk
Here are a few things you can learn about on a short walk to Russell Square: ancient African civilisations, the legacy of Marcus Garvey and British imperial rule. These walks might be popular with tourists, but the guide’s incisive knowledge of the city’s African/Caribbean roots is something every Londoner can benefit from.
Location tbc. Oxford Circus tube. Sat Oct 7. £10.
Inclusive south London arts company Pegasus brings its transformative opera to Brixton Library with a celebration of black presence in opera. It’s one in a series of events planned for Lambeth Black History Month. See an unpredictable mix of performances about African American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and the inspiration for Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’, Margaret Garner. Audience participation is very much the Pegasus MO, so start warming up your vocal chords.
Brixton Library. Brixton tube. Sat Oct 7. Free.
Find more stuff happening in London this October.