Recognising Black History Month at BCT
The wave of protests, gatherings and Zoom meetings that have taken place all over the country following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, reflect both a powerful solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA and also a sense that Black Lives still do not matter to those in power in Britain. Racism still runs deep throughout Britain’s institutions and we seem to be moving further from equality rather than closer to it.
We all have a responsibility to be change makers but in order to play that role we need to educate ourselves about the issues at stake so that we can act effectively and meaningfully. The following document outlines some of the campaigns and individuals / organisations which we can tap into, as well as literature, podcasts and videos to stimulate discussion and debate around what it means to be Black and British in the UK (with a focus on the creative industries and education).
Campaigns and Agencies
Marvyn Harrison, Founder of Dope Black Dads, has associated with Multi-disciplinary creative Jess Mally to launch Belovd Agency, the consultancy that wants to ‘help businesses create a 10 year plan to make diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) obsolete’.
Jess Mally is a London based writer, speaker, podcast host, creative and events producer, consultant and the host of An Introduction to Antiracism, a course developed to help those who truly want to begin their journey of understanding racial justice. Jess Mally has a passion for social change, mental health, the arts and spirituality, and recently released Young King, a visual masterpiece that celebrates black men in all their beauty, vulnerability and strength, with McKnasty.
Her new venture, Belovd Agency, is a DEI and representation partnership, providing education, training and strategy for the advancement of all intersections of humanity in the workplace. Belovd’s first point of call is to partner with and support businesses for Black History Month.
Belovd Agency supports business owners and companies with the Cultural Transformation we need to see across all sectors of society. Belovd wants to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive working environment for businesses, which is representative of the city they’re located in and the industry where they operate.
BCE have already made connections with both Jess and Maryvn through BCE Consultant Nell Jordan-Gent.
Read more about Marvyn here:
Decolonising the Curriculum
TheTeacherist.com and DecoloniseTheCurriculum.com have existed since 2015. Their founder (Pran Patel) and his team develop professional programmes to look at the breadth of impact unconscious bias and anti-racism can have on a school community. They look at culture, curriculum, behaviour, assessment and recruitment practices.
As a mental health and BAME advocate, Pran recently featured in two documentaries, entitled Why is teaching making me ill and Black teachers are leaving the profession due to racism. ‘
Find out more about the work of this organisation here:
The Black Curriculum
The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum. They believe that by delivering arts-focused Black history programmes, providing teacher training and campaigning through mobilising young people, they can facilitate social change.
Their programmes are for all young people aged 8-16 and are aimed at equipping young people with a sense of identity and the tools to navigate a diverse landscape. They are working towards changing the national curriculum and building a sense of identity in every young person in the UK.
Find out more at:
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Educators (BAMed)
BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and effort into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.
BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talents of diverse educators so that they may inspire future generations and open up opportiunitites within education careers.
Find out more about BAMEed here:
read an article about anti racist schools here:
The Legacy Centre of Excellence
The Legacy Centre of Excellence is the largest Black owned Business and Arts centre in Europe. It is a multi-purpose community facility with which functions as an Arts, Business and STEM centre. They have an onsite theatre, 2 auditoriums, 2 bars, a 5-star Caribbean fusion restaurant and a café-lounge.
The building was purchased in May 2019 and in September 2019 they opened their doors to the public. Their core activity is focused on working strategically and at the grassroots level to improve the social well being of communities through supporting business, arts, and culture. There website is not yet finalised but it would be worth making some connections with them. They are based in Aston, Birmingham.
Women in Control – Seat at the Table
Women In CTRL founder Nadia Khan has called on the music business to work with her organisation to build a more equal future for the industry. Khan’s statement accompanies the new Seat At The Table report by Women In CTRL that analyses the diversity of staff at 12 music industry trade bodies, focusing on gender splits and representation of black women.
The report, which is online, found a lack of female representation in leadership positions, with three Female CEOs, and one female chair across the 12 organisations.
The figures show that, across the 12 companies, five board seats out of a possible 185 and two staff positions within 122 roles are occupied by black women.
Khan said: “If we really want to really eradicate inequality in music, then all organisations need to take accountability and take concrete action to increase representation of women in leadership roles, and diversity and inclusion within their organisations for minorities, in particular black women, who are severely underrepresented.”
Women In CTRL is asking the 12 organisations studied for the survey to join its new Diversity Pledge and promise do five things: take accountability, commit to diversity, start at the top, diversify their teams and listen to women.
‘Seat at The Table’ report here:
Black Music Association
A collective of senior black music industry executives from companies including Warner, Sony, Universal Music Group, BMG, Live Nation, Spotify and the Music Managers Forum has published an open letter to business leaders calling for immediate action on racism and marginalisation within the sector.
Read more about the Association here:
Music and videos to inspire young people
At 16 years old, Leah Music has made a major impact over recent weeks after she shared an original song that she wrote in response to the killing of George Floyd by a US police officer, and the subsequent protests and injustice surrounding racial discrimination within society. Posting a clip to her Instagram,’A Letter To The World’ has attracted the attention of people from various countries including stars such as Jorja Smith, Tion Wayne, Yungen and Billie Eilish.
Watch the video and listen to the song here:
Sherrie Silver, British Rwandan choreographer –
Sherrie Silver is an MTV VMA award winning multi-style choreographer bringing a unique flavour and culture to any project. Sherrie is a Movement Director, philanthropist, actress, U.N. IFAD advocate for rural youth and a dancer. Her credits include an MTV VMA award for best choreography in 2018 and a screen nation award for best performance in film.
You can wtach an interview with Sherrie here:
The entire edition of CNN’s African Voices in which Sherrie appears talking about her life is also available to watch on the CNN website.
Aviard – Amani Simpson
Founded by former BCT student Amani Simpson ‘Aviard’ is a foundation to inspire young people, champion their cause and creates an important platform for their voice to be heard. Amani has also one of the most important voices in the Mayor’s anti knife crime campaigns
Our Lockdown Stories https://www.aviard.co.uk/ourlockdown/
Young people chose to answer one of following questions:
1) ONE thing that made you smile during lockdown
2) ONE thing that you won’t take for granted after lockdown
3) ONE thing that you’ll do differently after lockdown
4) ONE thing that you’ve had to overcome during lockdown
5) ONE thing that you’ve learned about yourself during lockdown
6) ONE thing you want our leaders to consider when planning for the future
7) ONE thing that you hope will change in the world after lockdown
The Young, Gifted and Grinding Project
Young, Gifted and Grinding focuses on innovative black entrepreneurs in Britain who are carving out opportunities for themselves and turning their passion into profit. It’s a platform to highlight the variety of ways Black British entrepreneurs are flourishing.
The project is also an opportunity to hear stories first-hand from people across the country who inspire others to aim higher.
Watch here for more information:
Create Not Hate – breaking stereotypes
Create Not Hate was originally founded in 2007 by Trevor Robinson OBE, founder and ECD of Top 100 advertising agency Quiet Storm. The company was founded off the fundamental belief that creativity has the power to transform businesses, lives and society as a whole.
First an initiative, now a non- profit Community Interest Company, Create Not Hate’s aim is to help marginalised inner city young people to unlock their creative potential, whilst also addressing social issues that they live with everyday. The ambition is to make under-represented young people aware of the opportunities in the creative industries and create a pathway into careers through hands-on exposure to and experience with all aspects of the creative process.
Watch these videos from Create Not Hate here:
The young Black Britons using TikTok as a platform to educate
A number of young black Britons have been taking to TikTok to educate their followers about figures including Roman emperor Septimus Severus and nurse Mary Seacole as Black History Month gets under way.
One TikTok user, DJ Smooth Fuego, said he wanted to highlight these figures as he claims “there is virtually no black British history taught in school”.
The Birmingham DJ has already uplaoded videos about figures such as Queen Charlotte and Roman emperor Septimus Severus and is currently uploading a new video for every day of Black History Month.
“I wanted to highlight historical figures because of the fact that there is virtually no black British history taught in school, it’s either American black history or the transatlantic slave trade,” Smooth Fuego, 34, told PA.
“I’m both black British and black American and I feel that representation is important, and wanted to know my black British history as much as my black American. I’ve done a lot of research into it but I want to spread that knowledge to others who are unaware, so that black British history becomes as commonly known, and even referred to, as a part of British history and not swept under the carpet. If we don’t teach the future generations then history will become erased and lost.”
If you want to know why we celebrate Black History Month in the UK each year you can read all about it and watch the video here:
Stories about the experiences of young Black British people:
A Black History Timeline:
Stormzy’s tribute to Chadwick Boseman
“Don’t die on me!” appeals the artist Stormzy in his latest video Superheroes.
But what it also does is touch upon the lives of the entire African, African-American and ‘Black’ community and urges them to be proud of their infallible genius. In the video a Superhero helps a young boy fly with pride, battles racism and leads the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. The video and song also makes reference to the tireless strength of Black women the world over.
You can watch the video, which has been dedicated to the late, great Chadwick Boseman here:
Because Black Books Matter
Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, Johnny Pitts, Penguin
Back to Black: Retelling Black radicalism for the 21st Century, Kehinde Andrews, Zed Books
Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored, Jeffrey Boakye, Dialogue Book
Brit (ish), Afua Hirsch, Vintage
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala, Two Roads
Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, edited by Derek Owusu, Trapeze
The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain, Arun Kundnani, Pluto Press
The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla, Unbound
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Racism, Reni Eddo Lodge, Bloomsbury
‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ by David Olusoga;
‘Across Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers: Pioneer Sylheti Settlers in Britain’, Caroline Adams, THAP Books
‘Black Britain’ (Photographic with text) by Paul Gilroy
‘Black British History’, edited by Hakim Adi, Zed Press
‘Black British Rebels’, by Hassan Mahamdallie, Bookmarks Publications
‘Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Communities and the Great War
‘Racism and Black Resistance in Britain’ Robert Moore, Pluto press
‘Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain’, by Peter Fryer
‘South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947’ edited by Rehana Ahmed & Sumita Mukherjee
‘The History of African and Caribbean Communities in Britain’ by Hakim Adi
‘The Peopling of London’, Nick Merriman, Museum of London
‘William Cuffay: the life and Times of a Chartist Leader’, Martin Hoyles, Hansib Publications
Podcasts celebrating Black music and culture
BBC 1Xtra have created a series of podcasts on Black music and culture ranging from Skepta to classical music by Black artists
Feedspots 15 best black history podcasts can be found here:
The Young and Black Campaign
The Young and Black campaign are holding a series of online events throughout the month of October in recognition of Black History Month. They have already held events on Black male identity, Black female identity and being Black and LGBTQ+.
Upcoming events include:
The misplacement of Black people in school education
This event will bring together a range of experts to discuss the lack of Black history taught in UK schools. The panel will be sharing their experiences and highlighting why and how Black history should be taught.
Event details: Wednesday 14th October 2020 from 17:00 to 18:30
Being Black in the Workplace
This event will bring together a range of experts to explore what it means to be black in the working environment. The panel will be sharing their experiences, highlighting what change can and needs to be made whilst highlighting organisations that have already started the journey of supporting young Black people in the UK to navigate the workplace.
Event details: Wednesday 28th October, 2020 from 17:00 – 18:30
Online event – book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/youngandblack-being-black-in-the-workplace-tickets-117740889169
More BHM 2020 Events both online and at venues around London can be found here: