Black History Month Leicester 2018

Line-up announced for events taking place this October, exploring representation and free speech with the theme Seen and Not Heard: Black Women.

  • Performances, workshops, films, discussion and exhibitions.
  • Venues across Leicester: Two Queens, African Caribbean Centre, Attenborough Arts Centre, Curve, De Montfort Hall, De Montfort University, Haymarket Theatre, Leicester Central Library, Guildhall, Moat Community College, Newarke Houses Museum, Phoenix, The Venue @ DMU, Sue Townsend Theatre.
  • UK and international contributors; Nora Chipaumire, Tommie Smith, Soul II Soul.
  • Tickets and Information: | 0116 257 7316

Events will be taking place across Leicester this October to celebrate Black History Month. 2018’s theme explores the theme Seen and Not Heard: Black Women, reflecting upon representation and freedom of speech and focusing on female voices from the African and African Caribbean diaspora.

Serendipity, coordinators of Black History Month in Leicester, chose a theme to put women’s voices centre stage. 2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act (when some women in the UK received the right to vote), alongside anniversaries that might not have received as wide acknowledgement; such as the thirtieth anniversary of Sisters of the Long March touring the UK, a group of women from South Africa who were part of the Anti-Apartheid movement. This year also marks sixty years since the founding of the West Indian Gazette by Claudia Jones.

Black History Month Leicester will launch with a provocative performance by Zimbabwe-born, New York-based artist Nora Chipaumire, with #PUNK *N!gga, a continuation of her work exploring radical artists and protest art. From pop and punk to Congolese rumba, music, dance and stereotypes collide head-on through Nora’s innovative performance art. Nora Chipaumire will be at Two Queens, Leicester, 28-29 September.

Throughout October, there will be workshops, exhibitions, discussion, music, theatre, film, literature and community events. Phoenix Cinema will play host to a selection of independent film, including Winnie (10 October), exploring the life of Winnie Mandela, her radical life both controversial and misunderstood. There will also be a rare chance to see Hallelujah Anyhow (17 October). Retrieved from the BBC/BFI archives, the film, written by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, was a landmark for British television. It tells the story of local pastor Adlyn, who meets and falls in love again with her old childhood sweetheart, forcing her to make an agonising choice between her faith, her family and her heart.

Those looking for discussion will have the chance to join Olympic athlete Tommie Smith in conversation. Tommie will be discussing the impact of his Black power salute on the podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics (11 October, The Venue @ DMU).  And everyone is invited to join panellists Michelle Gayle, Karen Salt, Kennetta Perry, Bertha Ochieng and Rachael Young, who will come together for BlackChat: Women Talk, to discuss the representation of Black women in arts, media and politics (18 October, Curve).

BHM Live, a platform for emerging Black artists, showcases performances including K.R.U.M.P Macbeth from Theo Godson and Mia Johnson’s Pink Lemonade, alongside new work from Maria de Luz Ghoumrassi, Beverley Bennett and Elsabet Yonas (4 October, Curve). Former BHM Live alumni Rachael Young will present her new work Nightclubbing, inspired by Grace Jones and Afrofuturism (18 October, Curve). Award-winning writer Camilla Whitehall and Strictly Arts present Freeman, an exploration of the unspoken link between mental health and systematic racism (8-9 October, Curve).

Music fans can enjoy a selection of everything from jazz to neo soul. The line-up includes Mellow Baku’s Booksong Jazz (6 October, Riverside Café); female collective Nerija (12 October, The Venue @ DMU); Motown classics from Get Ready (13 October, Haymarket Theatre); singer and songwriter Decosta Boyce (18 October, The Venue @ DMU); iconic British band Soul II Soul mark 30 years of their debut album at De  Montfort Hall (25 October); a special concert to mark 70 years of Windrush (25 October, Sue Townsend Theatre) and MOBO-nominated jazz vocalist Julia Biel (25 October, The Venue @ DMU).

Community events include an exhibition of the history of Caribbean people in Leicester, events to mark the anniversary of the Empire Windrush, Colonial Countryside talks and Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations.

Black History Month is made possible with funding from Arts Council England, Leicester City Council, De Montfort University, University of Leicester and independent supporters.

Pawlet Brookes, CEO and Artistic Director of Serendipity said; “October is a chance to celebrate the importance of the legacy that Black History Month has built, and is something we can all share in. 2018 focuses on putting women from the African and African Caribbean diaspora centre stage, and we have a fantastic programme that reflects this.”

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, said; “Black History Month is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the important contribution African and Caribbean communities make to the whole of the UK, especially in arts, media and politics.”

“In 2018, as we welcome Serendipity to our National Portfolio, and celebrate the African and African Caribbean contribution to the First World War and the seventieth anniversary of Windrush, exploring history through the arts and performance is a wonderful way to bring people together.”

Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair, who leads on culture and leisure, said: “This year’s focus on female voices in an excellent one, tying in with the Suffragette anniversary and the thirtieth anniversary of the Sisters of the Long March touring the country in their campaign against apartheid.

 “Black History Month is always a fantastic showcase of the huge range of talent we have here in Leicester in our Black communities. It’s a chance for everyone to celebrate the very best of Black culture.”

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