October is Black History Month. Since 1987, this annual commemoration has shone the spotlight on the achievements and contributions of black communities in the UK, while bearing witness to the oppression face by these communities and celebrating efforts of resistance.
Here are 10 brilliant ways to celebrate Black History Month 2019 here in London.
Anansi The Spider
Your little ones are probably well acquainted with Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh, but do they know about Anansi the Spider? Take your tots to a spellbinding performance of classic West African and Caribbean tales about this arachnid trickster and spinner of yarns.
Unicorn Theatre (Southwark), from £10, until 27 October. Click here to book.
2. House of African Art
Explore the connections between sound and visual art at this seven day show from the House of African Art, a UK-based platform for the promotion of contemporary African art. Discover works from the likes of Euan Roberts, Derrick Ofosu Boateng and Emmanuel Unaji, speak to professors of music psychology, and get your groove on to soul, electronica and spoken word.
The Copeland Gallery (Peckham), various prices, 1-7 October. Click here to book.
3. Dada Masilo’s Giselle
This dazzling feminist reimagining of romantic ballet Giselle moves action from the Rhineland to South Africa. Deserted by her lover, the eponymous heroine — played by choreographer Dada Masilo herself — is guided through betrayal and shame by a traditional healer. The choreography incorporates traditional Tswana dance styles, and South African composer Philip Miller provides a contemporary score.
Sadler’s Wells (King’s Cross), from £15, 4-5 October. Click here to book.
4. The Stuart Hall Project
Enjoy a free screening of black British auteur John Akomfrah’s masterful 2013 film, The Stuart Hall Project. The film explores the life of Jamaican cultural theorist Stuart Hall, from Rhodes scholar of the Windrush Generation to leading 20th century thinker. The film is followed by a panel discussion (speakers TBA).
Effra Space (Brixton), free, 11 October. Click here to book.
5. Black Girl Fest
The festival celebrating black women and girls returns for its second outing. Through a curated range of talks, workshops and performances, Black Girl Fest champions diversity and inclusivity. Black women and girls who can’t afford ticket, can claim a free one — details here.
Business Design Centre (Islington), tickets from £14.46, 12 October. Click here to book.
6. Tales of Survival and Triumph
On this tour of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Europe Gallery, you’ll encounter plenty of artefacts relating to African heritage. As you explore, your guide Sheba Montserrat uses storytelling, movement, and poetry to reveal the methods deployed by enslaved Africans in the Caribbean to survive the brutality of slavery.
Victoria & Albert Museum (South Kensington), from £2.72, 12/26 October. Click here to book.
7. Heaux Noire
Celebrate womxn of colour through poetry and music at a night hosted by spoken word platform Heaux Noire. Highlights include performances from Ugandan poet Maxine Sibihwana and roots soul singer Teshay Makeda.
Southbank Centre (Lambeth), £7, Friday 18 October. Click here to book.
8. Some Like It Hip Hop
Some Like It Hot meets Twelfth Night in this zany, hip-hop infused tale of love, cross-dressing, mistaken identity, and revolution from ZooNation.
The Peacock Theatre (Camden), from £18, 23 October-9 November. Click here to book.
9. Tracing Windrush Roots
Three continents, 250 years, and over 6000 ancestors. Drawing on his journey of discovery to trace his family roots and cultural heritage, Adrian invites descendants of the Windrush generation to explore their own ancestry. These practical workshops equip participants with the genealogical techniques needed to build their family trees.
Lambeth College Clapham Centre (Clapham Common), £25, Saturday 26 October. Click here to book.
With the support of a ten-piece jazz ensemble, GAIKA brings his unique fusion of dancehall, urban, and electronic music to Roundhall Rising Festival, the Camden launchpad for a new generation of musical talent. Expect spectacular visuals and a set unlike anything else you’ve seen before from this politically-engaged powerhouse of creativity.
Roundhouse (Camden), from £15, Tuesday 29 October. Click here to book.
Not in London this October? Not to worry — the UK Black History Month website lists events all year around.
Main image copyright: Southbank Centre
Written by: Maire Rose Connor