There are lots of black people ‘of African descent’ in the UK. Perhaps the Kreyol expression ‘nou bel e nou la!’ / ‘we are here and we are beautiful!’ reflects the centuries-long battle to have our presence merely acknowledged.
Despite 500 years of debate and denial of our presence in more and less creative ways, we’re still standing. If this is news to you, please check out the National Archives’ web exhibition. It’s rather appropriately titled ‘Black Presence’ and covers the period 1500-1850.
If it’s not news, then you may also know it would be remiss of me to pretend the UK’s not celebrating black history month this month, and that all sorts of weird and wonderful events and occasions are not happening as a result.
I LOVE black history month – or ‘season’ really considering things start kicking off towards the end of September and slow around mid-November. As October approaches, traditionally my girls and I would keep the social calendar clear, stock up on What’s On brochures and debate what looked ‘actually unmissable’, and what looked like a rehash of something already done. In London we were always spoilt for choice as councils, museums, theatres and arts venues seemingly competed for the most innovative and interesting ways to bring history that is black and yet British to life. Continue reading