October is Black History Month (BHM) in the UK and it is a time to reflect on the past but also be proud of how much black people have accomplished and contribute to British life. During this month, I’ve checked out some great events, contributed to blog pieces looking at the experiences we have faced in travel and school life and really enjoyed the positive energy that has surrounded it all.
My first and very unexpected BHM exhibition was at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor. I visited on a work trip and upon arriving at this gorgeous stately house, I noticed many photos along the downstairs corridor of black and Asian young people with their families. It was titled “Where I came from” from Bill Knight’s work for Rare Recruitment, which helps young BAME and others from under represented backgrounds get good jobs. I spotted a pic of Bishop Karowei ( a medical doctor and now the first black Bishop of Woolwich who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year) and his son which my mum enjoyed a snap of and quickly responded that we would look so good on that wall too ha!
Antony and Cleopatra – this Shakespeare classic is being shown at the Olivier Theatre in Southbank. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was particularly impressed by the diversity of the cast and how race didn’t dictate the casting for roles. The Beyoncé lemonade dress reference made when Cleopatra hears of Anthony’s betrayal was iconic but sadly went over most of the audience’s head due to the demographics! This highlighted to us that black people need to be getting out into theatre and art spaces more as we can relate to more than you may realise!
Michael Jackson On The Wall. This exhibition was on at the National Portrait Gallery (ended on 21st October). It exhibited a series of art of the King of Pop depicting different areas of his life through paintings, videos and more. I particularly enjoyed the pieces that reflected on his importance as a black man not only to the Western wold but African countries too and how his legacy will continue. It’ll be on in Grand Palais, Paris from the 21st of November if you happen to be in town!
Black British Travel Meetup – Autumn Edition. I first joined this travel tribe back in May and since then, I have met the most amazing people both online and offline and we even took over Facebook London in the summer! This meetup didn’t disappoint with great food from Kwaku’s kitchen, networking, games and a panel who shared their travel experiences and how to maximise ours. Thanks again to Hannah and Doyin for another top evening..the next one will be in December so stay tuned here!
I was invited to the Jo Maxwell Show Season 2 premiere. This talk show showcases the lives of black women (and men too) living in the UK. Season 1 was on YouTube and Jo has managed to get her second season on both voxafrica and fametv channels! I hope you guys tune in as it promises to be a great series and who knows, we could have Britain’s Oprah in our midst! Catch up on her work here.
Black Girl Fest – it only started last year and was an instant success so I was very excited to check it out this year. It happened at Shoreditch Town Hall and the Protein Studios. The day was packed with seminars on everything from social media strategy, finance, politics of hair and beauty to the marketplace which showcased so many talented creatives and their work plus an evening of music and good vibes. Being around all these successful and beautiful black sisters really moved me (especially connecting with my fellow travel ladies) and I hope this event continues to grow every year. Paula and Nicole have literally created black girl magic with this!
During this month, I’ve been asked to feature in a few blogs which is always an honour. The first is by Johnny who did a great collab piece of travelling whilst black featuring a few of my faves. It’s such an interesting read and can be checked out here.
Next was a piece I wrote for Bankra on my private school experience as the only black girl in my year which can be found on their website here. It was quite a personal piece for me to write so I hope you enjoy it!
Travel power couple who have successfully travelled to 100 countries together will be featuring me on their website (Road to 100 countries) from the 5th of November. They have a wealth of knowledge on how to travel smart on any budget so check them out on the socials.
And finally I was lucky to win a free ticket to melanin journey’s “Take me to Senegal” event which is happening on the 1st of December. An evening filled with Senegalese storytelling, culture, music and good food.. come join me and get your tickets here.
So I was having a casual discussion about BHM and some great questions came up – “Do we really need this month?” “Shouldn’t we be putting these events on throughout the year, learning and reflecting about our history at any time instead of relying on October to be our “woke” month?” And these are all valid points!
So let me know what you think about this and if there are any great exhibitions/events on in November and beyond so I can check them out!