Travel Leisure

UK Black History Month: A Guide To Celebrating Black Culture In London

October brings with it a vibrant celebration as the United Kingdom marks Black History Month. This annual observance pays tribute to the rich history of Black individuals and communities in the UK. Throughout the month, exciting events and activities showcasing African and Caribbean cultures will take place all over the country.

Exploring Black History Month Events

When it comes to Black History Month in the UK, these noteworthy events promise to engage, educate, and entertain.

  1. Brixton’s Black Culture Market: This vibrant market in Brixton champions Black-owned businesses and encourages the public to support and shop from these enterprises. It’s a fantastic opportunity to discover unique products and celebrate entrepreneurship.
  2. Thackray Museum of Medicine Celebration: Leeds hosts a celebration event at the Thackray Museum of Medicine. The museum is offering a distinctive perspective on Black history through the lens of medicine and health.
  3. Family History Sessions with Paul Crooks: Battersea Library invites guests to explore your African Caribbean heritage through insightful drop-in sessions led by family historian Paul Crooks. Discover the roots and connections to the past.
  4. Vanley Burke’s Talk at the National Portrait Gallery: Join Vanley Burke, known as the “Godfather of Black British Photography,” for a captivating discussion about his project, “The Making of Black Britain.” Gain insights into the powerful impact of photography on cultural identity.
  5. City College’s Food Demonstration in Plymouth: Delight your taste buds with a delectable food demonstration at City College in Plymouth. The event will celebrate the flavors and culinary traditions of the African and Caribbean diaspora.
  6. Randall Goosby and Zhu Wang’s Performance: Experience the enchanting music of Black composers as young violinist Randall Goosby and pianist Zhu Wang perform at the Southbank Centre, promising a soul-stirring musical journey.
  7. Ilford Black History Month Food Fair: Indulge in three days of food, crafts, dance, and music at the Ilford Black History Month Food Fair. There, the community gathers to celebrate diversity and culture.

London’s Museums and Galleries Join In

London’s museums and galleries are actively participating in Black History Month with an array of special events and programs. These initiatives aim to shed light on existing exhibitions, foster discussion, and even introduce entirely new displays.

  • Brady Arts Centre’s “HERE & NOW” Exhibition: East London’s Brady Arts Centre hosts a captivating photography exhibition dedicated to Black British photographers. HERE & NOW showcases fantastical works inspired by African and Caribbean culture in London.
  • Museum of London Docklands: The museum invites visitors to discover and celebrate revolutionary Black women throughout history. This includes a special film screening and a talk on Black women’s roles in resistance and activism.
  • Natural History Museum’s Explorers Family Festival: The museum commemorates Black History Month with The Explorers Family Festival on October 8th. Free events and workshops will explore the contributions of Black historians, scientists, and communities to the study of Natural History.
  • “The Beat Goes On” Celebration: From October 12 to 15, The Beat Goes On celebrates Black culture’s influence on art, fashion, and music. The event promises a vibrant exploration at 177-180 Piccadilly, with free tickets available.
  • Poplar Union’s “Living Legacies: 75 Years On” Exhibition: Poplar Union launches the “Living Legacies: 75 Years On” Photography Exhibition on October 5. This exhibition explores the stories of individuals from the 1st and 2nd generations of Windrush, adding depth to Black history.

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

From October 2 to 7, UK Black Business Week takes center stage, uniting Black professionals and nurturing emerging talent during Black History Month. This week-long initiative educates and supports attendees through talks, panels, networking opportunities, and workshops. It commences with a focus on events unifying Black women and men on their own growth journeys as entrepreneurs or professionals and delves into various industries each day.

London boasts a diverse array of Black-owned businesses, spanning restaurants, retailers, salons, pubs, cafes, and more. Supporting these businesses is a powerful way to celebrate Black excellence in the community. Whether you enjoy Caribbean cuisine at Fish, Wings & Tings in Brixton or discover diverse greeting cards at Pop Up United in Brent Cross, your support matters.

Black History Haringey 365 Activities Program

Haringey Council celebrates the significant contributions of Black communities throughout the year with the Black History Haringey 365 program. Activities range from craft workshops to choir performances, walking tours, film screenings, exhibitions, and workshops, offering a multifaceted exploration of history and culture.

Black History Walks and Bus Tours

Joining a Black History walking or bus tour offers a unique way to learn about the African and Caribbean influence on London’s history. These tours provide insights into architecture, secret societies, freedom fighters, and more.

  • “Image of the Black in Tate Britain” (October 29): Explores the role of the Black presence in British art. It traces socioeconomic and cultural factors at Tate Britain.
  • Black History Bus Tour: A three-hour drive highlighting the African/Caribbean perspective and uncovering 3,500 years of history. The tour ranges from Black Tudors to Jimi Hendrix, Female Resistance leaders, Windrush, and beyond.

Commemorative Live Shows

Art has a timeless power to educate and enlighten. Experience these live shows during Black History Month:

  • Magic of Motown: A one-night-only performance of the touring show that has delighted audiences for 18 years with the best of Motown.
  • Ballet And The Black Experience: Members of The Royal Ballet perform excerpts. They will discuss diversity and dance’s role in the Black experience.
  • “The Effect”: A thrilling new play at the Lyttelton Theatre explores love and the side effects of a new drug.
  • Comedy Shutdown Black History Month Special: The Top Secret Comedy Club showcases a wide range of Black comedic talent. The event promises an evening of laughter.

Honoring Windrush Pioneers

Transport for London’s (TfL) tribute to Windrush pioneers continues into October, with a London bus adorned in a design by artist Baraka Carberry. The bus, which initially debuted for Notting Hill Carnival, will remain in service throughout

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