Liverpool Black History Month
Liverpool Black History Month
Black History Month is one of the most prominent cultural celebrations of the year. In Liverpool a host of arts and cultural organisations, universities and businesses have created an impressive programme. We showcase the talent and vibrancy of the city’s black communities, and welcome national and international artists, activists, historians and commentators. Here’s a snap shot of what to expect: Mayor Joanne, the first black woman UK city mayor demonstrates history in the making; Blue Saint and a posse of WoW Young writers take over Tate Liverpool: Professor Stephen Small Zooms in from California; Betty Vandy and Nazeem bring culinary and musical flavours from West Africa; Lorraine Maher, explores what it means to be black and Irish; Malik Al Nasir shares his letters to Gil Scott Heron and Hip-Hop artist Nicky Blaze will be 20 Stories High.
As well as a time to celebrate, Black History Month is a time for reflection. On the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Uprisings we explore the progress we, as a society, have made towards true racial equality. With Kim Johnson, MP and activists from across UK inner cities, following the largest Black Lives Matter Protests outside of the US, we explore the next steps down the road of social justice towards a society in which our children can see what they want to be and we ask: really, how far have we come?
Join us as we debate, eat, sing and dance to the beat of the samba drum – from Merseyside to Cuba, Syria, Mexico, Colombia, Iraq, Jamaica, India, Zimbabwe, Chile, Nigeria, the Gambia and South Africa, celebrating black achievement and crucial black art. This is a month for everyone to share, participate, and to enjoy!
We curated a special programme for Black History Month 2020 supported by Culture Liverpool and the Mayor's Fund.
Read about the festival highligts here!
The Black Lives Matter protests in response to the racist killing of George Floyd and the Coronavirus pandemic have laid bare deep structural inequalities. Black communities and anti-racists across the globe are demanding change. Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL) and partners recognise the role that the arts can play in affecting that change. We have come together to promote equality and justice through a range of art forms and to stand in solidarity of our communities facing racial discrimination.
Creative Organisations of Liverpool would like to thank Mayor of Liverpool and Culture Liverpool for supporting this programme and all of our partners who have come together to celebrate Black History Month 2020. #BHM2020 #BlackLivesMatter
The global Black Lives Matter protests that characterised our summer were truly inspirational. Black communities and anti-racists across the globe are demanding change. Writing on the Wall’s programme for Black History month featured some of the most inspirational local, national and international black artists, creatives and activists; Man Booker Prize winner, Jamaican writer Marlon James and Berkeley Professor Stephen Small; Afrofuturist author and filmmaker Ytasha Womack returned from Chicago to take up residency on the Writing Bloc, and George Doman, Toni Hickman, Keith Jones and Leroy Moore, US Krip Hop activists and stars of the Netflix documentary Phoenix Rising.
Throwing themselves into the debat around the Decolonization of Curriculums, was Dr Leona Vaughn, while the 1919 Walking Tours, Mandela 8, the L8 Archive and The Windrush Music projects revealed hidden histories. Sophie Williams discussed her new book, How To Be An Anti-Racist Ally, and we saw the return of the multi-talented Black Girl Lit Club. Arena Films dug into their archive to present Linton Kwesi Johnson’s A Caribbean Journey, with contemporary discussions and poetic responses from Karen McCarthy-Woolf, Ashleigh Nugent, Levi Tafari, Olive Senior, Colin Grant, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné and Vladimir Lucien.
Bringing the struggle home, Kim Johnson MP, Liverpool’s first black MP, and Tracey Gore, the newly appointed chair of the city’s Race Task force, considered how we level the playing field in Liverpool, while films from WoW’s Time to Breathe writing project portray just how pressing that it is.
At Liverpool Irish Festival, Lorraine Maher -artist and founder of IamIrish– hosted a Mixed Heritage Mixer, inviting people of all dual and/or mixed heritage Irish backgrounds to trade stories about
-racial assumptions and exchanges
-the lived experiences of mixed-race Irish people (at home or abroad)
-the additional pressures Covid-19 has placed on you as mixed-race individuals or communities; and
-what the role of culture has in helping you access all sides of your heritage.
Windows did a series of virtual workshops about Black History in school and with community groups:
'Curtis did an excellent presentation and all the pupils were engaged. They really enjoyed the performance and gained a lot from the workshops as part of Black History Month' Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, Garston
I AM NOT OKAY- FIRST TAKE & TMESIS THEATRE
Inspired by Buster Nugent’s protest in the aftermath of George Floyds horrific death, where he stood, for a week at Princes Park Gates, holding a placard saying ‘I AM NOT OKAY’
Performed by Ithalia Forel & Kolade T Lapido
BLACK SCOUSE & PROUD- 20 STORIES HIGH
During Black History Month, facilitator and director Nathan Powell collaborated with young Black artists from 20 Stories High Youth Theatre. They created a film called BLACK SCOUSE & PROUD, captured and edited by Kof Owusu at GoPlay Studio, that celebrates Scouse Blackness in all its glory – and in the not so distant future will be a historic reflection of these young people's lives in 2020
Although Black History Month is a time for pride, reflection and activism, like a lot of individuals and organisations, 20 Stories High believe that Black History should be an integral part of the school curriculum and national discussions all year round.