The organizers of Leicester’s Black History Month events have announced details of this year’s program.
There will be exhibitions, discussions, films, workshops and performances at venues across the city.
Black History Month (BHM) takes place each October, and in Leicester the occasion is marked by a program of events that promote the history and contributions of African and Caribbean communities.
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The arts and heritage organization Serendipity has overseen the BHM in Leicester since 2012.
This year coincides with a number of anniversaries for the African and African Caribbean diaspora, including 230 years since the start of the Haitian Revolution, 95 years since the first Negro History Week in the United States and 50 years since the invention of the genre. Blaxploitation.
Black History Month kicks off on October 1 with the opening of a new AfroManifesto exhibition at the Chapel Gallery.
This will bring together new commissions from artists participating in Serendipity’s Launchpad platform – Kat Anderson, Charlie Evaristo-Boyce, Isaac Ouro-Gnao and Patricia Vester.
Working across disciplines ranging from film and photography to illustration, screen printing and collage, the artists explore themes such as intergenerational trauma, environmental issues, heritage, presence and identity.
Other exhibits featured include Community Curators: Black Lives Matter Too! at the Y, presented by Opal22. The Leicester Museum and Art Gallery will showcase their new acquisitions created in response to the events of 2020.
Opal22 and Leicester Museum and Art Gallery will collaborate for an Uncovering the Casta workshop, reframing the narratives around the paintings of Casta that the museum holds in their collections which have not been exhibited to the public since 1853.
Music fans can expect to see Carroll Thompson perform a unique set, closer to his ensemble at 2Funky Music Café. This year, she is celebrating the 40th anniversary reissue of her album Hopelessly in Love.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the invention of the Blaxploitation genre, the 2021 Black History Month film series will feature a groundbreaking film every Wednesday in October in Phoenix.
Films featured include Shaft (1971), Foxy Brown (1974), Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Blacula (1972). Influenced by the Black Power movement, Blaxploitation-era films were among the first where black characters were centralized in narratives as heroes alongside memorable soundtracks to funk and soul music.
The legacy of Menelik Shabazz, who passed away earlier this year, is honored with a special screening of Burning an Illusion (1981) followed by a conversation. As the second British feature film only to be directed by a black director in the UK, the film paved the way for nuanced portrayals of the young black woman.
Reckoning is a multimedia short film and performance created by choreographer and storyteller Akeim Toussaint Buck, filmmaker Ashley Karrell and host Benedetta Fasson, and is presented by Artreach at Curve, linking Black History Month and Journeys Festival International.
Curve will also feature a staged reading of A Raisin In the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. followed by a discussion as part of Serendipity’s BlackChat series, sharing stories of black experiences.
Exploring Leicester’s vibrant legacy of black arts and hip-hop culture, starting in the 1980s, the LC Hip-Hop History Project will present a documentary screening at 2Funky Music Café.
Mellow Baku, Michael Brome, Leonie Dubarry-Gurr, Luke Broughton and Ana Paz will feature in the WORD! Special BHM and there will be a celebration of black female voices, recognizing Leicester’s poetic talent. There are several comedy events including Black History Month Comedy Night and panel discussions run by Big Difference Company, the COBO: Comedy Shutdown and SLIM: KING
Kainé’s contribution to Black History Month 2021 includes the Yes, You Can showcase, which includes performances by young people attending Young Creatives summer art workshops and will be the culmination of the Better Together project exploring migration experiences. from the Windrush generation to today.
At the African Caribbean Center, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE will give an inspiring talk to schoolchildren and the Leicester community on the positive impact of the Windrush Generation while unveiling five interpretive panels documenting their legacy.
For those looking for more reading and learning, Serendipity will be releasing the second edition of BlackInk, a magazine for Black History Month and beyond, filled with articles, thoughts and interviews exploring topics. ranging from the history of British black dance to reflections of Black-led. activism. There are opportunities to support black visual artists with original prints for sale.
Pawlet Brookes, CEO and Artistic Director of Serendipity said:
“We are delighted that in October we will once again be able to share the space with a number of in-person events across the city, as well as multi-faceted content for those who wanted to engage in what the months has to offer at home and online.
“Black History Month is a catalyst for work to unfold year round, amplifying the voices of the African and African Caribbean diaspora, recognizing our history and heritage, and celebrating the high quality work led by artists.”
Sir Peter Soulsby, Mayor of the city, said:
“Black History Month is an opportunity for everyone to reflect, learn and celebrate what makes Leicester such a rich, diverse and vibrant city.
“The events of the past two years have underscored the importance of Black History Month for our communities, especially as we all continue to eliminate inequalities and fight prejudice and discrimination in all its aspects. shapes. “
A complete program of events is available on the website.