Here’s our round-up of all the best films, food, books, and more to sink your teeth into this Black History Month
October marks Black History Month here in the UK. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to check out: from an immersive musical exhibition, to a collection of poems examining the complexities of Black British men and boys, to the tastiest Jamaican food in London.
Here’s our roundup of things to do during Black History Month this year.
This month at LexTempus, a multisensory music experience aims to highlight Black American music’s vast contributions to culture: from the historical era of jazz in Chicago, to soul music in New York, to disco music influenced by Black people all across America. The visuals at the exhibition to take up every inch of the facility, taking viewers through the political and social injustice which had a profound impact on Black music and culture.
If you’re familiar with the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), you would know that every month is Black History month for them – but BCA has launched the Black Futures season exhibition to coincide with this October. The display aims to focus on the future of modern-day Black people in Britain and celebrates Black British future leaders. The exhibition will be followed up with an award ceremony hosted by the chair of BCA, Dr Yvonne Thompson. They will then open the doors to the public for their multi-media Transforming Legacies exhibition, which will platform the work of emerging Black artists in the UK.
American writer and art critic Antwaun Sargent has curated a new exhibition which brings together 15 international Black photographers in a celebration of black creativity. Featuring models, make-up artists, stylists and creative directors, the collection is an examination of our current era’s Black image-makers, and ushers in renewed perceptions of the art of photography with displays from photographers such as Campbell Addy, Nadine ljewere and Namsa Leuba.
The line-up of Black-owned restaurants across the United Kingdom is rapidly growing. One restaurant at the forefront of Black vegan and vegetarian food is Eat of Eden. With restaurant locations across London, including Brixton, Lewisham, Clapham, and Shepherds’ Bush, Eat of Eden offers customers fresh organic food enriched with the flavour and aroma of the Caribbean Islands, and brings a selection of plant-based cuisine to its restaurants located around the capital city.
Another contender to check out during this month and beyond is the restaurant Ma Petite, London’s first Caribbean diner. Ma Petite provides authentic Jamaican cuisine, including ackee and saltfish with fried dumplings, curried goat with rice and peas, jerk chicken and many more. Located in Shoreditch and Camden, customers can also enjoy Ma Petite’s ‘Jamaica bottomless brunch’, where you can enjoy two hours of free-flowing Wray & Nephew rum punch to wash down all the good food.
Deluxe Manna is a restaurant that will have your mouth watering at the door. The relaxed eatery gets its inspiration from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and provides a range of dishes such as jollof rice, jerk chicken, oxtail and more. They receive daily deliveries of fresh ingredients and use special spices and herbs imported from the Caribbean and Africa for a true taste of home.
There’s no doubt that Black literature creates a reflective space for us to contemplate our past and present. One book that should be at the top of your reading list is Manorism. Authored by award-winning Nigerian British writer Yomi Sode, the collection of poems explores themes such as survival, family, generational trauma, and the difficulties of trying to belong. Yomi Sode reflected on the book: “I’m very excited to bring Manorism into the world. It has lived with me, travelled with me, reflected with me and joined me at points of happiness and mourning. It is an honour to know my work will join the likes of Terrance Hayes, Caleb Femi and Claudia Rankine. I treasure this collection, and I can’t wait for folks to read it.”
Initially published in 1956, The Lonely Londoners tells the story of a group of post-war Caribbeans who migrated from their islands to Britain. Sam Selvon’s book has been acknowledged for its use of social commentary, modernist style, and creolised language. It draws on Selvon’s own lived experiences of residing with other groups of Black migrants during his first couple of years in London, and offers a gritty insight into the mid-century migrant experience with all its nuances and complexities.
In Uncommon Wealth, author and academic Kojo Koram tells the story of how after the fall of the British Empire, a group of British accountants, lawyers, politicians and intellectuals used their wealth, resources and power to offshore their assets and capital in former colonies. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2022, Uncommon Wealth reveals the diabolical realities of Britain’s self-absorption after colonised nations achieved independence, generating profit from the economic demise of Britain’s former colonies.
One Black business that you should spend your money on is Yard + Parish. Founded in 2019 by two Black women, Alesha Bailey and Samantha Newell, Yard + Parish aims to make shopping for Black-owned products much more efficient through their e-commerce platform. Yard + Parish offers up a range of wellness, beauty, and fashion products, with a robust roster of around 40 sustainable and independent brands for you to choose from.
If you’re looking for the best Black-owned men’s grooming brand, you need not look further than the Goodman Factory. The brand was launched in 2019 by Rizzy Amole, to create a platform for underrepresented groups. Fast forward to now, the Goodman Factory is now an established creator of sustainable self-care products for a community of men that practice self-care religiously.
One movie that should be on your watch list during Black History Month is Bullet Boy. Narrating the story of a young black boy named Ricky (Ashley Walters) who has just come out of a young offenders’ institute, Ricky is fixated on turning his life around. But a minor altercation which involves his best friend, Wisdom, puts him back on the road to trouble. It’s available to watch in the Odeon cinemas now.
There’s also The Woman King, which tells the incredible story of the Agojie, a group of all-female warriors who safeguarded the African Kingdom of Dahomey during the 1800s. The emotive film takes us on the journey of General Nanisca, who trains the next generation of soldiers to fight against their enemies.