October is Black History Month in the UK. Although Black History is all history that shouldn’t be confined to one month, it’s a great opportunity to redirect our energy from what we think we should be doing to what we should actually be doing to champion Black Britons.
My first memory of Black History Month was opening a textbook, seeing sketches of my people cuffed in a single file line, and boarding a boat with despaired expressions and anorexic bodies. That, and all of our features drawn incorrectly – so typical. As much as our history will forever influence us, Black History, in general, is so much more than the diabolical tale of slavery.
In a society where we can look at our people and see them thrive, see them with opportunities to do differently, isn’t it only right that we celebrate that growth, that progression and tell the tales of now?
For this Black History Month, just as with the last, we will focus on Black joy, shining a light on the #softlife and sharing the stories of Black creatives doing what they love, simply because they can.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that we, as Black people, cannot rely on others to tell our truth to the world. Whether that be constantly casting us as stereotypes, exaggerating our flaws or peddling misconceptions about who we are, it’s up to us to change our narrative and work to undo the assumptions placed on us. This tireless effort is not for the sake of those around us who made such misconceptions but for the sake of our history, present and future.
Black people can thrive. Black people can go on holiday. Black people can buy cars, complain about the weather, and celebrate life, love and happiness just as much as the next person.
Join us in the era of Black joy, and let us celebrate all there is to celebrate about Black culture now.