October marks Black History Month - an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and achievements of black people in the UK and across the world. It also represents a period of continued action to tackle racism and ensure black history is explored and talked about all year round.
For 2022, the official Black History Month UK magazine is launching a new theme - ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’. As ever, the magazine is also encouraging people to share their stories and be heard as the publication takes its remit beyond celebrated figures and events to recognise the achievements that black people in the UK make every day.
Here in Manchester, there’s a plethora of events giving a platform and raising awareness of Black History Month and below you’ll find some of the highlights. Meanwhile, to find out more information about the celebrations and other events around the UK, you can visit the Black History Month website.
Read more: “It was a betrayal and deeply unfair”: The Greater Manchester show shining a light on the Windrush Scandal
Black History Month at Central Library
A number of events and activities across Manchester’s libraries will take place across October to represent the diversity of the city. This includes the 50 Years of Carnival Exhibition, which will explore the traditions, roots and growing importance of crowning a Carnival Queen. Workshops with Black History educator and researcher Sweeney will run alongside family craft sessions, documentary screenings and Buzzrocks Caribbean food.
Oldham Libraries will also be putting on a screening of Hidden Figures on October 14 and will host Aleiah's Adventure on October 16 - a retelling of Greater Manchester's history using visual storytelling and BSL.
The Blues Kitchen
The Blues Kitchen will be putting on a number of events this month including a night celebrating the music of Otis Redding on October 5 and the story of Miles Davis on October 10. The former, will see two of the UK's most exciting soul acts join forces to celebrate the King of Soul, while the latter will take the audience on a journey through the music of the legendary jazz innovator. Two days later, the venue will host the album launch of acclaimed rapper Coops, whose first live performance was at London's O2 Arena supporting hip hop legend, Nas. Tickets for all three shows are available on Blues Kitchen's website.
Over at HOME, Black artistic brilliance and talent across film, theatre, art, music and comedy will be celebrated as visitors are invited to explore ground-breaking Black artists working in the North-West and beyond. The series begins with Sound Sessions - an intimate night of love music on Saturday October 1, followed by HOME’s Comedy Night on October 8, featuring Tz Ilyas and Dane Baptiste, along with other talent from the UK Black Comedy circuit.
For craft lovers and fans of makers markets the popular Melanin Markets takes place on October 9, while in the cinema, there will be a celebration of Black British filmmaking talent on screen and behind the camera. Visual art lovers can enjoy the art organisation’s new window display City of Colour by illustrator Danielle Rhoda and explore colourful works by Venessa Scott in her first solo exhibition at HOME.
Manchester Literature Festival
Star of stage and screen Paterson Joseph is best known for his roles in Casualty, Peep Show and Green Wing amongst others, but on October 9, he’ll be in conversation with Ellah P. Wakatama to discuss his captivating debut novel - The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho. Not only does his novel add to the growing canon of Black Historical Fiction, it also seeks to correct the historical distortion of British history.
On the same day, award-winning writer Kit de Waal will be speaking about her memoir ‘Without Warning and Only Sometimes’ a story of a childhood of opposites and extremes. Raised in Moseley, Birmingham, with her siblings, food was scarce and their Irish mother worked multiple jobs and believed the world would end in 1975.
Lucky Daye at O2 Ritz Manchester
New Orleans’ R&B star Lucky Daye will be heading to Manchester this October playing tracks from his sophomore album Candydrip. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard Current R&B Albums Chart, and upon release received critical acclaim from NPR, Complex, Rolling Stone, and Billboard, who hailed Daye’s latest effort as “immaculate, forward-thinking R&B”. Lucky Daye will be performing at 02 Ritz on October 4.
Five years after the Windrush Scandal was first exposed, writer and actress Nicola Gardener is bringing the story to stage, exposing the injustice of the scandal that rocked Britain. Set in a downtown community centre, it focuses on the children of the original Windrush generation who are now having their immigration status investigated. The play will show at 53Two Theatre on Friday, October 7 and at the King’s Arms in Salford on Sunday, October 9.
Adekunle Gold at Albert Hall
Promising to be a special night of music, Afrobeats singer and songwriter Adekunle will take to the stage at Manchester's Albert Hall on October 14. He gained widespread attention after releasing the 2015 hit single "Sade", a highlife cover of One Direction's song Story of My Life. The Nigerian singer hits the road in support of his new album ‘Catch Me If You Can’ fresh after supporting Burna Boy at Manchester Arena in March.
Z-arts in Hulme is staging the premiere of this play for children by Salford writer Elayne Ogbeta. Aimed at audiences aged between four and nine, it represents the celebration of the love between generations, Jamaican culture and the lived experiences of the Windrush Generation. The production is being shown from September 29 to October 1 before heading out on a national tour for Black History month. Tickets are £9 and more information can be found on the Z-arts website.
Guilt by Association: race, culture and criminalization
This event reflects on the effects of conspiracy and joint enterprise laws - and how they raise questions about fairness and justice as they relate to the prosecution of young Black and Asian men, who are disproportionately subject to group convictions. The event takes place on October 10, chaired by Prof David Olusoga, with speakers including University of Manchester Chancellor Nazir Afzal.
Carl Cox at 02 Victoria Warehouse
One of the most revered artists in electronic music, Carl Cox debuts his new live show in Manchester later this month. Catch the house and techno titan mid-October at 02 Victoria Warehouse, bringing his 'Awesome Soundwave' concept tour to audiences for the first time.
Halo at Contact Theatre
To celebrate Black History Month, Contact’s new Artistic Director Keisha Thompson is teaming up with acclaimed Contact Young Company to direct their new show Halo, from October 24-26. Inspired by the Halo Code, a campaign signed by schools and businesses that promises the Black community that they have the “freedom and security” to wear all afro-hairstyles without restriction or judgement”, the show explores young people’s experiences in schools and workplaces in regards to their hair.
The event, held on October 10, will feature speakers Professor Eithne Quinn from the University of Manchester and the university’s chancellor Nazir Afzal, and founder of Kids of Colour, Roxy Legane.
Telling the truly remarkable story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie - the widow of South Africa’s first national black trade union leader, Clements Kadalie, this play has been billed as “the perfect play for Black History Month”. The one-woman show, starring Shareesa Valentine, is directed by Margaret Connell and is written by Eva’s grandson David Moorhead. Tickets are priced at £20 and the play takes place at Manchester Cathedral on Wednesday, October 5.
Black Angel’s 25th anniversary
Contact is also putting on a club night to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Intended as a safe space for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women of colour and their allies, the event is for attendees to express themselves and enjoy a night progressing representation, disability and visibility in Manchester’s LGBTQ+ scene.
Pip Millet is a British vocalist, lyricist and model. With a sound that blends R&B, jazz and traces of reggae, Millet will take to the stage at 02 Ritz in Manchester on Friday, November 4, just outside of Black History Month.
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