Black History Month returns to Leicester this October.
The month long event which celebrates the heritage, history, arts, culture and accomplishments of people across the African and African Caribbean Diaspora will take place at a number of different events across the city.
This year’s theme acknowledges the contribution of jazz icon Billie Holiday, in what is the centenary year of her birth. Numerous events will be taking place over the month including workshops, lectures, book talks, as well as poetry, theatre, music, film, literature, history and music events.
The festival launches on Friday 25 September with Strange Fruit: A Tribute to Billie Holiday, showcasing a selection of locally based singers and musicians, including Carol Leeming, Mellow Baku; Dee Joseph; and emerging talents Lydia Unsudimi and Ili Sanchea. Organisers are encouraging those attending the event at Leicester’s City Hall to embrace the 40s and 50s jazz club scene by dressing up in their best cocktail dresses and dinner suits, in what will be a unique.
Upstairs at the Western pub, in Western Road, host Michelle Inniss will present her thought-provoking new play She Called Me Mother, which stars actor Cathy Tyson.
Doc Brown who gained fame on Russell Howard’s Good News and YouTube, will be making an appearance at The Y with The Weird Way Round.
BHM FilmFest returns to Phoenix Square with a series of film screenings from biopics and documentaries about musical legends to ground-breaking Hollywood classics.
Black History Month also promotes the history and contribution that African and Caribbean communities have made to Leicester.
In partnership with Serendipity, the Phoenix will be screening a series of films from biopics and documentaries to ground-breaking Hollywood classics Jazz on a Summer’s Day and Stormy Weather.
Visitors to Leicester Libraries and museums will be able to hear some Somali Lullabies and a talk highlighting the contribution of The West Indian Regiment in the Great War.
Social enterprise 2Funky Arts will be empowering local young people to present and produce radio shows on on BHM Radio 2Funky, providing information about BHM alongside music, news and documentary features.
Leicester city Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said how pleased he was that Black History Month was once again being celebrated in Leicester: “Through the events and performances planned throughout the month, we can demonstrate Leicester’s cohesion and diversity, as well as cherish this city that has welcomed people from throughout the world.”
Black History Month is organised by local diversity-led arts charity, Serendipity, on behalf of Leicester City Council, which provides funding.
Serendipity, artistic director Pawlet Brookes said, “This year’s Black History Month programme is a fantastic opportunity for people in Leicester to come together, with a range of events celebrating the cultural contributions of the African and African Caribbean community historically, and also providing platforms for emerging talent to showcase their work.
“It is a privilege to oversee Black History Month in Leicester. There is something for everyone, and we hope that people across the city will make the most of the opportunity to attend some of the exciting events BHM 2015 has to offer.”
Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor responsible for culture, leisure, heritage and sport, said: “Black History Month is once again offering a fantastic range of events that showcase the talent, history and rich culture of the black community.
“Black History Month is a chance for everyone in Leicester to celebrate the important contribution the black community has made to our city and beyond. I hope that lots of people will take this opportunity to get involved.”