Black History Month is drawing to an end, but it is always the time to educate ourselves about Black history. Here are a few books, movies and podcasts that the STAR team has found helpful to learn more about Black British history – including a couple of top picks from organisations in the refugee and migrant sector.
If you want to sit down and read:
If fiction is what you like, Natasha Brown’s debut novel, ‘Assembly’, investigates the realisations of a young Black British woman about the life she has built for herself, questioning all she has known before.
‘Black British Lives Matter: A Clarion Call for Equality’ by Lenny Henry and Marcus Ryder focuses on the unique experiences and perspectives of Black British and highlights the crucial importance of eradicating systemic racism.
If you prefer poetry, Roger Robinson alongside photographer Johnny Pitts, have documented the contemporary Black experience throughout Britain in ‘Home is Not a Place’, a collection of poems, essays and photographs.
‘Black in White’ by Charlotte Shyllon explores through poetry the racism and unconscious bias faced by a Black woman in the corporate world.
If you feel like listening to a podcast:
‘In Search of Black History’ with Bonnie Greener shines a light on Black history and the stories that have failed to be told by northern European historians. And if you want more on history, ‘We Need to Talk About the British Empire’ offers an enlightening perspective on the British Empire, through the family stories of leading figures in British culture today, who made the Empire what it was.
For a podcast on race in the working world, ‘The Diversity Gap’, with Bethaney Wilkinson offers a thought-provoking insight into racism, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And for diversity and inclusion in academia, you can listen to UCL’s podcast ‘Academia et al.’ first episode.
For a podcast mixing storytelling, music and fiction, ‘Have You Heard About George’s Podcast?’ presents inner-city life from a unique angle.
‘About Race’ with Reni Eddo-Lodge, includes key voices from the last few decades of anti-racism activism and takes a takes a look at recent history that has led to many of today’s political issues around race.
Finally,’ Intersectionality Matters’ unpacks political and racial topics through conversations with activists, journalists, politicians, and historians, with a focus on the United-States. It is hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a leading scholar of critical race theory.
If you are looking for a film or documentary to watch:
‘Black Power: A British Story of Resistance’ covers UK Black Power movement of the 1960s and 70s, detailing how music like reggae and soul helped shape ideas into action. For other glimpses of the past and the black British experience, ‘Burning an Illusion’ (1981), ‘Playing Away’ (1986) and ‘Babymother’ (1998) are great movies to watch. And for a discussion around the absence from the British curriculum of ??Black, Asian, and minority ethnic histories, try Troy Deeney’s ‘Where’s My History?’ on All4. Lastly, ‘Out of Darkness’ examines the African cultural contribution to the world through an historical lense.
For personal experiences and testimonies, ITV has launched a new five-part series ‘Fresh Cuts’ produced by Black filmmakers covering topics such as the Queen’s Jubilee, life as a Black tattoo artist, plastic surgery, the importance of rap music, and basketball.
On BBC, ‘Lenny Henry’s British Caribbean’ celebrates how Caribbean and British culture combined to create a canvas of music, theatre, and art.
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