This Thursday November kicks in so today is a great opportunity to round up Black History Month. There have been numerous Awards ceremonies, music events, books, articles, movies, Caribbean events and more. The month started with the Black Magic Awards, special thanks to Annika Allen for her contribution regarding the BMA’s, and let’s take a look back at the whole month shall we?
THE ACLT BALL
The Afro Caribbean Leukaemia Trust is an independent charity that was formed in 1996 with the main aim to increase the number of ethnic minorities on the UK stem cell (bone marrow) and blood donation registers after co-founders Beverley De-Gale OBE and Orin Lewis OBE received the devastating news their son Daniel De-Gale was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1993 – he was just 6 years old.
And you know I had an amazing night at the #ACLT Ball. It was lovely to bump into Rudolph Walker, Julian Joseph of Sky TV and Angela Ferreira Channel 4 and of course Beverley DeGayle, mother of Daniel.
THE HATE YOU GIVE
18 months ago I interviewed
@angiecthomas about her debut book The Hate You Give. Well done Angie, FABULOUS debut book, a real page turner, and I can’t wait to see @hateugivemovie which stars Amandla Stenberg, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Regina Hall and Common. The movie came out this month and what an achievement it was!
I believe we ALL suffer with it. Some can handle it better than others, but generally we all have issues with our physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, financial health and mental health.
Research suggests that women of African-Caribbean heritage living in the UK are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks and OCDs than white women. A recent study by academics at Cambridge University also revealed a disturbing rise in the rates of self-harm among black women aged 16-34.
Why did Broadcast Journalist, Marverine Cole, feel it was her mission to produce the documentary and highlight the issues of mental health amongst women – particularly black women? Read HERE to find out why.
On this day I couldn’t help but think about #BlackGirlMagic. I was looking at my past blogs for “girl stories” and remembered how much this hits home for me. I’m black. I’m a girl. I work for a radio station called Magic. I have beautiful black daughters. So I say to all those beautiful black girls who have been positioned within the media, the arts, positions of authority, with our variety of skin tones, our variety of body shapes… don’t give up. Keep shining your light. And remember… Every time you think about giving up, there is a young girl watching you, admiring you, drawing strength from you. Don’t spoil her vision of you. Show them that black girls are MAGIC.
Have a read of my article on #BlackGirlMagic!
CELEBRATING OUR CARIBBEAN HERITAGE
I love that we celebrated Black History Month in the UK in a different way this month. Our rich cultural heritage begs to be brought to the forefront. These are the places of our ancestors. This is what being black of Caribbean descent is all about. Do you have any stories or anecdotes about the islands? Have you sat at your grandparent’s feet listening to stories?
We took a look at Jamaica and St. Barth, Grenada and Martinique, Barbados and the Cayman Islands, and St. Lucia and The Dominican Republic. Delving deep into the history, travel, culture, famous Afro-Caribbeans and book recommendations from each island. I highly recommend you read each feature… it’ll make you want to hit the beaches for sure!
BLACK MAGIC AWARDS
Kojo Anim and Annika Allen from The Colour Network have created a fabulous concept which I envisage will be on the same scale if not bigger than Black Girls Rock in the States within 2 years time. The Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus was filled with #BlackGirlMagic on Monday 1st October (or as one of my Instagram followers would say “filled floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall with #MelaninMagnificence).
The Awards highlight women of colour across British media who have stood the test of time and are either at the top of their game or have been making the right noises for the last few years and I was more than honoured to receive an award for Services to Radio.
The lovely Annika Allen gave me a lovely quote about the event:
Black History Month this year kicked off in style with the annual celebration of phenomenal black British women from a variety of industries, being honoured at The Black Magic Awards.
Organised by Kojo Anim and I, this event isn’t about competition. There is no voting – everyone who crosses the stage is a winner and has a seat at the table. A selection of bold, brilliant black women who stand as vanguards in their chosen fields, are selected each year to be honoured. They have worked tirelessly, raising up themselves, black women and black people but are often overlooked by mainstream award shows. That’s why the Black Magic Awards was created. There was an aching vacuum that needed to be filled, we needed to be celebrated. Particularly British women as we often look to the US for role models and examples of black excellence.
The evening centres around a prevailing sense of sisterhood, celebrating the winners’ successes and demonstrating how capable, strong, majestic and magnificent black women are.
It is a night where we get to raise up those who have paved the way and provide a platform for them to speak their truth.
The speeches on the night took people on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as the honourees shared their journeys.
Hearing the reaction of the audience in person, and then later seeing the positive reaction on social media, with people saying what this event means to them, fills me with a sense of pride.
This fun, inspiring and unifying evening is one of very few events where generations of one family can attend and enjoy together.
And it creates a space for young black women to see that it is possible to strive for and attain success in a myriad of fields.
Representation matters – think about how you may have approached life differently if you regularly saw people that looked like you in positions of power. This event is important to inspire the next generation but also a reminder that there is still a lot more that needs to be done and Black women are working hard to make those changes.
The British Black Business Awards – THE BBB’S
Thursday 4th October at the Grange Hotel, St Pauls, the creme de la creme of British Black Businesses gathered to celebrate their achievements. I’ve got to say – and this really isn’t a cliche – that I was totally honoured to have been nominated. To stand alongside past and present Award recipients such as Saville Row Tailor Ozwald Boateng, British Vogue Publisher Vanessa Kingori and the likes of Karen Blackett of Mediacom was beyond an honour.
Black History Month and Mentoring
Last week I received a lovely letter from a student who was completing a Black History Month project and she asked whether I could be the subject – so humbling – I felt absolutely honoured, and it got me thinking about mentoring. Read more about the lovely Bella and her wonderful project (for which she got top marks) HERE!
It was a busy month. A busy BEAUTIFUL month celebrating our rich culture and heritage and letting our Queens and Kings shine! I love us, I love the celebration of our #MelaninMagnificence, I love the unity and pride we have in our community. I love that we can share it with each other and everyone around us.
What was your favourite part of #BlackHistoryMonth? Did you learn anything? Hear any family stories? I’d love to hear it all… let’s talk about this on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram!