What To Do, See & Read This Black History Month
What To Do, See & Read This Black History Month

What To Do, See & Read This Black History Month

October is Black History Month in the UK – a time to learn about and celebrate Black history and culture, while understanding the systemic changes that need to happen to achieve equality. From talks and thought-provoking plays to must-read books and essays, here’s what to book, read, watch and listen to this month.


Amy Sherald: The World We Make At Hauser & Wirth London

Hauser & Wirth London will open an exhibition by Black American artist Amy Sherald on Wednesday 12th October. Featuring a range of small and large-scale portraits across both the gallery’s London spaces, it’s her first solo exhibition in Europe. Sherald is known for her paintings of Black Americans and depicting the Black experience in a positive light – something that has been absent from the Western canon of art. That was one of the many reasons why Michelle Obama chose her to paint her official portrait when she was America’s First Lady. Look out for the painting of two gay men embracing which highlights the importance of queer Black relationships. 

23 Savile Row, West End, W1S 2ET

Visit HauserWirth.com


Paterson Joseph At The British Library

 Paterson Joseph is one of the UK’s most esteemed Black actors, having appeared in several Royal Shakespeare Company productions and TV series like Peep Show, Noughts + Crosses and Vigil. On Friday 14th October at 7pm, Joseph will discuss his debut novel The Extraordinary Life of Charles Ignatius Sancho at the British Library in conversation with author Catherine Johnson. The book is a fictional story of Charles Ignatius Sancho: an 18th-century writer, abolitionist and composer who was born on a slave ship before being sold into slavery. He spent his teens in the household of three English sisters before escaping enslavement and developing a career as a businessman – becoming the first Black person to vote in Britain and leading the fight to end slavery. If you can’t make it in person, the talk will be livestreamed on the British Library platform. Tickets cost £11. 

The British Library, 96 Euston Road, Euston, NW1 2DB

Visit BL.uk



Say It Loud / Black Sun At Royal Opera House

Ballet Black is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two new works at the Royal Opera House this month. Say It Loud – choreographed and directed by Ballet Black's founder and artistic director Cassa Pancho – is an autobiographical work that charts the story of the pioneering company and its journey to becoming one of the ballet industry’s best-known names. It’s followed by acclaimed South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma's work Black Sun, set to an original score by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asanté. A fantastic celebration of Black dancers and creatives, we can’t wait to see it on stage. Tickets start from £6.

Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD; 19th-23rd October

Visit ROH.org.uk


Curly Treats Festival

Curly Treats is an annual festival that celebrates Black hair. On Saturday 15th October at Novotel hotel in Hammersmith, guests can listen to talks, take part in workshops, watch film screenings, discover Black hair products and brands, and learn how to care for and style Black hair. Highlights include a talk by hair stylist Enitan Agidee on how to choose the right products for your hair texture, a workshop on African head wrapping, and a paint and sip session. Don’t miss the talk on the history of afro hair with author Kandace Chimbiri, and the special Windrush Generation exhibition. Tickets cost £25.

International Centre, 1 Shortlands, Hammersmith, W6 8DR

Visit CurlyTreats.co.uk


Young, Gifted & Black At Peckham Theatre

Peckham Theatre has created a five-week programme of events and ten new theatre shows to celebrate creatives and stories from the African diaspora. Visitors can choose from a range of performances that cover a variety of topics, including immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and parenthood and child loss. Highlights include NO I.D (3rd-5th October), which follows the story of a transgender immigrant in the UK and the many challenges they face; Ellipses (10th-12th October), which explores the sensitive subject of stillbirths and child loss; and Mulatto Boy (17th-19th October), a powerful story about one boy who has his British citizenship application rejected – he’s been an Arsenal fan all his life, but if he’s not British then who is he?

221 Havil Street, Peckham, SE5 7SB; until 2nd November 

Visit TheatrePeckham.co.uk


The Good Ally By Nova Reid

Nova Reid is a diversity consultant and anti-racism campaigner. Her guide is essential reading for everyone – but especially those who want a better understanding of racial injustice and white privilege. With social injustices rising in frequency, and an increase in far-right movements around the world, the rise in hate against ‘the other’ is intense. There is an urgent need to change so that we no longer repeat patterns of behaviour that have led us to where we are. With helpful tools throughout, this is a book for those wanting to become better allies against racism and expand their knowledge of systemic racism. 

Visit Waterstones.com


Black History Tube Map

TfL has teamed up with the Black Cultural Archives to create the first Black History Tube map to celebrate the rich and varied contribution Black people have made to London over the centuries, from medieval times to the present day. Each stop on the tube map is named after a notable Black person, from the co-founder of Notting Hill Carnival to the first Black woman to serve in the Royal Navy. You can download the full map online.

Visit LondonBlog.TFL.gov.uk


The Mixed-Race Experience By Natalie And Naomi Evans

Sisters Natalie and Naomi Evans set up the anti-racist platform Everyday Racism back in 2020 after confronting two men on the train who were racially abusing a ticket conductor. In this powerful new book, they ask what it means to be mixed race in today's society, from the discrimination endured by the 1.2 million mixed people in Britain and millions more elsewhere, to the privileges it can afford. Sharing their own personal experiences of growing up in Britain to illuminate the nuances of racial identity, the authors weave in interviews with people from mixed backgrounds, research to dispel common myths and stereotypes, and practical advice for mixed-race families and friendships.

Visit Waterstones.com


Blues For An Alabama Sky

Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange Is the New Black) is currently performing in Blue for an Alabama Sky at the National Theatre alongside an all-Black cast that includes Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo (Three Sisters) and Osy Ikhile (Sweat). It’s 1930s New York, and following a decade of creative explosion, the Harlem Renaissance is starting to feel the bite of the Great Depression. In the face of hardship and dwindling opportunity, Angel and her friends battle to keep their artistic dreams alive. But when Angel falls for a stranger from Alabama, their romance forces the group to make good on their ambitions or give in to the reality of the time.

Upper Ground, Southbank, SE1 9PX; until 5th November

Visit NationalTheatre.org.uk


Poetry Night At Minet Library

On Thursday 6th October, Minet Library in Camberwell will host a poetry and spoken word event as part of Lambeth Council’s Black History Month programme. Several Black poets will take to the stage to present work based around themes of the environment, home and public space. On the night, visitors can also see Roxane Mbanga’s exhibition which features beautiful portraits and abstract drawings of people from Africa and the Caribbean. Tickets are free. 

52 Knatchbull Road, Camberwell, SE5 9QY

Visit Eventbrite.com


Noire Histoir

Want to further your Black history knowledge? Podcast Noire Histoir is presented by New Yorker Natasha McEachron and celebrates Black history with daily episodes that aim to motivate and inspire. Through stories of pride, excellence and power from across the Black diaspora, episodes vary in length from 40 seconds to 50 minutes, and feature quotes, book and film reviews, career interviews and historical facts. Don’t miss the episode on Solomon Carter Fuller – the neurologist who was a pioneer in Alzheimer’s research and is considered to be America’s first Black psychiatrist.

Listen here

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