This October, London will come alive with vibrant celebrations, educational initiatives, and cultural events as the nation commemorates Black History Month. This year’s theme is “Celebrating our sisters, saluting our Sisters, and Honouring Matriarchs of Movements in British Society”, putting the spotlight on the remarkable contributions and legacies of Black women throughout history.
The month-long festival, first celebrated in the UK in 1987, raises awareness of history and celebrates traditions, customs, and cultures through educational events, exhibitions, shows, talks, memorial services, and installations across London.
Black History Month should serve as a platform to amplify the voices and stories of Black British women, honouring their significant contributions to all aspects of life in the UK while addressing the ongoing challenges they face. It’s a time to celebrate achievements, raise awareness, and foster unity and understanding among all communities.
Black History Month 2023 highlights the importance of recognising the pivotal role that Black women have played in shaping British society. It is a time to reflect on their achievements, acknowledge the obstacles they have overcome, and salute their enduring legacy.
Throughout history, Black women have achieved extraordinary feats in various fields. From literature to music, politics and sports, Black British women have made lasting marks on British culture and society.
Black women have been at the forefront of social justice movements, advocating for equality, justice, and human rights, it’s important to acknowledge their courage, determination, and tireless efforts to effect positive change.
Sheroes Among Us – highlighting contemporary black women who are breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes in their respective fields.
Pioneering Voices – featuring black women who have used their voices to speak out against injustice, with quotes from their speeches or writings.
Innovators and Entrepreneurs – showcasing black women who have made significant strides in business and entrepreneurship.
Breaking Barriers – featuring black women who have broken down barriers in sports, entertainment, politics, and other fields.
Women Who Move Mountains – celebrating black women who have made significant contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields
Women Who Lead – showcasing black women who have made significant contributions to leadership and governance.
This Black History Month, explore some of London’s citywide events celebrating the Black communities that have shaped our city. From exhibitions, black-led markets, and beautiful performances to feed your eyes and ears, we have chosen just a handful of incredible events that are happening over London this October.
– On the hunt for literary gems by Black writers? Meet fellow bookworms at the Black British Book Festival. 27-28 Oct
– Join Black-Owned Hackney Market for a weekend-long celebration of Black-owned businesses at Bohemia Place Market. Featuring a mouth-watering selection of food, drinks, retail items, and live music. 5 – 7 Oct
– Comedy Shutdown brings Comedy of Black Origin, a Black History Month Special with some of the best comedians in the business. Multiple dates and locations.
– Claudette Johnson, a founding member of the Black British Arts Movement, is the focus of the current exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery — Claudette Johnson: Presence is a retrospective showing off 30 years of her large-scale drawings of Black men and women. 29 Sept – 14 Jan
– Breaking Barriers: Black History, Queer Voices & Resilience. Head down to the Brown Suga – Black History Month Party for an evening of voguing workshops, DJs and special performances into the early hours. 21 Oct
Looking for more events across London? Head to the BHM official website.
This Black History Month, explore some of London’s citywide events celebrating the Black communities that have shaped our city. From exhibitions, guided tours, black-led business events and some beautiful performances to feed your eyes and ears, we chose just a handful of some incredible events that are happening over London this October.
Museum of London – Explore Black Londoner’s stories from the history of Grime in East London, Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place and much more for free through the photography, film and archive material.
Wallace Collection – Black Presence in the Wallace Collection is a free, online virtual African Heritage tour of the collection spanning 400 years with Dr Janet Couloute, especially for Black History Month. Register online to join!
Horniman Museum & Gardens – Intimate Archives is a free display offering a window into African diasporic social experiments, rituals, and practices of hair care. Along with this ongoing exhibition, Horniman is hosting a Future Heroes craft workshop to celebrate Black History Month with artist Habiba Nabisubi, do grab your tickets!
Black History Walks – Their first hosted walk since the pandemic, discover the life, times, and activities of numerous African/Caribbean women in Brixton from the 1950s – 1980s.
Black Plaque Project – An initiative by Nubian Jak Community Trust to commemorate the contributions of black people throughout history. Use their online map to discover each historic location and plaque across London and discover Black history in our city.
Black Women Business Talks – A space to learn effective growth strategies for business development and career success for the Black community and allies, with industry leaders from leading banks and publications. A must-attend event for open, honest business discussions.
Inspiring Entrepreneurs at British Library – Learn how Black entrepreneurs are building empires online by using their influence and creativity. Followed by an open discussion on community building with Black Pound Day founder and So Solid Crew member, Swiss.
AFWL – African Fashion Week London is the largest global showcase of African fashion and design with a collaborative catwalk, exhibitions, and business development programs, all hosted at the Freemasons Hall.
Black Culture Market 1st – 2nd Oct – Explore a host of emerging businesses of African and Caribbean descent at this Brixton-based market. Shop a huge host of entrepreneurs selling unique gifts, jewellery clothing and more!
Bohemia Place Market 1st – 2nd Oct – Located in the heart of Hackney, discover London’s best Black-owned Street food, artisan traders and many more Black-owned businesses!
To What End at the Barbican – Six inspiring short performances blend dance and live music, developed by South African artists at William Kentridge’s leading centre for experimental, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary arts.
The Woman King – Inspired by true events Gina Prince-Bythewood directs the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s.
Kirkou and the Sorceress – Part of the Barbican family film club, this masterful animation is based on a West African folk tale of powerful bravery and adventure.
An evening with David Harewood – Rio Cinema Hackney presents the critical acclaim actor in conversation presenting his powerful memoir of race and identity.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Live at the Southbank Centre, the incredible South African vocal powerhouse play heir first UK tour in years in celebration with Black History Month.
The Music of Otis Reading – Experience the incredible sound of Otis Redding as two of the UK’s most exciting soul acts join forces to celebrate the King of Soul at Camden’s Jazz Café.
Hollie Cook – British reggae tropical pop star Hollie Cook performs at Village Underground, reflecting on her path from West London roots to critically acclaimed records.