What’s On this month: Celebrating Black History Month across the boroughs 

Each of the ELL boroughs will be hosting events to celebrate Black History Month. Pic: Alexander Entwistle

October is Black History Month – a time to celebrate Black cultural heritage, African and Caribbean history and recognise the contribution made by Black Britons in the UK.  

Events across the East London Lines boroughs are kicking off and range from book exhibitions, to film screenings to R&B line dancing.  

Here are four events that you can visit in each of the boroughs.

75 Years and Counting 

An exhibition embracing the Windrush and the NHS which both celebrated their 75th anniversary this year. Cookery demonstrations, dance, refreshments and self-care workshops are all on the menu. 

When: Thursday 5th October, 11:30am – 2:30pm 

Where: Honor Oak Community Centre, SE4 2JD 

Cost: £3 

To book, email info@60up.org.uk or call 020 3667 3704.

Rebel Footsteps – a radical history walk in New Cross

Enjoy a walk and talk around the radical history of New Cross and Deptford. From the Anti-slavery movement to the Battle of Lewisham, this explores topics including strikes, protests and battles, racial segregation, the story of the working class and struggles for justice and change.

When: Sunday 15th October, 1:45pm – 3:30pm

Where: Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW

Cost: £3

Buy tickets here.

Bring Me Sunshine Celebrates Our Sisters

An event for elders dedicated to honouring Black locals who have contributed to the borough and its community. Bring Me Sunshine Celebrates Our Sisters presents a steel band, R&B line dancing, a photography exhibition, a sing and dance performance from junior to senior attendees, a Caribbean lunch and drinks.

When: Saturday 28th October, 11:00am – 3:00pm

Where: Brownhill Baptist Church, SE6 1AU

Cost: Free

To reserve your place, email lesleyaallen@btopenworld.com.

Black Book Festival 2023

This grassroots festival showcases Black talent and creativity in literature and other forms of writing. Upon arrival, visitors will have the chance to browse up to 40 stalls and with an additional fee, access seminar presentations and a book expo. The festival boasts book signings with award winning authors, African-Caribbean storytelling, workshops and conversations with Black authors, musical excursions with DJ Stallion and sessions for aspiring writers.

When: Saturday 21th October, 11:00am – 7:00pm

Where: Goldsmiths, University of London, 8 Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW

Cost: Free

Book here.

The Mixer Event – Open Mic & Friday Night Social London

Enjoy a night of good vibes with an Open Mic event, welcoming artists, producers and DJs in the audience to hit the stage and show off their musical magic. There will be guest artists performing on the night, as well as food and drink being served.

When: Friday 6th October, 6:00pm – 10:30pm

Where: Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, E14 6TL

Cost: Free

Pulse of Africa

The Grand Union Orchestra celebrates music and traditions from the African diaspora. The event features a number of musicians and instruments including the talking drum, berimbau, dikanza and more!

When: Saturday 14th October, 7:30pm

Where: St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA

Cost: Pay what you can afford

Public Lecture. Wars Within Wars: Black History’s Warning to the World

A lecture by Professor Vincent Brown covering topics within Atlantic and Black history including slavery, impoverishment & racial violence. The lecture will highlight how Black history is also global history, and this provides lessons and warnings for the world.

When: Tuesday 17th October, 6:00pm

Where: Peston Lecture Theatre, Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, 327 Mile End Road, E1 4NS

Cost: Free

Reserve a spot here.

COBO : Comedy Shutdown Black History Month Special – Bethnal Green

The Comedy Shutdown showcases true Black excellence in comedy with various acts catering to all audiences. COBO is proud to welcome Robbie Gee, Eddie Nestor, Trixx and Loyiso Golla, offering audiences with spectacular comedy that will have you falling off your seat.

When: Sunday 29th October, 7:30pm – 11:00pm

Where: Backyard Comedy Club, 231 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0EL

Cost: £0 – £99

Book tickets here.

Hackney Young Black Writer Workshop

Young LIT Stars & Hackney Council presents an empowering and inspiring event for young black writers in Hackney. This workshop enables creatives to express their ideas through writing and gain a valuable insight from experienced mentors who are Black writers themselves.

When: Saturday 14th October, 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Where: Hackney Archives, CLR James Library, Dalston Square, Dalston, E8 3BQ

Cost: Free

Reserve a spot here.

Pioneers Of Comedy

Hackney Empire presents Pioneers of Comedy hosted by two major Black comedy stars, Eddie Nestor, MBE and Robbie Gee. The show welcomes a line-up of well-known black figures in British entertainment, featuring Slim, Richard Blackwood, Toju, Rudi Lickwood and Junior Simpson.

When: Saturday 21st October, 6:30pm – 10:30pm

Where: Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ

Cost: £27.80

Book tickets here.

Black Excellence x Abadesi Osunsade

An event hosted by Abadesi Osunsade targeted towards entrepreneurs, creators and innovators, discussing Black Excellence, as well as celebrating the work of Black entrepreneurs and creators over the past year.

When: Tuesday 24th October, 8:00am – 10:00am

Where: Huckletree Shoreditch, Alphabeta Building, 18 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1AH

Cost: Free

Reserve a spot here.

Stories with Ken Wilson-Max

Ken Wilson-Max is illustrator, publisher and author of children’s books including Jump Up! A Story of Carnival and Dream to Change the World: The Story of John La Rose. Towards the end of Dream to Change the World, young readers will learn about Ken’s career journey through a timeline.

When: Thursday 26th October

Where: Stamford Hill Library, Portland Avenue, N16 6SB

Cost: Free

Reserve a spot here.

RUSH – A Joyous Jamaican Journey

Prepare to dance the night away with the likes of Bob Marley & The Wailers, Desmond DekkerJimmy Cliff and many more. Narrated by John Summit, the show tells the story of reggae music and looks back at the Windrush generation who brought much of their own culture to this country.

When: Saturday 7th October, 7:30pm

Where: Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG

Cost: £31

Book tickets here.

She Rises – A Celebration of Women

A celebration of women who have contributed to their professional fields. Hear from a number of speakers who triumphed in their careers and forged new friendships with people along the way.

When: Saturday 14th October, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Where: Stanley Stephenson Lounge, Crystal Palace Football Club, Holmesdale Road, SE25 6PU

Cost: £44.04

Book tickets here.

Croydon’s Music Heritage Trail Walking Tour: Black History Tour

Join the Museum of Croydon for a guided walking tour of Croydon’s vast Black musical history honing in on the Black community’s remarkable contribution to Croydon.

When: Saturday 21st October, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Where: Queen’s Gardens, Park Lane Croydon CR0 1YJ

Cost: Free

Reserve a spot here.

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ movie viewing

Fairfield Halls will screen ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ – award winning director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. Ticket holders must be 15 or over.

In early 1970s Harlem, daughter and wife-to-be Tish recalls the passion, respect and trust that connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname of Fonny. Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.

When: Friday 27th October, 8:00pm

Where: Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG

Cost: £5

Book tickets here.

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