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Make some noise for Black History Month! Here in the UK we are currently celebrating the richly diverse culture we live in.

In Britain we celebrate Black History Month in October but the idea originated in The United States. The annual month long celebration was started by a man named Carter G. Woodson in 1926 to acknowledge the achievements of the Black community at the time. In Britain, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987 as part of African Jubilee year and has been celebrated at the same time of year ever since.

Black music in the UK

Now, let’s throw some music into the mix! The Black community has a significant presence in the UK and Black Music is one of the ways this presence is felt and heard.

As human beings we are composite creatures, a collection of experiences, both our own and witnessed, that come to inform who we are and give us our sense of identity. The same can be said of music. Music is an art form derived from a collection of united sounds to form a composition, rap or song, hymn or ditty and so on. Although Black Music has its own unique original roots, its branches are far reaching and often intertwined with other musical forms.

Nadine Wild-Palmer
The integration of Black culture in Britain still has some way to go, perhaps one day Black History won’t need to be narrowed down and concentrated in to one single month but for now, at least, Black History Month is a way of raising the profile of the Black community and paying respect to the role it plays in British culture.

Among other things, music is a fast-track way of acknowledging the origins of any culture and one of the essential ways of paying tribute to the Black community’s contribution to British culture. After all, one only has to turn on their: TV, Laptop, radio or listen to a popular playlist on Spotify to hear the resonance that music of black origin or its influence is having on current popular music, impacting on the rich array of media we choose to consume.

A celebration of diverse culture

Black History Month gives us an opportunity to uphold a positive and inclusive celebration of our diverse culture here, in the UK. It’s one that acknowledges the multitudinous and variegated population and the vitality that Black culture has on influencing our national heritage. It’s about looking back at all the parts of Black History, seeing how far we have come and imagining what future we might be able to all be a part of.

Black History Month is a great time of year to doff your hat to the Pioneers, innovators and consumers of all kinds of Black culture and it doesn’t end there, with the MOBO Awards at the end of November you can tune in to observe the vital role Black Music plays in contemporary Britain, and continue to watch the roots of Black Music grow and influence our culture and “others”.

There’s a lot we can learn from sharing in all different types of culture and Black History Month is a good place to start. Whether it’s through popular music, art, food, fashion, dance or theatre, there are many ways you can show your support.

There has never been a better time to embrace Black culture and you never know, you may discover that perhaps you are more a part of Black History than you thought!

Keep up with the latest by following @WeAreTheMU and @BHMUK on twitter for suggestions on where to go and what to see!

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Nadine Wild-Palmer

Nadine is a writer and creator of stories, books, songs, poetry, scripts, comedy, music and theatre.

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Two young female street musicians, one playing acoustic guitar and the other an accordian.

Deadline Approaching for Funding From Alan Surtees Trust 

The Alan Surtees Trust makes up to four awards of £2,000 annually to support performers aged 16 to 30 with projects rooted in, or influenced by, folk or traditional music of all cultures. The deadline for applications is April 30.

Published: 15 April 2024

Read more about Deadline Approaching for Funding From Alan Surtees Trust