It’s October and the Student Union is celebrating, along with the rest of the UK, Black History Month (BHM) – amazing events and performances are happening throughout this month in our union, including events by societies like the Black Feminist Society, the Nigerian Society and the African Caribbean Society. Apart from the obvious reasons why everyone should get involved (acknowledge and celebrate the amazing contributions to our society made by black men and women?), here are some more reasons why you should participate.
1. Learn something new
You may have missed the Nigerian Student Society celebrating Nigerian Independence Day on Monday, but you can always keep learning on your own. Every African country is different with its own history and traditions, and the exciting aspect of BHM is that it reminds you of that fact and encourages you to explore the roots of African History.
Besides Nigeria, did you know that 5 other African countries are celebrating their independence this month? Other exciting educational opportunities include learning about the Oromo people (Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups) and their plight at the hands of the Ethiopian government at the ‘Oromo Exhibition’ on the 17th. If you want something a little more lighthearted, gain insight into the origins, heritage and impact of grime music at ‘The Politics of Grime’, also on the 17th.
2. Join in on the celebration of black beauty and culture
We live in a society that often upholds Western beauty standards as ideal, and disregards the beauty of people of colour. Although black beauty should be celebrated throughout the year, BHM is also a great opportunity to showcase the underrated beauty of black people. The Black Feminist Society intends on doing just that, with their ‘Black Hair & Beauty Workshop’ that will be taking place this Friday. During the workshop, besides discussing and sharing the ideals of black feminism, there will also be an opportunity to style each other’s hair and do each other’s make-up. Even if you’re not looking to get a makeover, learning to celebrate the beauty and diversity of being black is a lesson worth grasping.
3. Appreciate black art and creativity
If you’re looking to learn about African and Caribbean art, then the ‘Legacy’ showcase by the African Caribbean Society on the 28th is an event worth attending. As the final celebration of BHM at the university, there’s almost no reason not to attend, especially when you’ll be able to marvel at the great African and Caribbean art on display, as well as enjoy great performances and food.
If you’d rather be soothed by words than visuals, go and listen to some amazing poetry by critically acclaimed writer, poet and performer Siana Bangura on the 7th, where she will touch on issues faced by black British women every day.
Elsa Amri and Bea Warleta
(Image courtesy of The Huffington Post)