A round-up of the best theatre, music and talks in celebration of Black History Month 2019 in Scotland
Think Scottish history is all about old white folk? Think again. This Black History Month, a range of community and cultural organisations are staging events across Edinburgh and Glasgow to challenge the institutional prejudices and gaps in the public record that have led to the erasure of BAME experiences in Scotland. And in these troubling times, it's arguably more vital than ever to challenge our preconceptions, but also honour the endurance, sacrifice and achievements of these individuals and communities that paved the way for a more equal, compassionate society. Here's some of our top picks of events taking place in the forthcoming month.
The Drift Hannah Lavery delivers a powerful spoken word performance that exposes accepted notions around Scottish history and identity, through an autobiographical exploration of Lavery's experiences of growing up mixed-race in Scotland. Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 10 October, £15 (£5–£12; students £10).
Grin Dance and performance collective V/DA stage this physical challenge to the hyper-sexualisation of African and Caribbean dance, fusing dazzling light, costuming and choreography to a pulsating soundscore. The duet will be performed by Divine Tasinda and Kemono L.Riot, choreographed by Mele Broomes (VOID). Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 11 – Sat 12 October, £12 (£10).
SQIFF The Scottish Queer International Film Festival screen three features showcasing diverse facets of Black identity. Fabulous and Father Figure (Thu 3 Oct) explore ballroom culture in contemporary Europe, foregrounding the vital importance of the QTIPOC community in this thriving cultural scene. Portrait of Jason (Tue 15 Oct) sees sex worker and entertainer Jason Holliday tell his life story to filmmaker Shirley Clarke, while Calalai: In Betweenness (Tue 22 Oct) depicts the culture of South Sulawesi Bugis, who believe humankind have five different gender expressions. CCA, Glasgow, Thu 3, Tue 15, Tue 22 Oct, free.
Black Abolitionists in Scotland Professor Celeste-Marie Bernier from the University of Edinburgh discusses the presence of African-American abolitionists Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Josiah Henson, Sarah Parker Remond and Frederick Douglass in Scotland, followed by a screening of the documentary Strike for Freedom: Frederick Douglass in Scotland. CCA, Glasgow, Thu 10 Oct, £6.
Sing Sistah Sing! Celebrated mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker pays homage to the voices and histories of African-American women artists throughout history and their role in the civil rights movement, such as Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, Donna Summer, Nina Simone and the great Billie Holiday. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, Fri 25 Oct, £10.50 (£5–£8.50).
Mitchell Curious: Revisiting the 'Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry' View history in a new light at this exhibit, which re-frames Thomas Annan's 1870 photography collection of 100 mansion houses belonging to the 'old Glasgow gentry' in the context of these owners' connection to the slave trade. This exhibition will feature the photographs alongside documentary evidence. Mitchell Library, Glasgow, Mon 21 Oct, free.
Barber Shop Chronicles / credit: Marc Brenner
Shakara: Time to Move Showcase of spoken word, live music and DJ sets from people of colour living in Glasgow, asserting their take on what it means to be a Black Scot. GoMA, Thu 24 Oct, free.
Barber Shop Chronicles Inua Ellams' play explores the vibrant communities of men who barber shops in London, Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra, foregrounding the stories and relationships that are forged in this environment. Royal Lyceum Theatre, Wed 23 Oct–Sat 9 Nov, £14–£33.
Edinburgh and Black History Talk exploring the long history of African, Asian and mixed-race people in Scotland's capital, spanning from the 16th century to the present day. Learn about the Africans who enjoyed high status in the Royal Court and the foundation of the Indian Association of Edinburgh in 1883, which remains active to this day. Longmore House, Edinburgh, Wed 16 Oct, free.
Edinburgh Caribbean Association Walking Tour Lisa Williams of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association leads this walking tour through Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, highlighting its historic connections to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean through the city's many majestic edifices and statues. St Andrews Square, Sun 6, Sun 13, Sun 20, Sun 27 Oct, free.
Celebrated mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker pays homage to the voice and history of African-American women artists throughout history, such as Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, Donna Summer, Nina Simone and the great Billie Holiday, and their role in the civil rights movement to present day.
Part of Dig International Glasgow Grin is a contemporary performance of sound, visuals and choreography subverting hyper-sexualised notions of African and Caribbean dances. A masquerade of sculptures where body, costume and lighting unite, embedded in a pulsating soundscore. Grin is a thematic autobiographical story with…
In partnership with Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) for Black History Month, we look at the thriving ballroom culture of contemporary Europe. In Fabulous (2019), international legend Lasseindra Ninja returns to her home of Guyana to introduce voguing to its LGBTQ community. Father Figure follows Guilliano…
In partnership with Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), for Black History Month SQIFF present Portrait of Jason, which depicts sex worker and entertainer, Jason Holliday, recounting his life story for filmmaker Shirley Clarke. Jason is the sole on-screen presence in the film. He narrates his life story to the…
Join us at GoMA for an evening of spoken word, music performance and DJ sets. The event will showcase the talented POC that Glasgow has to offer and present their take on black/minority life in Scotland. This event is part of Black History Month.
Professor Bernier, from the University of Edinburgh, will discuss the African American "struggle for liberty" in Scotland by tracing the transatlantic tours of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Josiah Henson, Sarah Parker Remond and Frederick Douglass. Following this, there will be a screening of a 20-minute documentary Strike for…
Calalai: In Betweenness by filmmaker Kiki Febriyanti depicts women in South Sulawesi Bugis culture, which for centuries has accepted gender diversity as implicit, believing humans consist of 5 genders, one of them being calalai. The film takes a closer look at the definition of femininity and masculinity in the Bugis…