The best of Black History Month in London

The best of Black History Month in London

We round up some of the top events taking place during the capital's Black History Month celebrations

Since the 1970s, Black History Month has been dedicated to honouring the achievements of black and minority ethnic individuals and communities in the US and beyond, celebrating their vital role in history, arts and culture. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK, with a range of special events taking place to commemorate this legacy as well as provide opportunities to learn more about the important people and events in the history of the African and Caribbean diaspora. With such an extensive programme, we've decided to pick out some of the events that we're most looking forward to in the capital this month.

Black Sound
An exhibition that provides an insight into pioneering black British musicians, producers and promoters, celebrating their impact on the music industry over the past 100 years. The exhibition takes you through three phases: Original Imports, D.I.Y Culture and Re-mastering the Mainstream, using sound, moving image and archive material to tell the story of the heritage and creativity of black music in Britain.
Black Cultural Archives, until 4 Nov, free.

Once, We Came to a New Home
Photographer Cinzia D'Ambrosi has spent the past 12 years documenting poverty, marginalisation and violence, using her work to raise awareness of human rights abuses. Once, We Came to a New Home is her new Oral History Archive photography and audio project, which seeks to preserve, celebrate and promote the history of migration and settlement of the Afro-Caribbean communities in White City.
Idea Store Chrisp Street, until 31 Oct, free.

Africa on the Square 2017
Africa on the Square is a celebration of African arts and culture, drawing over 25,000 attendees in 2016. This year's event is the fourth edition, with a range of activities planned to highlight communities from across the continent, including live music, dancing, a talent show, African market, delicious food stalls, a fashion show and plenty of things that the little ones can enjoy too.
Trafalgar Square, Sat 14 Oct, free.

Diwali Festival 2017
Diwali is the Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival of lights which symbolises joy, love and forgiveness, representing the triumph of good over evil. London will be celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Diwali Festival this weekend with an excellent programme of live music and dance alongside a street food market, craft and community stalls, yoga, henna art and more.
Trafalgar Square, Sun 15 Oct, free.

Inspired by the true story of William Freeman, whose trial in 19th century New York was the first time insanity was used as a defence in America. Strictly Arts' production makes use of Freeman's story to delve into the relationship between people of colour, the criminal justice system and mental health. Through physical theatre, a capella singing and affecting performances, the play raises questions about difficult issues that continue to be problematic in modern day society.
Canada Water Culture Space, Wed 18 Oct, £12 (£9).

Classically British 2017
Classically British is an annual event dedicated to supporting young British dance talent, while showcasing new work to a broad audience. The event, run by Portobello Dance, is a chance to see excellent choreography and performances from some of the brightest dance talent around. This year's genres will include classical ballet, flamenco, contemporary and street, with featured artists including internationally acclaimed street performer Nathan Geering, flamenco dancer Yinka Esi Graves and rising star Joey Barton.
The Tabernacle, Fri 20 Oct, £10.

Taste of Southern Africa Cultural Arts Festival
A two-day festival with a focus on the cultural arts of southern Africa that offers the opportunity to experience something new and share in this unique heritage. Over the two days, there'll be various workshops led by professional southern African artists, including dance, marimba, mbira, singing and drumming, along with a special concert on day one and a musicians' jam session on day two.
Brady Arts Centre, Sat 21 Oct, £10.

Black SuperSheroes Exhibition
An exhibition created by Sweet Design Studio in collaboration with Shoreditch Library, Black SuperSheroes questions the reasoning behind the lack of black women playing leading roles as superheroes. The exhibition reimagines popular female superheroes as women of colour, using the work of graphic designer Lauren-Marie Haywood, to explore and critique the film industry's lack of diversity in casting superhero characters.
Shoreditch Library, Wed 25 Oct, free.

Bob Marley: The Making of a Legend
Esther Anderson's 2011 film uses footage shot in the early 70s to give us a behind the scenes look at the life of Bob Marley, from his early years to his launch into international stardom, examining the music that introduced the world to reggae. Stanley's Film Club have organised the Black History Month screening to coincide with a special Q&A with the film's director, hosted by Michelle Asantewa. The event will also include Caribbean food from Perfect taste and a signing of limited edition DVDs and soundtrack CDs.
Holy Innocents, Wed 25 Oct, £10 (£8).

Feast in the Archive: 30th Anniversary of Black History Month
Friends of Black Cultural Archives host their second annual Feast in the Archives, which involves spending a day in the archives to reflect on the history of Black History Month, through the sharing of memories and stories and a classic Sunday buffet featuring dishes like jollof rice, suya, curry goat and Johnnycakes.
Black Cultural Archives, Sun 29 Oct, £25.

Africa on the Square

A festival celebrating African culture, featuring food, fashion and live music.

Diwali Festival

Celebrated every year by Sikhs, Hindus and Jains across the world, the festival of lights draws around 40,000 people to Trafalgar Square to enjoy a stage programme showcasing contemporary Asian music and dance from professional artists and talented community groups. Traditional religious music opens and closes the show.


  • 4 stars

Strictly Arts presents a dramatic tale inspired by the story of William Freeman, a man in 19th century New York who becomes the first person to raise 'insanity' as a defence in an American trial.

Black Sound

An exhibition which tells the story of 100 years of innovation in black music.

Once, We Came to a New Home

Photographer Cinzia D’Ambrosi presents photographs that detail the history of migration and settlement of the Afro-Caribbean communities in White City.

Classically British 2017

Annual event to promote distinctive young black British talent together with new work for a broader dance audience.

Black SuperSheroes

Exhibition which celebrates black women as superheroes.

Taste of Southern Africa Cultural Arts Festival

Two-day festival aimed at sharing the cultural arts of southern Africa with workshops, a concert, jam session and food and drink.

Feast in the Archive: 30th Anniversary of Black History Month

Spend a day in the archives to reflect on the history of Black History Month with discussions, storytelling and a classic Sunday buffet.