News release

Celebrating Black History Month

Ref: 12_179

11 October 2012

Catch a Fire concert

The University of Southampton will be celebrating Black History Month with a series of lectures, poetry and musical events at Turner Sims concert hall.

Events range from ‘conversations’ with black history specialists and poets, led by Godfrey Brandt from the Diverse Arts and Artists Community Association (DAACA) to showings of four black history films. Additionally, the Students’ Union’s African Caribbean Society is planning a Cultural Awareness day on Wednesday 17 October which will showcase stalls and local talent.

Of particular note is the Turner Sims organised concert, Catch a Fire. The new orchestral interpretation of Bob Marley and the Wailers' ground-breaking album will be performed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence. Jazz Jamaica All Stars and the Urban Soul Orchestra, with special guest Brinsley Forde (Aswad), bring Catch a Fire to Southampton Guildhall tomorrow evening (Friday 12 October) at 8pm.

Additionally, on Sunday 14 October at 3pm, the Turner Sims will host Mango Spice; a special performance workshop suitable for all ages. Mango Spice is a celebration of Caribbean culture, giving the audience the opportunity to learn Jamaican folk songs and ring dances, and rediscover the history behind the rhythms, words and movement.

Kamaljit Kerridge-Poonia, Diversity Manager at the University of Southampton says: “Through the wide range of artistic and cultural events held on the University’s campuses, there is an opportunity to discuss, explore and celebrate the history and contributions of African Caribbean and other black communities. Black History Month gives a focus and greater visibility to these issues and their importance and is an opportunity for everyone to get involved.”

The initiative was started in America in 1926 by Carter G Woodson, editor of the Journal of Negro History, to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of African Americans in keeping alive their heritage, traditions and histories. In Britain, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987 as part of African Jubilee Year, since then it has grown to include other black communities.

Kamaljit adds: “We believe that as an international University, it is important to raise awareness of Black History Month, to support our staff and students in celebrating their heritage.”