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October has arrived, meaning that Black History Month is here. Not many people agree that there should be a black history month, as they think black history should be celebrated every day of the year.  

 “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? I don’t want a black history month.” This was the answer actor Morgan Freeman gave when journalist Mike Wallace questioned him about his thoughts on black history month. The interviewer also asked “How are we going to get rid of racism?”  Mr Freeman replied, “stop talking about it, I’m going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace.  You know me as Morgan Freeman.”  
Does Mr. Freeman have a point? Should we abandon black history month altogether? I decided to find out what the people of London thought about this.

There is a big contrast when it comes to the history of Mike Wallace and Morgan Freeman, and I’m not talking about their appearance. It’s more than likely that a Caucasian person, such as Mike Wallace, will know about their history in more detail than a black man such as Morgan Freeman.  
 
One reason is because as children, we’re not taught about the history of black people in education – with the exception of watching a film where a black slave cuts his own foot to escape his slave owner. We are taught about the Egyptians – and why is that? Is it because they are so close to Europe? Egypt isn’t the only part of Africa who had kings and queens with rich artwork, gold and wisdom. Why are we not taught about people such as the Moors? Who travelled the seas to spread knowledge and wisdom?


If we forget about our identity, heritage, and culture, as Mr Freeman proposed, we will be westernised. For a person to dismiss their ethnicity/ race, to me, it is like pulling your eyeballs out of your head – as it is a part of you. It is a part of your identity. Identity is the reason why black history month was launched in the United Kingdom on the 1st of October 1987. 

 
A Ghanaian man called Akyaaba Addai-Sebo is responsible for the concept. The inspiration of black history month happened at work, when a colleague of Mr Addai-Sebo seemed to be distressed. The woman expressed her shock and concern about an incident regarding her son the previous night. As the colleague was putting her son to bed, the boy asked his mother, “why can’t I be white?” The woman was shocked and stunned, and didn’t know how to respond to her son. After hearing this Mr Addai-Sebo decided he had to do something.  
There are many events happening during the year and not just in the month of October. I have been to a few this year, such as Nubian Nights Out’s Who Taught You?  which is an art exhibition on the beauty of black women and it was unbelievable. It took place over two days in July. 
 

img_0583The African Summer Festival was another great event, which took place in August. Afrobeats artists Fuse Odg and Parisian-born Nigerian songwriter Asa both gave a magnificent performance. There were loads of stylish and beautiful African attire being sold such as headscarves, dresses, and bags.
 
Last month, 20th of September to be exact, I was introduced to Nigerian Tapas by an up and coming family business Chuku’s. They had a pop-up shop in Clapton, Hackney where served delicious meals such as Jollof quinoa and plantain pancakes.

 
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Also, on the 26th & 27th September, The Best Jollof Rice and Rum cake competition took place at Brixton Library. Prizes such as £1,000 cash were up for grabs. Vasco Stevenson, the founder of www.blackhealth.co.uk, gave a fascinating seminar about how you can beat diabetes naturally like he did.

Africa On The Square is coming up on the 10th October 2015 and will have some market stalls, talent shows, live music, and DJs such as Capital Xtra’s Abrantee playing tunes for all.  

We as a community have the responsibility to educate our offspring and ourselves about our culture. Yes, black history shouldn’t only be celebrated in the month of October, but what’s the harm in keeping the month? Some people are not conscious of black history, or are unsure of where to start their research. Black History Month is a good source for them to get information and to learn about our beautiful; and at times tragic history.  
written by Cris Blaize 
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