Black History Month Launches in Leicester with a celebration of Lost Legends.

Black History Month Launches in Leicester celebrating Lost Legends.

Pauline Black, star of Two-Tone band The Selecter opens the exhibition celebrating the cultural contribution of the African and African Caribbean community to Leicester and the start of a month long celebration to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Black History Month in the UK.

Last Thursday saw Leicester celebrate the launch of an exciting new project to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Black History Month in the UK, with the official opening of the Lost Legends exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum and Gardens. The exhibition was officially opened by Pauline Black, star of ska and two-tone band The Selecter, who welcomed guests with her own reflection on the significance of Black History Month and played tribute to local trailblazers including ska pioneer Laurel Aitken. Other dignitaries included Sarah Levitt, Head of Arts and Museums at Leicester City Council, Louise Sutton representing Arts Council England and Atul Patel, Heritage Lottery Fund.

Lost Legends is now open to the public and runs until 31 October 2017 at Newarke Houses Museum and Gardens, with the online media archive accessible at http://lost-legends.serendipity-uk.com/

 The launch is just the beginning of a month of events, coordinated by local arts organisation, Serendipity.

Curve will play host to a unique re-staging of Amani Naphtali’s seminal play Ragamuffin from 6-7 October. Set in the Supreme Court of African Justice, the play presents the trial of Ragamuffin, an allegorical character drawn from the Black Urban experience. The play features an all-star cast including David Webber (Holby City, Captain Philips), Angela Winter (EastEnders), Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty (The National Theatre’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), Caleb Frederick (RSC’s The Tempest).

 BHM Live, a platform which nurtures emerging African and African Caribbean artists will showcase new work from four companies Alleyne Dance, Chessboard Society, Gerrard Martin Dance and Humanhood at Curve on 20 October.

Other theatrical treats include The Y’s Just an Ordinary Lawyer, Metro-Boulot-Dodo’s innovative VR experience Empire Soldiers and former BHM Live participant Rachael Young will present her latest production Nightclubbing.

Phoenix Cinema in partnership with Serendipity and University of Leicester will be screening films that reflect on the social, cultural and political change including The Stuart Hall Project, Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights and with the UK debut of Maya Angelou and Still I Rise having already sold out.

Those interested in poetry and spoken word will enjoy the Leicester Writer’s Showcase of [email protected], celebrating the centenary of Ella Fitzgerald, World Slam Champion Kat Francois’ appearance as part of Moonshine Word Jam, and Mellow Baku’s Soon Come [..] Home inspired by the work of Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, with Jan Blake and Winston Nzinga appearing at Leicester Libraries.

Musical offerings include New Walk Museum and Gallery will be hosting jazz events each Thursday evening throughout October, with reggae legends Mykal Rose and Aba Shanti-I performing at 2Funky Music Café.

Discussion and debate series BlackChat in partnership with the WEA returns with two talks from Ivan Browne discussing health and Victoria Northridge discussing the importance of archiving and documenting heritage. The discussions are open to all and are an opportunity to explore issues effecting communities and to break down barriers between communities.

 Black History Month is supported with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Leicester City Council.

Cllr Piara Singh Clair, Assistant City Mayor responsible for culture, leisure, heritage and sport, said: “I’m delighted that we are celebrating 30 years of Black History Month in Leicester. Once again there is a fantastic programme of cultural events taking place, offering something for everyone. It is a very important part of the city’s festival programme and the city council is proud to support it.”

Pawlet Brookes, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Serendipity said: “This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Black History Month in the UK, and Leicester’s Black History Month is an opportunity for people from across the region and the UK to learn more about Black British history and question what Black History Month means to them, celebrating with a wide range of events for all to engage with.”

 More information about the full line up of events can be found on the Serendipity website http://www.serendipity-uk.com/black-history-month-leicester/ or by calling 0116 257 7316.