BLACK HISTORY MONTH
This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the introduction of the Black History Month (BHM) concept held in Britain in October - although it's observed in America, the Caribbean and other parts of the world during the month of February. One organisation that has been critical of cramming millennia of Black history into one month is Voice Of Africa Radio (VOAR), Britain’s only legal African radio station. VOAR chose to run specialist programmes under what they termed ‘Africa Awareness Month’. Although in recent years BHM has spun out to September and November, the London borough of Brent, Britain’s most ethnically diverse borough, has upon customer feedback decided to organise BHM events all year round! Also, many Pan-Africanists have moved to call the month 'Afric(k)an History Month' which, indeed is how my voluntary organisation BTWSC (Beyond The Will Smith Challenge) branded its events. At the ‘Abolition Truths’ discussion held in the Harrow Civic Centre not too long ago, I decreed that as an on-going mark of recognising the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, I would start to call people of African descent in Britain either African or African-British. The word ‘Black’ has become too hazy a term to describe people of African descent and only serves those whose funding depend on perpetuating this confusing descriptor.
MUSIC... When people point to African icons like Hugh Masekela or Fela Kuti, it’s evident that their music was influenced by African-American Jazz, for example. African music is wider than percussion or kora music. That’s why my African Gold Column covers music by people of African descent, irrespective of immediate antecedence. Be it from Africa, Latin America or the UK. If it fits my definition, it can be covered… Kwaku K