A little word on the big deal about BHM.
Black British. Anglo-Nigerian. African-Caribbean. Black. Brown. Dual-heritage. Mixed-race. You. Me. A personal account on the celebration of Black History Month.
Apparently, Black History Month in the UK was officially started in October 1987. There was a sense of urgency around this because there was some funding that needed to be used up. Where have we heard this before? So the planning and preparation pushed the BHM programme from February, which would coincide with the American celebrations held since 1926, to take place in October instead. Also other larger events coincided to launch BHM in that October of 1987 as told to me by social-historian and lecturer, Robert Lee. And he should know, 'cos he was there.
Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who now advises on UN Peace-Keeping, was working for the Greater London Council when he initiated a special programme of events that celebrated the contributions to the economic, the cultural and political life of London in paticular and Britain in general.
Addai-Sebbo saw it as an essential addition to the fabric of British culture. He had seenhow identity-politics was being experienced my children of African heritage in the school playgrounds and classrooms.
There are many references to how BHM became BHM and there are many debates as to whether local governments should remain involved or whether the community needs to lead and manage the process.
For the sake of future generations, BHM is one of many celebrations which needs to be maintained by hook and by crook so that we can bathe in the tradition of the adrinka symbol of the sankofa bird. This special symbol shows the bird facing backwards with the egg of the future in her mouth. This is translated as 'reach back to get
it' or quite literally reminding us that in order to move forward we must learn from our past.
So BHM is a way of life. It embeds experiences in our learning, in our everyday and pays homage to people today who have stood on the shoulders of those who were doing it years, centuries ago. There is no point in sniffing at it. I invite you to feel it, taste it, share it and make a date or two to dip in and be a part of it. We are all lovers of life and contribute to Mother Earth in one way or another. If there was no cocoa, there would be no festival. If there was no me, there would be no history to share with you. Who wants to be in a party of one! Please share!