On Wednesday 17 October, Live Nation Entertainment celebrated Black History Month in the Angel Imperial Bar at Ticketmaster HQ, in association with Diversity and Belonging groups, Pride Nation and We Nation.
The event was organised by staff working across Live Nation and Ticketmaster in the UK and was inspired by the theme for this year’s Black History Month, the 70th anniversary of the Windrush generation. It drew together both African and Caribbean culture to celebrate a uniquely British experience.
A spread of African and Caribbean cuisine gave people a chance to try something new, offering up a variety of jerk wings, patties, saltfish fritters, mac and cheese, beef skewers and Jollof Riceall washed down by rum punch, assorted soft drinks and Guinness punch. However, the biggest takeaway of the evening came from our two guest speakers: actor and producer Femi Oyeniran and spoken word artist Zawadi.
Femi offered us an opportunity to see the world from another point of view, challenging the assumptions made about Black History Month, setting the tone in his opening remark, “I never realised that I was black until I came to the UK. In Nigeria everyone was black, so my colour wasn’t an issue until I came to this country.”
He also spoke passionately about how Black History Month has helped people from all walks of life appreciate how interconnected our history is, discussing his personal mission to fight against conventions made by film executives about the kind of films people of African and Caribbean heritage want to produce, act in and watch.
Femi concluded by calling for a concerted effort to increase diversity in the entertainment industry.
Up-and-coming spoken word artist Zawadi followed Femi. Her first performance was an expression of gratitude to those who had fought for equality and taken the brave step of leaving their homeland to establish a new life in the UK. Her second piece, dedicated to her own grandmother, characterised the experiences of the Windrush generation, which was gentle, thought provoking and received an enthusiastic applause from the audience.
As the event wound down, and the punch taps ran dry, it was great that so many people come forward with ideas for Black History Month 2019. See you next year!
Words by Mollie Nock