…For Black History Month 2019 and Beyond.
As we approach the end of Black History Month 2019 Editions Lifestyle recognises the story doesn’t end here. There is so much to say and so much to learn, as we learn about ourselves, those who have gone before us and share it with the population at large. These really are exciting times for Black History. We are only half way into the International Decade for People of African Descent and as with the UK more and more information is coming to light as our scholars worldwide decipher document and make public histories that were once hidden.
Editions Lifestyle recognises that most people, including the general population of the UK, simply would like to achieve better lives for themselves as has been so pointedly demonstrated by the Windrush Generation and they unobtrusively get on with their lives, largely unnoticed, yet they feel under-represented in key areas of the media. This is where we fill the gap with stories, tips and information in reader friendly format.
Whilst acknowledging there are those who have been affected by the Home Office’s Hostile Policy under Theresa May, whom Joy Sigaud interviewed at the heart of the Windrush Scandal in 2018, whilst she was Prime Minister, the overall majority have not been directly affected. The vast majority are not necessarily concentrated in ghettoesque communities. We all love to see proportional representation through merit in the media, in education, industry and all sectors but it is a myth to believe that a handful of well-known faces represent the diverse communities at large.
“So many people came to me whilst I was editor at other magazines to say they felt under-represented and ignored” says Joy Sigaud and these feelings seem to pervade throughout the community.
She also believes it is important for us to ensure that our stories are documented for posterity and that we accept some responsibility for that, not only relying on those from outside the community to record and dismiss events as they see fit and she looks forward to the time when Black History will be accepted as a natural part of British National History in so far as the UK BME is concerned.
Let us not be forgotten!
It is encouraging to see how many events are taking place this month nationwide, in schools, offices, educational institutions and governing bodies to name just some. The Institute of Chartered accountants raised the Pan African flag to mark Black History Month and hosted a screening of the film Hidden Figures which was open to non-members and this is only one example of how it is being embraced.
Amongst the numerous nationwide celebrations and events, we have so far welcomed: two new Blue Plaques, one recognising Bob Marley by English Heritage and the other by Nubian Jak recognising Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley; Bernadine Evaristo became the first Black woman to win the Booker prize for her book Girl, Woman, Other; Art not Aid raised £20,000 from a charity auction to name just a few of the exciting things that have been happening. Meanwhile Portrait of a Generation and the Equiano Society’s New Touring Exhibtions continue to draw crowds. Award winning Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta’s Space was launched. Most touching was the national call for Oswald Dixon who seemingly had no relatives nor anyone to attend his funeral. This resulted in hundreds turning up and lining the surrounding streets to pay their respects to the 100 year old Black WW2 veteran.
Black History is not the preserve of a handful of people, it is everybody’s right and although we are a small, but significant section of the population, it is our duty to preserve our memories, lifestyles and culture in whichever way we can and it needs to be documented and shared.
Diversity in some key new areas is slowly but surely being encouraged and is welcomed but there is still a way to go. Most of the main stream television channels have been participating by showing films and acknowledging the month. Again, we look forward to a time when we see a healthy mix of programmes year round from the BME sector – and we are slowly but surely getting there.
Editions Lifestyle Magazine is non politically aligned and its aim is to normalise the Afro-related communities within the UK by highlighting, empowering and most of all inspiring. With a selection of notable contributors, experts in their field, the magazine is supported by a healthy mix of diverse British organisations and industries not to mention members of the general community making it reader friendly and inclusive. Editor Joy Sigaud believes this will be the beginning of a real integration in Britain. She says “Most people whoever they are just want to feel normal.”