ONLINE EVENT: BLACK HISTORY MONTH – THE STORIES NOT CHOSEN

Like us, are you OVAH (you’re still on mute, Dave) Zoom?

Missing considered opinions?

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Join us for informal, lively discussions, focused debate, chat, and connection. Join us where Black Queer experiences move from the margins to centre stage (without apology).

Register today for the next:

ASSEMBLY

by

WE_ARE_BLKOUT

6pm Sunday 29th November

Join BLKOUT and our partners, Southwark LGBT Forum, for a new kind of event where the borders between audience and speakers, expert and lived experience, then and us is broken down and new connections made.

First you put your views on record and send in a quick video. We gather and present our collective takes on the issue at hand with a sprinkling of expert analysis. A live and lively Q&A will seek to challenge you and be followed by a final audience poll – we’ll see who’s been changing your mind – you set the pace and decide the tone by sharing your enthusiasm, knowledge, and ideas.

Welcome to ASSEMBLY

“The Black homosexual is hard pressed to gain audience among his heterosexual brothers; even if he is more talented, he is inhibited by his silence or his admissions. This is what the race has depended on in being able to erase homosexuality from our recorded history. The “chosen” history. But the sacred constructions of silence are futile exercises in denial. We will not go away with our issues of sexuality. We are coming home. It is not enough to tell us that one was a brilliant poet, scientist, educator, or rebel. Whom did he love? It makes a difference.

Ceremonies, Essex Hemphill 1992

The grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace

To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvell, 1681

“Is it really Black History Month if it doesn’t include Black LGBTQ people?”

HuffPost UK, Black Voices, Rob Berkeley 12 October 2020

BLKOUT will be engaging with historians, museum curators, artists and social commentators to help us better understand the background. We will also be sharing the results of some of research into someone we think should be far better known – Elephant and Castle GP, Pan-Africanist and LGBT rights campaigner, Dr Cecil Belfield-Clarke.


HOW DOES IT WORK?

14 days before the event, date and event title circulated and registration opens

10 days before event; 5 open questions are issued, to which all interested participants are invited to respond – sending video comments/answers in advance via Vimeo or in a WhatsApp message

The same questions are answered by;

·       2 commissioned experts (in addition to interview and live Q&A)

·       4-6 BLKOUTHUB members nominated and encouraged to participate

2 days before the event

·       Reminder email to registered and quick poll (to be repeated after the event to measure changes)

·       Video responses edited into 10-minute video used to introduce discussion at ASSEMBLY

Two 5-minute expert interviews

30-minute Q&A with two panellists and chair

Followed by ‘online speed networking’


here are the 5 questions to respond to (deadline 9am Sat 28 Nov)

QUESTIONS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

Why does the sexual identity of Black historical figures matter?

  • Who cares? Who should?

When the Victorian statue of slave-trader and philanthropist, Edward Colston was taken down and drowned in Bristol Harbour, it seemed that the people had spoken. A white male artist jumped in on the zeitgeist, inserting the image of a Black woman as a symbol of modernity to replace the local benefactor; directly implicated in the deaths of thousands of enslaved Africans.

  • Is there a Black Queer man who you would erect a statue to? Where and why?

We will not go away with our issues of sexuality’ – never mind the past, we do not appear in visions of the future that often either? Am I wrong? If not, does the future require as much or even more attention than our presence in the archives?

  • What will 2070 be like for Black queer men in the UK?

Global pandemics do not stop history months, it appears. For many, digital formats meant an embarrassment of riches. What were your highlights from BHM 2020? In particular, what insights did you gain into Black queer histories?

  • 2020 BHM was the UK’s ‘biggest ever’. What intervention(s) do you think deserve special mention?

Intersectional serendipity means that the UK’s Black History Month coincides with US LGBTQ+ History Month, and the UK’s LGBTQ+ History Month with the USA’s Black History Month – given such opportunity …

  • What would you like to see or hear about in Feb or next October that would inspire greater inclusion of Black and queer voices? For yourself and for the wider communities where we live

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