Today, 31st October 2023 is the last day of Black History Month in the United Kingdom. This year’s theme was ‘Salute our Sisters’ and frankly I am disappointed in the complete disinterest. I know that black women are overlooked for everything we give and add to the United Kindgom but this month showed me how much we are hated.
I took a break from writing the entire of October just to observe Black History Month 2023 because I had low expectations with high hopes I was wrong. Of course I was wrong – I forgot I live in London. The United Kingdom always disappoints me with its disdain towards black women. Especially dark skinned black women.
Black History Month in the United Kingdom was launched in the 1980’s in London. Just like carnival it was the result of local community activism challenging racism. Although it had to official reason to coming about like in the US (attached to a historic moment), the UK decided that British society and the Eurocentric version of history that dominated the state school system needed to change.
Curriculum was made around slavery and it was introduced in schools. Fast forward to 2003 where little Tilly was in her Catholic all-girls school sitting in history asking the nun why people who looked her were in chains and people who looked like the nun were not. She gets sent out of the class for disrupting. I was always an inquisitive child; I always asked questions when things made no sense to me. I went in search – a quest if you will – to find out why if ‘Colonialism’ was such a great thing why were people like me in chains. Then a month later the penny dropped; Black History Month.
Being taught in school that our history stemmed from slavery was absolutely wrong. I wanted to know what happened before then. Fast forward to 2023 when there are historical black British women alive doing AMAZING things and yet not being celebrated? My blood was BOILING.
Well, you know me darling – on this website, black history month means celebrating everything that is BLACK BLACK BLACKITY BLACK. Not in a ‘we are better than you’ way because pro-black does NOT mean anti-white. In a way that celebrates the differences of Black Caribbean culture, Black African Culture and Black British Culture that combines everything. From our music, food, heritages and stories.
When you have the likes of Chanté Joseph, Nella Rose, Dawn Butler, Kelebhi Okafor, Oloni, and so many black women paving ways for other. Black women can be praised and celebrated in every way and although the world seems to shit on us; you will be celebrated here.
A sister is someone who you can be yourself around 1000000%.
You are not afraid to argue or fight with them because you know whatever is said comes from a place of love and respect.
A sister never tries to tear you down.
A sister has your back no matter what.
You may not agree on everything and you might not talk daily but you know the love of a sister is unconditional and lifelong.
My sisters are my heartbeats outside of my chest. The function as safety nets for me in this world. They shield me from the harm that loneliness/complacency does.
Truly thankful that each one of your beautiful women are in my life. I am not going to make a list as you know who you are. My rays of sunshine, my fresh rain in the rainforests, my heart beats outside my chest.
Thank you for being you. I love you and salute you.
Happy Black History Month.