Sharing stories is a simple way all of us can disseminate knowledge, experiences and inspire others around us to aim high. That is why I started writing. Below are six initiatives created by ordinary Black men and women that are helping to shape our creative landscapes. Feel inspired to do the same and please share.
Black Ballad aims to redress the media imbalance in the portrayal of Black women in the British media.
British-Nigerian founders Tobi Oredein and Bola Awoniyi launched the website in 2014 and used the platform to explore topics linked to identity, perceptions of beauty and mental health – centring women at the forefront. They plan to take Black Ballad to a new level in March 2017 with the launch of a subscription-based online offering that provides a voice for Black women to take back power, lead debate and set the agenda. To learn more, check them out here.
Diversity Matters is an awareness platform launched by British-Ghanaian student Kai Lutterodt to promote diversity at UAL (University of the Arts London).
The initiative started out in 2014 as part of a UAL African Caribbean Society campaign but has flourished to become a multi-dimensional platform. In April 2016, Lutterodt launched ‘Diversity Matters Awareness Week’ and since then has staged a number of projects, workshops and events linked to promoting diversity fields including arts, education, and the media. Events include the Diversity Matters Exhibit in June and Divercity Arts Project in July 2016.
Junkanory encourages people with a story to share it …and invites those who love to hear about other people’s experiences to listen.
“Stories are the one thing that connect people – it doesn’t matter who you are and it is likely you’ve experienced those same stories,” said Olivia Donkor – co-founder of the initiative. The event is an informal night out aimed at cultivating good company through great music and conversations based around a monthly theme.
“When we set up Centric Learning Tree, it was a way to provide a platform to share stories of people who don’t often get the chance to have their voices heard and as a result don’t value their own stories,” said Donkor. Watch out for future Junkanory events planned for the New Year here.
Museumand is a museum without walls that encourages people within African and Caribbean communities to share their stories, memories and treasured objects from the past with the public. The aim is to preserve histories through dialogue and interaction that are at risk of being lost.
The concept started life in Nottingham two years ago but is gathering pace with Museumand partnering with local venues across Nottingham and further afield to increase a living showcase of Black history. The team, including Linda and Cathy are planning further collaborations in 2017, including one planned in Liverpool. Check out more here.
The Indie Book Show Africa is an interactive platform on YouTube that invites the public to review books they have read by African writers.
The platform is the brainchild of British-Sierra Leonean novelist Nadia Maddy whose aim is to create an online resource that celebrates and validates African work through community engagement.
Reading and writing is in Maddy’s blood. Her father was the renowned playwright, writer, poet, actor and director Yulisa Amadu Maddy. She already has one book under her belt – ‘The Palm Oil Stain’ – a love story set in Sierra Leone during civil war. She is working on a second book, which will be set in Ghana. Want to feel inspired, check out the Indie Book Show Africa YouTube posts on YouTube here.
Young Othello is a new play that looks at the young life of the famous Black Shakespearean character Othello before he arrived in England.
The play – by historian and writer Onyeka Nubia – is set within a prosperous ancient African kingdom untouched by slavery and colonialism, Nubia writes. As the story unfolds, greed, jealousy and the thirst for power bring about the destruction of a nation and provide us with a deeper understanding of the conflicted but enigmatic character Othello.
Narrative Eye, an organisation dedicated to promoting equality and social change through education, is raising money to fund the play’s launch on to the stage and support the actors who will be involved. The aim for this play is for it to be more accessible to the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic students, actors and the general public. Find out more about the forthcoming play here.
Why not share new initiatives emerging in your community here.
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