Black History Month 2021

Featured article - 29 October 2021
By Tasnim Rahman, SCIE Research Analyst

Tasnim Rahman, SCIE Research Analyst

I’m an absolute book-worm, and a Netflix binge-watcher. So, I’m going to take you through some of the recent books I’ve read recently authored by black writers.

First up: Akala’s Natives

Growing up attending the theatre every now and then, Akala notes that it’s not a common activity for someone from a working-class background, especially a Black young person born in the 1980s to take part in the theatre experience. He talks about what it was like growing up, the systematic racism sprouting in daily school life, stops and searches by the police, inequalities in the workplace and still being treated as the ‘other’ when Britain often refers to itself as diverse.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Adunni’s life has always been of struggle. Her drive to continue because of her passion and love for education, and her fight for life made it difficult to put the book down. Her innocence and naivety, the broken English developing and becoming more fluent throughout the book and the resilience she has right from the beginning is gripping.

The concept of Adunni being a victim of modern slave trade is not new to us. Abi Daré extraordinarily ties in so many life experiences; it is as though Adunni is living the life of many females. Each phase of her life is built up of trial after trial, pain and suffering one after another and yet we have hope that she will be free. I’m still processing everything.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

For those of you who kept up with Kidulthood, Adulthood, Brotherhood, Top Boy, On the Block and every other show out there about ‘life in the hood’, this book is for you! It’s one of the debut sensations in the UK, and it touches upon the cultural stigma of getting help for our mental health, going through a lifetime of rollercoaster friendships and relationships, racist and prejudice encounters on a daily basis and the microaggressions in the workplace and public sphere. There’s been a lot of talk since last year about representation of people of colour in literature, and this is a book that always slips off my tongue naturally when recommending it to others. I was once a person who only had access to books written by white people, about white people. Then I met people who introduced me to different stuff culturally and I found characters I could relate to on a deeper level.

The discussions and dialogue over the past year and a half have been a wake up call for a lot of non-Black people (of colour), including myself, on the ingrained unconscious bias that we have within ourselves and the communities we come from. When we question the hostilities and hidden prejudices, we can truly appreciate black history, the present of black peoples’ contribution and appreciate black successes and future achievements.

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