OCTOBER will see a month-long series of event in Southampton to mark the contribution made by the black community.

This year’s Black History Month focuses on the theme of role models.

Organiser, Lou Taylor said: “Our theme this year is Role Models looking at people from our own community such Superintendent Alison Heydari, of Southampton Police to the more international figures such as Barack Obama.

“The reason for choosing role models as our theme is to show the younger members of our community that nothing can hold you back if you set your sights on a goal and aim to achieve.”

Among those attending the event, which took place at The Hub in City College, were the city’s mayor Cllr Cathie McEwing, SouthamptonTest MP Alan Whitehead, and city councillor Satvir Kaur.

Keynote speakers included Rex Obano, a playwright who has written for Radio 4 and Cbeebies show Rastamouse.

The launch kick-started the month with various performances including one by gospel group Chosen Generation.

Throughout October there will be a variety of events ranging from art exhibitions to rap concerts.

English rapper, Akala will be performing at The Social in Southampton later this month.

The younger brother of rapper/vocalist Ms. Dynamite has gained popularity for not only his musical abilities but for speaking against racial injustice.

Akala said: “I hate to say it, but this country is not comfortable with the idea of young, intelligent black people – especially men.

“They’re treated as the exception to the rule.

"It’s the same with chavs – I have plenty of white, working-class friends from east London who read Max Planck and Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein.

“But their story is never going to be told because they’re not supposed to be like that.”

Don John, the previous organiser of Black History Month, will be showcasing his art exhibition ‘Humans of Southampton’ which will depict life at Sir Matthews James Building.

Femi Temowo, an award-winning Nigerian-born British jazz guitarist, musical director, and producer will be performing at Engine Room alongside the UK based ensemble, The Engines Orchestra.

Lastly, the King of the Swingers, Geno Washington will be performing at The Concorde Club. Geno has released five albums with the Ram Jam Band and eight solo albums. His evening promises to get you off your seat and onto the dancefloor.

With the rise of #BlackLivesMatter movement and documentation of police brutality in the United States, Black History Month aims to educate and encourage racial equality in Hampshire.

Black History Month was first celebrated in 1978 and was facilitated by the former Greater London Council – this is the twelfth such event hosted in Southampton.

Many of the events are free of charge and people from all walks of life are encouraged to come and celebrate black heritage.

Black History Month Southampton Events:

  • October 1-15: Humans of Southampton Photo Exhibition 

Sir James Matthews Building 157-187 Above Bar Street, Southampton, Hampshire,

  • October 9: 12pm -12:30 and 1pm – 1:30pm: Love Soul Choir 

WestQuay, Southampton 

  • October 11-12: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre: 

Mayflower Theatre, 22-26 Commercial Rd, Southampton 

  • October 17 – 22: The Shawshank Redemption 

Mayflower Theatre, 22-26 Commercial Rd, Southampton 

  • October 21: Akala 

21 Lower Banister Street, Southampton, 

  • October 21: The Whitney Houston Show 

The Concorde Club, Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh

  • October 22: Gentles Dub Club 

The Engine Rooms, West Quay, Harbour Parade, Southampton 

  • October 28: Gino Washington 

The Concorde Club, Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh, 

  • October 29: Femi Temowo Featuring Engines Orchestra 

Turner Sims Concert Hall, Salisbury Road, Southampton