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Black History Month takes centre stage in Dudley

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Internationally renowned writer and New York Times bestselling author Abi Daré took centre stage at Dudley Council’s Black History Month celebration earlier this week.

October is Black History Month in the UK and this year's theme is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words.’ Dudley’s event was titled ‘Take Centre Stage’ and Daré was one of several accomplished artists invited to perform at the event.

Keynote speaker Abi Daré

Keynote speaker Abi Daré

Daré, from Nigeria, studied law at Wolverhampton University before going onto to gain an MSc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University as well as an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. Her debut novel, The Girl With the Louding Voice tells the story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself.

The sell-out event also featured a performance by Dreadlock Alien, former Poet Laureate for Birmingham. Dreadlock Alien performed several pieces, including a free-style poem tailored to Dudley’s audience.

The 250-strong crowd also enjoyed a powerful musical performance by Drums Aloud, showcasing traditional African drumming from Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast and Senegal and other countries of West Africa.

The audience, which included residents, students, council employees, the Mayor of Dudley and her consort, and Dudley Council’s chief executive Kevin O’Keefe also heard from Joanne Prescott, who works in the access and prevention team at Dudley Council and who was one of the first Black branch secretaries for Unison in Dudley.

The evening concluded with a performance by Tanisha Chambers, who sang ‘How Great Thou Art’, ‘At Last’ and ‘You’ve Got a Friend.’ A highlights video of the event can be found on the council’s YouTube channel https://youtu.be/edpQfBEV74g

The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Sue Greenaway said:

This event was a true celebration and education. Having Abi Daré as our keynote speaker was a real gift, we’re so glad she found time in her busy schedule to come to Dudley to talk about her work and her inspiration.
The audience really enjoyed the humorous yet perceptive poetry of Dreadlock Alien, the rhythmic music of Drums aloud and Tanisha Chambers’ soulful singing. I’m really grateful to Joanne too for sharing her story with us and showing what can be achieved.
This was a great event and it allows us to continue to build on our work to make Dudley Council a diverse, equitable, and equal opportunity organisation.

The event was the highlight of the authority’s Black History Month celebrations and built on the success of last year’s ‘Proud to be’ sofa tour which encouraged people to make a statement of their pride to camera.

The council’s equality strategy was agreed by cabinet in March 2022. The strategy sets out four key themes that are focused on how the council approaches its equality commitments. Central to this work are the challenges that the council and the borough’s communities are facing both currently and in the future.

More information on Black History Month is available online.

 

 

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