Black History Month
As October starts fleshing out, Norfolk Black History Month gets fully underway, with many events taking place, rolling towards a grand finale in the shape of Richard Blackwood, Sway, Bashy, Tinie Tempah and more playing at the Norwich Arts Centre on October 31st. Outline caught up with Amal Douglas, Chair of the Norfolk Black History Month Steering Group to ask him a little about the proceedings...
Last year you had Curtis Walker at the launch and Soweto Kinch at the Finale. This year you have rising reggae star Amberlique at the launch and top comedian Richard Blackwood at the finale. What's the attraction?
One thing is the challenge, a lot of performers have never played Norwich and they want the experience. The other thing is that Black History Month has a special place in the heart of many black performers as BHM events often gave them a very rare chance to get in front of a decent audience.
What about Richard Blackwood - does he do the BHM circuit around the country?
Not necessarily, he's pretty big stuff in that he had his own TV show and is a well know face that had gone mainstream and so was always in demand for the big shows, so it's quite a coup to get him here in Norwich
How did you manage to get him?
To be honest, the uncle of someone I work with is an agent so that helps and we started very early in the year looking for suitable and available acts.
Is he looking forward to it?
I'm sure he is and it will be interesting to see how he plays it.
What kind of audience is he expecting?
Well that's actually the thing that gets everybody. First of all I think they expect an all white audience and are surprised by the number of black faces in what ends up being quite a cosmopolitan crowd, then they think it might be a rural setting and find themselves in the middle of a busy, thriving and happening city, and on top of that it's less than two hours by train from London.
So often not what they expect?
No, but not to mention they see Norwich as a place full of Elephant Worshippers when they see that there's one on every corner!
What are you looking forward to most in BHM?
I'd like to see the reaction to the Black Film Festival which is going to all corners of the county as well as Cinema City. Not so much entertainment, but there are two black & afro hair-care workshops that are getting a lot of interest, but The Gentlemen of Motown looks good at the Playhouse on the 16th with the inaugural Walter Rodney lecture at the Garage on the same day, Macka B at the UEA on 23rd sounds like a good one and of course the finale at the Arts Centre on the 31st with SWAY and Richard Blackwood is going to be great again.