Thoughts. Ramblings. Heavy-hipped. Mango-obsessed.

My History, (Not) My Month...

Ask a lot of UK-based working black artists - 'Black History Month' is when they earn a significantly bigger chunk of money than most other months. I'm no exception. And I'm grateful for the opportunity.

However, as each 'Black History Month' has come and gone, I've grown increasingly dis-satisfied with the whole event. I don't think there should be a Black History Month at all because I beleive it should be spread out throughout the year. I've worked in schools - and as much as I appreciate their initiative to have a yearly BHM event at all (and some are really good events, doing the best they can with the budget they have), sometimes it all seems very 'tick the boxes so we can be seen to have done something for BHM' to me. Superficial.

There are a lot of students who don't see their faces reflected in their history textbooks and when they do, it's invariably about how their ancestors were slaves (and if you're gonna teach a black student about slavery, why not also teach them how strong & stubborn their ancestors were to have survived it, to have held doggedly to language and customs and rituals - and that that strong defiant gene exists in them, the student).

I don't think it's enough to bring a black artist in for one day in October. I also think it's quite ironic and unfortunate that some artists encounter ignorance, stereotypes & racist undertones (subtle or otherwise) in the very schools & organisations that have invited them to their BHM event in the first place. It's happened to me a few times and that's a few times too many.

I commend all schools and organisations that recognise that black history (any history for that matter) is much more than a month, than slavery, and do their best to address it on a deeper level.

When One Door Closes...

I'm not the richest of people in monetary terms, so when someone cancels a paying gig on my arse, my skeletal wallet feels the pinch on a profoundly deep level. (All artists/freelancers/self-employed angels out there know what I'm talking about)

Which is what an organiser did this week. Cancelled a performance gig on me.

The thing is though, I wasn't upset or disappointed about it - not one bit - I genuinely wished him and the event a big success and got on with whatever I was doing at the time.

A knowing...

I knew something else would come along - I'm usually not that clear about things. But I knew.

And today, Friday...

I get a call to run a day of workshops in a girls' school. I'm really into empowerment (particularly with women) and using Creativity to enable that. So this is right up my street!

So I'm happy.

Lesson Learnt...

Maybe I should learn to go with my own intuition a bit more, though it's hard to do that when you're financially challenged. To tell the truth, I was never a 100% keen on doing the performance gig - and I wasn't totally sure why - foresight, maybe? - but I went ahead and agreed to do it - that'll teach me to go against the grain of my own sway.

The thing is:

a) how do you differentiate between intuition and fear?

b) you'll only ever know if your instincts were right after the fact (on hindsight), not before, so how do you learn to trust it?