During October, the Phoenix is celebrating Black History Month by showing a collection of films reflecting on the theme of Seen and Not Heard: Black Women.

The programme will primarily focus on the representation of women, as 2018 coincides with many important landmarks in black and female history, such as the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which granted the vote to women over the age of 30; the seventieth anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush, a troopship that carried over one thousand West Indians to the UK; the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of Britain’s first major black newspaper, The West Indian Gazette, by Claudia Jones; and the thirtieth anniversary of African activist group Sisters of the Long March touring the UK. Black History Month is as much about showcasing black history as it is black excellence, and the films on offer at the Phoenix are not to be missed.

The schedule is as follows:

GONE TOO FAR
Wed 3 Oct, 7 pm
GONE TOO FAR follows two estranged teenage brothers over the course of a single day as they meet for the first time, and struggle to accept each other for who they are. A day on the estate where one of the brother’s lives – filled with danger and excitement teaches both of them the values of family and self-respect.

 

WINNIE
Wed 10th Oct, 7pm

This film offers a more intimate and personal look at the other face of the African National Congress. Winnie is a nuanced portrait of a woman condemned for her radical role in the liberation of her South African people under apartheid.

 

HALLELUJAH ANYHOW
Wed 17th Oct, 7pm
When local pastor Adlyn meets and falls in love again with her old childhood sweetheart, she is forced to make an agonising choice between her faith, her family, and her heart. Written by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, the film explores tensions and conflicts behind the scenes and was a landmark film for British television in the early 1990s.

 

THE SOULS OF BLACK GIRLS and SORF HAIR
Wed 24th Oct, 7pm
The first film is an award-winning documentary that explores the nuances of self-image within black women while battling the unattainable beauty standards within the media, and features social commentary from activists alongside interviews with young black girls.
Following this is a short film that explores the natural-hair experience in Trinidad and Tobago, as people from all walks of life and with different hair textures reveal their stories and challenges.

MAMA AFRICA: MIRIAM MAKEBA
Wed 31st Oct, 7pm
Forced into exile in 1959, Miriam Makeba fought for the oppressed and most importantly for Black Africans, as a campaigner against apartheid. ‘Mama Africa’ remembers her appearance in the film Come Back, Africa and performances with Harry Belafonte; her 31-year exile from South Africa after the apartheid-era government revoked her passport; her anti-apartheid activism before the United Nations; her marriage to the black-power activist Stokely Carmichael; and her return to South Africa following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

However you choose to mark Black History Month, this selection of films is a good way to start. Tickets are available online at phoenix.org.uk

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