Black History Month

October is Black History Month. Don’t get me started about South Asian Heritage Month (July/August, for those that need to know). Of course, it’s far from ideal. It’s sad that even today, there’s a need for such a thing.

But in a world that’s overstuffed with media, all clamouring for attention, if this is to be a focus on the contribution that Blacks have made to world history, in shaping Britain, in helping win world wars, platforming and then rebuilding the country, then so be it. If it galvanises companies and corporations, if it channels money into programmes and books about the subject, that has to be a good thing.

It’s so important that the next generation have people they can look up to and in every walk of life. Be it mathematicians, philosophers, soldiers, pilots, actors, singers, writers and the rest. There’s nothing more powerful than a movie about a trailblazing heroic figure, overcoming adversity and triumphing. So, why can’t that story be of a Malaysian, a Brazilian? If the story is extraordinary, is brilliant, then why not tell it? We won’t ever know if there’s an audience for it until we start telling those stories, publicising them properly and putting them out there.

It’s a truism that no one knows anything in this business. But the longer we keep knocking on the doors of organisations with their own agendas, the longer the wait will be before we reach any kind of parity. I for one have absolutely no interest in watching a Black version of Anne Boleyn. What’s the point? Just because they can?

There are myriad stories of immigrants that came here by boat, by plane, who struggled but made a life of it, despite ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ signs. Despite segregation in pubs, in jobs. Who fought and died in the wars.

Indian soldiers were awarded 30 of the 182 Victoria Crosses awarded in the Second World War. That’s a massive proportion, even in spite of the racism. Tell those stories.