Welcome to Black History Month 2021.  This year we are delighted to present a multifaceted programme of exhibitions, discussions, films, workshops and performances as we return working across venues in Leicester.  This year coincides with a number of anniversaries for the African and African Caribbean Diaspora; 230 years since the start of the Haitian Revolution, 95 years since the first Negro History Week in the USA, 50 years since the invention of the Blaxploitation genre.

With this cinematic milestones in mind, there are opportunities to watch these films once again on the big screen with screenings of pivotal films from the Blaxploitation era at Phoenix including Shaft, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones and Blacula.  The films have been hugely influential and were some of the first to centralise Black protagonists.  There is also chance for conversation around Black British film and to pay tribute to pioneering filmmaker Menelik Shabazz and his film Burning An Illusion, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary.

This year there are several exhibitions from AfroManifesto sharing new work by emerging artists who have been supported by Serendipity’s Launchpad programme to Community Curators Exhibition: Black Lives Matter Too! and a showcase of new acquisitions at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.  There is the return of live performances from a celebration of music with RUSH – A Joyous Jamaican Journey at the De Montfort Hall and a performance by lover rock star Carroll Thompson at 2Funky Music Cafe through to a staged reading at Curve.  This is just a sample of what is on offer throughout October.

For those looking for further reading and learning, Serendipity will be publishing the second edition of BlackInk, a magazine for Black History Month and beyond packed with articles, reflections and interviews exploring topics from the history of Black British dance through to reflections of Black-led activism.  There are opportunities to support Black visual artists with original prints on sale.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to Black History Month Leicester 2021.  I hope you enjoy this year’s programme.  Whether it is at home or in venues, Black History Month is an invitation to participate and support projects led by the African and African Caribbean community in Leicester.

Pawlet Brookes

CEO and Artistic Director





Black History Month provides an opportunity for everyone to reflect, learn and celebrate what makes Leicester such a rich, diverse, and vibrant city.

Events over the last two years have brought a sharp focus to how important Black History Month is to our communities, particularly as we all continue to root out inequality and to act against prejudice and discrimination in all forms.

October is a chance to highlight the fantastic work many of the organisers continue throughout the year, as artists and educators.  I hope that you will engage with activities throughout Black History Month, but also continue to explore the vast range of opportunities available year-round as we build new partnerships and collaborations between Leicester’s communities and work together to shape the future of our city.

It is wonderful to see that as venues reopen, we will have more opportunities to safely gather in person once more, alongside engaging in other ways from online events to new publications.  My thanks go to Serendipity for coordinating this year’s programme and to all the event organisers, artists, volunteers and many others who have contributed.

Peter Soulsby

City Mayor