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Black History Month Interview: Friends of BOXPARK

— 5 Oct 2021, 14:16 by Izzy Grant


Black History Month is here and although at BOXPARK we champion Black culture, communities and the achievements all-year round, we want to put a spotlight on some of the great people we work with for our events across Shoreditch, Wembley and Croydon so we’ve asked them three questions, see what they had to say below. 

DLT Brunch

Bringing you good food, good music and good vibes.

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

For our team, Black History Month is a time of reverence and a reminder of what's still to dismantle, whilst celebrating the works of great black voices, inventors and minds. 

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

It would be hard to say there has been any change. Although, we have observed an increase in awareness around difficulties that affect black people, whereas before recent events these issues were heavily overlooked and not acknowledged. In many instances, this awareness has been momentary but hopefully with time, continued consistency in making equality a priority and works to eradicate racism, we will know how significant recent events and heightened awareness will have changed things in regards to social equality.

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

1FIGURES by Chris Kutoya is our favourite brand, you’re bound to catch at least one of us wearing it. What we appreciate is the dedication to focused creativity and what it produces.

SILVASTONE

Renowned Croydon-based African artist/producer/songwriter and co-founder and resident host of Boxpark’s bi-monthly Afrobeats event, AFROBOX.

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

I view Black History Month as a time to reflect  back at what we have achieved to date and use the other eleven months of the year to work on and look forward to what we want to achieve. 

Black History Month for me is a reminder that we are Kings and Queens. We do not only come from a history of overcoming struggles but we also come from royalty, knowledge and power. The month is for us to celebrate these achievements, whilst the rest of the year is to live for Black Future and create new history.

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

I do feel there have been a few significant changes in social equality. However, we still have a very long way to go. 

I believe the recent pandemic lockdown gave the majority of us an opportunity to give time and really pay attention to the many injustices that black people face in the west. The near silence of the world during that time allowed cries of the oppressed to be heard and the uprising events to come to the forefront worldwide. I think this is what allowed new changes to happen and I pray more changes will continue for the sake of equality for all. 

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

In addition to AFROBOX I would love to highlight our event sponsor, White Hut Studios - a fully black-owned professional recording studio based in Croydon. I also want to shout out Ernest Simons - an extremely talented black photographer who has been doing great work. In addition we would of course love to shout-out my boy Swiss who founded the Black Pound Day movement. Definitely check them all out.

And big shout out to the many great black entrepreneurs, scholars, authors, inventors, philanthropists, etc etc. I think with more acknowledgment and encouragement to them will breed more inspiration to our nations.

For more info on SILVASTONE and his music checkout www.silvastonemusic.com

RONNIE LOKO

Musician and BOXPARK Croydon Resident DJ at LOKOMOTIVE

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you? 

I view Black History Month as simply one month to celebrate black history. There are several places people should pop down to visit during BHM and also all year round to educate themselves on black history such as the Black Cultural Archives, Africa Centre, Yaa Centre and Tabernacle to name a few.

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place? 

Not any significant change but I do feel that social media usage, especially during lockdown has allowed for more voices and opinions on recent events to bring to light the social inequalities felt across many in the world. 

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure! 

Big up to Jamii - the home of Black British creators and makers.

Sheila Knowles

Founder of BBE Podcast Agency and Studio and venue curator for the 90s Baby Show podcast

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

Black History Month is a very special month to me because it’s really a chance to amplify the voices, talent, creativity, history and experiences of Black British people. And I don’t mean the stereotypical representations of Black British/African/Caribbean people: I mean real authentic narratives aside from the misconceptions of what you see/hear in the media. As the founding director of BBE Podcast Agency and podcast Studio, I’ve always been very conscious of working with Black British podcasters/influencers at my live events because we all have shared experiences that mainstream media doesn’t bother to explore. And I created these events to act as a safe space to have healthy discussion about what happens in our communities, the world at large, pop culture etc. while having fun of course. 

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

To be very honest, it would be wrong to say that nothing has changed. Some industries and companies are more conscious of social & financial equality and in particular bridging the gap with financial equity for Black British people/creatives which has been great to witness. The only issue I foresee is the longevity of these initiatives. It’s one thing to support but this support needs to be a long-term commitment for us as a community to say ‘yes. The changes worked’. Showing support for only 1 year or only when another tragic incident happens isn’t enough. But we’re taking steps in the right direction… 

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

Hahaha. I’m going to be super biased and say that my business: BBE Podcast Agency & podcast studio is my favourite Black owned brand. Curating live podcast/discussion events where people Black, White, Asian etc. can see, learn and interact with their favourite podcasters/influencers live in the flesh feels me with so much joy. Having worked with the likes of Fred & Temi of the 90s Baby Show podcast, Kelechi Okafor, Toni Tone over the past couple of years and other prominent podcasters/influencers in London, it’s been great to see that Londoners love discussion style events. We’re not just people who like dancing/raving, we’re multi-faceted people who love different styles of entertainment. I also think that the evolution of my business from live podcast events into an actual podcast agency dedicated to helping people to create, grow and record their podcasts in my recording studio in Hackney has been an incredible journey to witness. It's the growth for me and it really is a dream come true.…..

Sam Agard aka Professor Sam Blue

Drummer & Bateria Director that loves to make the music groove. GROOVE KITCHEN is a fan favourite at BOXPARK Croydon.

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

I love the fact that there is an opportunity to nationally acknowledge that there is another perspective of history that is not taught in regular English history. Also a reminder that there is a history of hardships but also greatness that is not always celebrated.

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

I've noticed a change in that there is more black representation on television. But in everyday life there has been short term change and now there are other agendas that have taken precedent. It begs the question does there need to be daily uprisings to see continued change?

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

Grae Matta Foundation - Its vision is for every individual in higher education and the workplace to have access to appropriate mental health support the moment they need it.  They aim to create enforceable mental health standards utilising our own and existing government frameworks to ensure Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and all workplaces provide guidance and access to the appropriate support service when an individual needs it.  It's an amazing charity and it is shining a light on lack of enforceable mental health policy and proactively creating change.  Being set up before mindfulness was a "buzz word'' by Dr Ferron Gray who saw that there was a gap in supporting those in need especially in environments of potentially high stress.  Through personal experience, Ferron knows the detrimental impact this has on individuals and families, with the risk being suicide.

 

Rachael Anson

DJ and founder of VIBES CAN'T DONE, a regular event at BOXPARK Croydon

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

Black History month is fantastic for young kids to learn about our history because as we know, it isn’t common knowledge to our school curriculum or society. I still believe we should acquire more knowledge of our history because we are much greater than what often gets spoken about or taught.

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

Slow progress is better than no progress. A lot still needs to be done but I believe that after the recent events a flame was sparked in many of us, myself included. Social media has allowed people to see the reality of what’s really happening and I guess continues to bring light to the situation. Whether that’s through media campaigns and movements or celebrities using their positions to educate the masses, our voices have become louder but our marathon continues.

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

I have an endless list of black owned businesses and figures I support and admire. Big shoutout to Swiss (So Solid Crew) who runs Black Pound Day (bdpofficial on Instagram). As a community the first thing we need to do is build our economy and what he is doing is bringing so much awareness to that, bless up king.

Henrie Kwushue

Presenter • DJ • Content Creator

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

Black history month is a month where we are supposed to celebrate Black people and their achievements from the beginning of time. However, black history is meant to be celebrated every day and kind of is for me.

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

I think instead of “Equality“ I would say that there has definitely been more visibility for black people in the world. From what we go through, to the things that we influence.

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

I’m going to do a couple because there are some great people in the world so number one is facing the news she is hilarious. Second is SavyJaida MUA incredible makeup artist. Kamarl Grant up and coming footballer who’s doing amazing things! Ella Bonai Gordon & Steph Duncan-Bosu my managers. Love to see it. 

SHE JAY

DJ • Radio Presenter • Podcaster • Promoter

Tell us how you view Black History Month? What does it mean to you?

Before last year, Black History Month wasn't very impactful in my eyes as it focused on events from decades back whereas I feel this year may give more insight into the now, due to the events and protests that happened during 2020. 

Do you think there has been any change in social equality since the recent uprising and events that took place?

There has been awareness yes but in terms of change, there is a lot of work to do still. The recent online backlash towards the black players of the England football team would be a prime example of the work to be done.

Shout out your favourite Black-owned brand or public figure!

My favourite black owned brand would be the artist Exhibit 69 (@exhibit69). He is an extremely talented pop artist from South London with a catalogue of artwork ranging from leather to motorbikes to canvas pieces! All the work has a story behind it which I find very relatable and above all beautiful to see.

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