On 2nd Sept Black on the Square took place– a major new festival which showcased Black culture and creativity, UK talent and notables attended including Leee John Singer/Producer (main image with Sadiq Khan) Kanya King MOBO Founder, Margaret Busby, Publisher/Author, Dawn Butler MP, Poet/Writer Inua Ellams, Omar F. Okai. Co-Founder The Black British Theatre Awards and more.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said before the event: “Black on the Square is a fantastic addition to our capital’s cultural calendar.
“London’s Black communities are a vital part of the rich fabric of our city, and I am proud that this brand new, free event will showcase and champion the sheer breadth of the capital’s Black creative talent. Our diversity is our greatest strength, and we will celebrate it at every opportunity as we continue to build a better, more equitable and prosperous city for all.”
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Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE, Chair of the Community Advisory Group and Principal and CEO of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, said before the event “As Chair of the Mayor’s Community Advisory Board, it has been a privilege to work with esteemed colleagues on the Black on the Square event.
“This event will bring together Londoners from around our capital to celebrate the diversity of Black British cultures, in the heart of Trafalgar Square, through music, theatre, art, dance and conversation and by supporting local businesses.
“It is vital that we continue to create spaces for our communities to come together, to share our experiences, to learn from one another, to celebrate and to inspire. I hope this event goes some way towards continuing to create those spaces.”
- This inaugural event saw a breadth of London’s Black cultural and creative talent with art and fashion appearing alongside captivating musical performers encompassing jazz, spoken word, freestyle rap and soul
- The one-day, family-friendly festival included vendors representing a range of Black-owned businesses, including delicious food from the Caribbean and Africa, as well as artisan goods ranging from customised accessories to handmade homeware and gifts.
They was a number of stalls: including This is Book Love stall where author Karimah Campbell was one of the authors there with her much loved childrens book ABC Come and Skank with Me. More about This Is Book Love here: https://www.thisisbooklove.com/
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced details of the first ever Black on the Square in August 2023.
Black on the Square kicked off at 12:00 and welcoming Londoners and visitors of all ages, including families. To ensure the festivities were inclusive as possible, the event was free to attend and guests did not need a ticket to enter.
From food and photography by Jennie Baptiste to music and spoken word, Black on the Square showcased established acts alongside emerging talent.
The mainstage saw performances from rapper ENNY of ‘Peng Black Girls’ fame, alt rappers BXKS, and surprise special guests.
The vibrancy of London’s Black-led nightlife scene will also be demonstrated through DJ sets and live music hosted by club nights and music collectives, with performances from Touching Bass, Queer Bruk and more.
Visitors saw on display photography installation by renowned photographer Jenny Baptiste and a music showcase from Newham’s Art Beyond the Shell, plus a host of stalls from Black-owned businesses.
Fynn Studio, Creative Programmer, Black on the Square, said: “Black on the Square is a meaningful new addition to London’s event calendar. We’ve programmed an event that gives flowers to the new and the known, to pioneers of Black culture in London, and to talent with unique stories. These artists contribute to London’s reputation as a place where cultural movements are born; London’s creatives are the reason why this is the best city on Earth. Black on the Square is a moment to celebrate community, and include everyone in the cultural conversation of this city. “
Ringz Jennie Baptiste; 1993 Baptiste has photographed icons of the hip hop scene, from Jay Z, Mos Def and Roots Manuva to Ms Dynamite and Shortee Blitz Her 1993 project of a woman called Trisha recreating dancehall moves was part of the main art installation on Black On The Square. FOLLOW Jennie Baptiste here https://www.instagram.com/jenniebaptiste/?hl=en