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Black History Month at Gulbenkian Arts Centre

24 Sep 2021

Gulbenkian has a fantastic programme of events lined up for Black History Month this year including performances, films screenings and more!

Kicking off our Black History Month events, legendary reggae poet and social activist Linton Kwesi Johnson will perform at Gulbenkian Arts Centre on Friday 24th September.

The legendary reggae poet and social activist was born in Jamaica before moving to London. He was a member of the Black Panthers and the poetry editor of political magazine Race Today, using the platform to introduce important ideas and new voices to the British public, including Michael Smith and Oku Onuora. His influential and radical voice made him the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series. Johnson’s first album, Dread Beat An Blood was released in 1978, and since then he has released 14 more albums made with long-time collaborator, dub producer Dennis Bovell. He has been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981, bringing new artists to the attention of wider audiences.

Gulbenkian is also excited to announce that University of Kent alumni from School of Arts, Taylor Sonko – Garvey will be opening for LKJ. She developed her performance poetry studying Popular Performance in her second year.  Tickets £15 (Concessions available).

Screening in our cinema, Respect is the new film from Liesl Tommy following the remarkable true story of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in a church choir to international superstardom. Starring Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, and Mary J. Blige, this is one musical sensation not to miss! Screening from Friday 8th October at Gulbenkian Arts Centre. Tickets £8.95 (Concessions available).

See British cult classic Babylon is a film that captures the trials and tribulations of young black youths in 80s London with vivid cinematography, a powerful message and an incredible soundtrack. See it on Friday 29th October.  The film screening will be followed by a Q&A with film cast member Beverley Woodhams, and a DJ set in the café from 9.30pm. Tickets £8.95 (Concessions available).

In 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a watershed moment to horror subverting the genre’s long record of offensive racial tropes, and four years on its legacy can be seen across film and tv.  Catch the update of the classic 1990s film that has become the latest black horror hit, Candyman on Tuesday 2nd November.  This new take, produced by Jordan Peele and directed by rising star Nia DaCosta, gives the franchise a significant overhaul making Candyman is a brilliant horror that addresses issues such as racial injustice and gentrification. Tickets £8.95 (Concessions available).

Hear the live performance of music from original score to the award winning documentary The Jazz Ambassadors composed by Michael J McEvoy (Finding Your Feet) and performed by an ensemble of leading UK jazz musicians on Sunday 7th November.  The Jazz Ambassadors tells the extraordinary story of America’s plan to win hearts around the world and counter the Cold War with the USSR in 1956 with the help of America’s most influential jazz artists. Over a period of ten years, performers including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Dave Brubeck, along with their racially-integrated bands, travelled the globe to perform as cultural ambassadors and became ‘America’s coolest weapon in The Cold War’. Tickets £15


ART31 takes its name from Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, which states that ‘Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities’.

ART31 is a vision created with, by, and for young people in Kent, championing the belief that all children and young people have an entitlement to access high quality arts and culture, to empower them to achieve their creative potential, and to genuinely engage young people as equal partners in any decision making that affects them.

The ART31 Youth Board is made up of young people from across Kent aged 13-25 who steer its governance, and influence policy and practice across the county and beyond, challenging the creative sector to examine existing ways of working and integrate young people into the core of their practice.

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