Today for class we went to Brixton to see the Black Cultural Archives. I hadn’t made it out to Brixton before this so it was an interesting experience, it was definitely a hub for Caribbean and other BME groups. It was one of those times when I wasn’t entirely in the majority walking about as a lighter skinned person. The archives themselves were only recently housed at Windrush Square. The building was used starting in 2014 as our professor told us, considering how long their culture has been around it was a little striking that they didn’t have a space like such until that late. The archives talked about life in many forms. The exhibition started with the Black Georgians and their role as slaves and omission from British history, then went on to discuss how many blacks either joined or were sold into the armed forces, black solidarity, sports and so much more.
One question in particular was about how the ‘races’ and classes mixed. This specifically related to a piece talking about a young black woman born into high society and being a part of it as much as was possible, wearing the dresses, being a member of the family etc. I still wonder though what it was really like, were people accepting or was it surface level politeness not unlike what we have here and now on some occasions? Another question I found interesting was a former slave taught to box by his father while living on a plantation and how did sport success effect social change if at all. It didn’t seem to really bring any change in the long run but perhaps in the more recent future it has–recent being a relative term, looking back to Jackie Robinson for example.
Overall the archives were really quite interesting and unfortunately smaller than I was anticipating. The cafe attached to it had a menu which the Groundnut men designed; this was pertinent since we were to have them as guest speakers once we got back to the classroom.
Before our 1pm start time we had built in lunch time which was rather nice. Andrew, Eli and I went to the area by our classroom and decided on eating at Mabel’s Tavern nearby. I got a cider and the steak burger with chips. The burger was really good, it came with the super yummy Apple Wood cheese which I always get if I can, its delicious! We were running short on time so we got the fries to go and ran off to class about 10 minutes after getting our food, oops.
The discussion leaders who went today talked about race and had some really interesting videos that they played for us. One being the young lady who played Rue in Hunger games talking about cultural appropriation of Black culture by celebrities, another was Jenna Marbles ‘Dear Black People’, and the by Storey the author of our textbook. They brought up good points and the discussion got heated at some points. Overall though it was pretty productive and enlightening or rather the cherry on top putting it all together.
The next portion of class was two of the Groundnut members talking to us about their cook book and what they’re doing. Yemi and Jacob were the two who made it today, their third member is off doing performances of his music, pretty cool if you ask me. They explained how they met and how they got the idea for their book. Having met in college they were really centered around community and friendship and what better way to express those ideals than to cook for one another? That expanded to pop up suppers and their passion for their food, cooking and community took off from there culminating at first in their cook book. They’ve still got great things coming so no finale there yet. It was inspiring to hear about them talk about how they brought their culture’s food to the UK and then soon to the US when their book will be launched over summer. Perhaps I may need to check it out, I’ve not every really had much African influenced food before and I’m game to try most all foods out there. Well that’s really about all that happened today, a lot in so little of a time period. Until tomorrow!