BBC Black And British Season

Throughout November the BBC have been airing various programs on the black British experience,  as well as some black British history.

When I first saw the advertisement on Facebook I was pretty excited and interested to see what the BBC was going to show. I was a little sceptical, I thought the timing was a little random as Black History Month here in the UK is in the month of October, but it's better late then never I guess.

Throughout the Black and British Season there will different shows and talks about being black and British. I thought I'd share my thoughts on the shows I've watched already.

This was the first show that I watched. It was originally aired on BBCFour, but just watched it on BBCiPlayer.

I'm Jamaican but I haven't actually listened to much reggae, it wasn't something that was heavily played in my house. I don't know much about my black history in general and I also don't know much about my Jamaican history. I don't know what I expected from this program, I just thought it would be interesting to watch, plus Akala was in it so I knew it would be good.

This is amazing! I had no idea about the roots of reggae, I knew it was conscious music, but I didn't know just how conscious it really was. We all know or at least we all should know that we are all African, this program spoke about African slaves being brought to Jamaica and the Africans rebelled because they wanted to go back home and the origin of reggae came from these Africans wanting to return home. You get to learn about reggae, Bob Marley (obviously), the politics in Jamaica and so much more.

A collection of inspirational and talented black individuals talk about their experiences as a black and British person. I heard stories from some familiar faces, and some people I didn't know anything about. This program had me feeling all kinds of emotions, I laughed, I was shocked, I felt inspired and came close to tears at some points. Even though every black person is different, there's still a connection, we experienced similar things and we understood from a young age that we must work twice as hard as anybody else. It was weirdly comforting to hear that this isn't something only I am familiar with but it's also something a lot of us know. It's a really inspiring and emotional program, I'm excited to see the next few episodes.

This program was really interesting, because it looked at the statics and the reality of there ever being a black PM. I was aware that the educational system was bias and I guess you could say prejudice, this whole program just confirmed it. The program addressed education and financial situations amongst black and white families. I even got into a discussion on Facebook about this show because a woman said that race has nothing to do with this, if you work hard you can achieve anything. Which is something I agree with to a point, the program clearly states that even if a black person works hard there's still obstacles in the way that will lessen the chances of them achieving the same as a white person. From the time children are born into poverty or poor conditions they are already set up for failure because their opportunities are restricted. Is it impossible to have a black PM? Hell no, but it's definitely going to be hard and not in the next couple of years.

This program is SO important, the more I hear about mental health especially in the black community, the more I feel the need for these types of programs. More black people need to speak out about mental health.  Keith Dude speaks about his personal experience with mental health and also speaks to professionals and other people who suffer from a mental illness. Something I hear about a lot when mental health is brought up with black people, is the use of prayer as a cure or people just brush it off. Keith learns that black people are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness. It's a lot more than I thought, I knew it was an issue because it's not discussed enough, but this program really explained the importance of awareness and conversation on the topic of mental health.

David Olusoga travels through Britain to find the history of black people in Britain that has been forgotten. I'm not a huge fan of history in general because it doesn't normally apply to people who look like me, but black history, especially in Britain is interesting. Purel because black British history isn't something we learn about. When I was watching this program I felt like this was a bigger deal than the BBC realised,  the program looks at the history of black people in Britain and then places a plack where this discovery has been made. I was just thinking about our future children,  they will be going on trips to the museum and historical places, and now there's going to be places in Britain that confirms the presence of African Romans. This is big, this is representation at its finest, this makes me feel more included then I've ever felt. Well done BBC for this one, I'm glad that this is happening, there definitely needs to be more of this on a regular basis so it doesn't seem like a one off thing.

One of the programs I was less keen on, was this one. Although I do believe black people have to "change" to help end racism and racial stereotypes, I don't think some of the things Nesta McGregor brought up was the answer to improving the image and position of black people.  He mentioned that if someone thinks you are a drug dealer because of the way you dress, then you should stop dressing that way. I felt a bit like it was victim blaming but at the same time there's a time and a place for everything. You couldnt go into a professional setting dressed super casual, but when you're in your neighbourhood going about your business, why must you dress "smart" or less "street"?. This program discussed why the Black Lives Matter protest happened here in London and addressing some of the views black people have. The program was interesting but I just didn't enjoy it as much as the others, but I'd say give it a watch and see what you think about it.

There are more programs that will be aired. I'm interested to see the one about black nurses and also more of the 'Black is the New Black' episodes.

Have you seen any of these programs? What are your thoughts?

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