Our latest project launches today after a year of hard work! #BlackIcons is an FAD initiative and magazine celebrating the inspirational stories of 13 Black Icons from the British Jazz Age.
Thirty-seven young people from London’s inner-city boroughs have collaborated to produce a free new magazine, celebrating Black Icons of the British Jazz Age in the 1920s and 30s.
‘Black Icons’ magazine is produced by young people, for young people, and will be launched in celebration of Black History Month on Wednesday 5th October, followed by a reception at the House of Lords. The project aims to provide role models for young people trying to overcome socio-economic barriers, exploring an important area of history which is often overlooked.
Black Icons is funded by FAD and the Heritage Lottery Fund in collaboration with the Black Cultural Archives. The project sees iconic Black figures such as entertainer Rita Cann, boxer Len Johnson and broadcaster Una Marson brought to life, empowering Black youth and inspiring young people from all backgrounds with their shared heritage.
Angelica Ellis, one of the young volunteers involved, describes why it was so important for her to take part. “The stories normally told about Black history are very limited. The consequence is that young black people grow up with a loss of identity and sometimes we have negative beliefs about ourselves. I hope this project will inspire all young people and give them a sense of their own history and identity.”
This unique project encouraged those involved to conduct hands-on archive research with original source material. Volunteers also heard lectures from some of the UK’s most respected historians, such as Stephen Bourne, to inform their work. The young volunteers explored London’s rich archives at the BFI, the British Library and the National Jazz Archives, before designing and creating textiles inspired by traditional East African Kanga cloth, to celebrate their chosen Black Icons. These cloths were then modelled by the young people themselves, providing the images for the final magazine.
“The process provided learning opportunities for all students involved, increasing their skill set and employability by providing hands-on experience,” says FAD CEO Maria Alvarez. “We are also encouraging peer-to-peer learning, as the Black Icons magazine will be disseminated nation-wide to educate, inspire and empower young people across the country.”
Black Icons magazine launches today at the Knitting and Stitching Show and will be available throughout Black History Month from issuu.com, or you can request a free copy from firstname.lastname@example.org.