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Liverpool Blackfest aims to educate, entertain and inspire

Liverpool’s BlackFest returns for a third annual celebration and showcase of Black arts and culture.

This year’s festival, which runs from September 21-27, will feature events both online and at physical venues in the city.

The programme includes music, film, performance, poetry, spoken word and panel discussions which together aim to educate, empower and improve equality in the arts scene.

BlackFest opens on Monday, September 21 with an online discussion about prison systems and racial profiling.

Locks, run in partnership with the Unity Theatre, will feature input from Ohio Death Row prisoner Keith LaMar who will be sharing his story and experiences of life in prison, explaining how he is defending his innocence of charges which have seen him under sentence of death for 25 years and sharing extracts from his book Condemned.

It will also include Ashleigh Nugent, writer, rapper and founder of RiseUpCIC; writer D Hunter and performer Tayo Aluko.

Other events include an online discussion on the role of grassroots Protest and Art Practice and a talk on the lack of diversity in the publishing industry, notably among child authors, featuring Phina Oruche and Patrick Graham (both September 22), an online showcase of Spoken Word and Poetry (September 23) and on September 24, Black LGBTQi Matters in partnership with Homotopia and featuring a number of guest speakers.

Tabitha Jade

Saturday, September 26 sees the festival take over Constellations with a socially distanced music event featuring an electric line-up of Liverpool's finest Black artists and musicians including Tabitha Jade, Sub-Blue, LeeTz and Shak Omar, followed by DJ sets from DJ 2Kind and Hannah Lynch. The night will also include a discussion with the artists, hosted by Jennifer John and Yaw Owusu. And Diversity Dialogues, which closes the festival on September 27, brings together a panel of guests including Dr Leona Vaughn, Zita Holbourne, Ellis Eyo Thompson, historian Laurence Westgaph, Stephen Nze, the recently appointed chair for Liverpool’s Race Equality Taskforce Tracey Gore and Lord Mayor Councillor Anna Rothery to talk about the city’s slave trade history. BlackFest’s Artistic Director, Jubeda Khatun, said: “We’re really excited and proud to host BlackFest 2020. Despite the restrictions of Covid19, we’ve decided to go ahead with our events as we feel our message is even more important in light of Black Lives Matter and everything that’s happened this year.

“We have some incredible special guests and we’re looking forward to a thought provoking and inspiring week.”

BlackFest runs from September 21-27. More details on the programme from the website HERE

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