Norwich High School for Girls Celebrates Black History Month

Posted on 19th October 2023

This October, we have been celebrating Black History Month, a time to learn about and celebrate Black history and culture. 

As part of the GDST, Norwich High School for Girls is ‘Undivided’ in our commitment to diversity, inclusion and real change. As well as embedding a culture of inclusivity throughout school life, we also mark or celebrate events and significant dates throughout the year, as a valuable way to spotlight particular aspects of our diversity and inclusion mission. This October, we have been celebrating Black History Month, a time to learn about and celebrate Black history and culture. 

This year, we themed our Norwich High Black History Month activities around music, celebrating the immense influence of black artists and musicians on our cultural landscape.

Year 12 student Hannah, who is part of the student diversity and inclusion group, Change Makers, explains how they picked the theme:

We chose to have music as a central focus because, through powerful lyricism and melodies, music can inspire social change and advocate for equality, ultimately surging forward the ongoing fight for equality.”

Hannah, Year 12 student at Norwich High Sixth Form

Mr Matt Bull, our staff Diversity and Inclusion lead, expands:

“Blues music originated in the Deep South of the United States of America in the mid 19th Century by African-Americans and from that emerged bluegrass, country and jazz. A century later, reggae music originated from Jamaica and was itself strongly influenced by American jazz, rhythm and blues, and more directly from ska and rocksteady. Around the same time, soul music was hitting the airwaves and would go on to set a pathway for the emergence of rock music.”

“We owe an immeasurable amount to Black artists and musicians, not only for their creations and interpretations of profoundly important genres, but for their demonstration of how music can be used to harness love, rebellion, pain and happiness. From Nina Simone to Stormzy, from Louis Armstrong to Aretha Franklin, we will be sharing lots of amazing Black artists with students and staff, and taking a moment to recognise the impact that Black individuals and communities have had in shaping our culture.”

Throughout October, staff and students have been sharing their favourite Black artists, covering a huge variety of genres and eras, with teachers and students sending out videos explaining why they’ve chosen their songs.

One such video was recorded and shared by Anusha in Year 12 on the impact of Kendrick Lamar’s song Alright. Breaking down the lyrics, she elaborated on the themes brought up in Lamar’s song, including wealth inequality, exposure to violence and discrimination and it’s aim to provide hope and solidarity. Anusha and Hannah are just two of our dedicated and brilliant Undivided Ambassadors who have been recognised for their efforts and impact on improving inclusion and equity in our school, not just for Black History Month, but always.

Watch Anusha’s video

Hannah chose to write about the influence of Tupac and his song ‘Keep Ya Head Up’. She explains: “’Focusing on music during Black History Month is a powerful way to celebrate and recognise the immense contributions of Black artists throughout history. I chose to write my article on Tupac’s song ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ because it is a powerful feminist anthem that addresses the importance of resilience, self-respect and empowerment in the Black community.”

It has been brilliant to celebrate so many different artists and songs throughout October. We hope students and staff alike have been inspired to discover new artists and learn more about the impact and significance of the musical artists they love.