Promising second edition Black Achievement Month in the Netherlands

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A report from the Daily Herald. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

The second edition of the Black Achievement Month that starts at the end of this month with lots of events in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, promises to be even bigger and better than the previous one. The 2017 programme was announced at a press conference in Amsterdam on Friday.

The National Institute for the Slavery Past and its Legacy NiNsee and Project Leader John Leerdam managed to set up an impressive, widely-varied programme that includes music, dance, debate, film, art, literature, fashion, poetry, networking and theatre events at some 40 different venues in the three main cities.

Putting talented black people in the spotlight, creating a platform for achievers, and excellence, a revival of the black culture, initiating the black renaissance, expressing pride while making the Netherlands more inclusive – the Black Achievement Month stands for all these things.

The programme impresses from the first event on September 29 to the last event on October 29. The four-week programme will hit right off with theatre concert Malcolm X of a Flemish theatre company. The opening ceremony on October 1 titled Black Renaissance will feature musical performances by black artists and dance by the National Ballet.

The National Ballet is one of the big names that the organisers managed to secure for this Black Achievement Month. Other big names include the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam, the National Theatre in The Hague and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

“This second edition of the Black Achievement Month will be fantastic, again,” said NiNsee Director Antoin Deul. He expounded on the fact that the organisers last year purposely opted to call their event Black Achievement Month, and to not copy the concept Black History Month as in the United States and Great Britain.

“We find it important to highlight the positive aspects of our people. There is a lot of talent and we want to give them the opportunity to showcase that excellence. Together we want to make the story complete, claim our history, create a future together. I call it the revival of black culture, the black renaissance,” said Deul.

This year Rotterdam has joined the programme with several events, including the Modern Shakespeare masked ball and spoken word gala, the Black young achievers showcase and the Winti ball masque.

Rotterdam will also host the Afriqueer, a dance/theatre performance that focuses on sexual identity. This Black Achievement Month will dedicate attention to homosexuality and queerness. Several movies will be shown in Rotterdam as part of the black lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LHBTI) theme.

The majority of the events take place in Amsterdam and The Hague, some at top locations such as the NEMO Science Museum, the Amsterdam City Theatre Stadsschouwburg, the Amsterdam Museum, the Amsterdam Stopera, the Rijksmuseum, the EYE Film Museum, the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam and the National Theatre in The Hague at the Theatre on the Spui and the Royal Theatre.

One of the special guests will be 90-year-old Curaçao actress Rina Penso. A film about her life will be shown. “She is a very special woman and still very active,” said Leerdam. Young Dutch Caribbean talents will be able to showcase themselves during the Let Us Shine event in The Hague on October 28, organised by the Foundation Ocan and the Antillean Network Association VAN.

Highly talented, energetic architect Lyongo Juliana from Curaçao will be the keynote speaker at the family day in the NEMO Science Theatre on September 30. He will speak about his inspiration, his dedication and his work, while motivating children and their parents to make their dreams come true. Three local schools will be participating that day. The family day is popular, and has already been sold out, as have several other events including the Black Female Achievers.

The Caribbean youth literature day aims to inspire the youth with interactive and theatrical presentations by eight Caribbean authors of children’s books, a meet-and-greet with Caribbean and Dutch authors, and dance workshops.

The Black Achievement Month will be closed off with the Black Achievement Awards Gala where five extraordinary people will be honoured. The show will include music and dance performances, ending this special month in style.

Project Leader Leerdam: “The Black Achievement Month promises to again be a very exceptional and spectacular event, an inclusive programme for everyone – on all levels – national, international and local. We want to colour the Netherlands a bit more black.”

The first edition of the Black Achievement Month last year was a big success with 93 per cent of the tickets sold out and some 30,000 visitors. This year, with a more extensive programme and larger venues the event is expected to draw an even bigger crowd.

Leerdam made special mention of the five large sponsors: the Municipality Amsterdam, the Municipality The Hague, the Mondriaan Fonds, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, NiNsee and the VSB Fund. He also thanked the many contributing partners.

The complete programme can be downloaded via http://www.blackachievementmonth.nl.

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