After a disappointing (and relatively heatless) summer that never really took off, it’s safe to say that 2021 has flown by. Yes, despite the social media hype generated by the “we outside” enthusiasts, we have universally found ourselves overlooked by summer and are now safely situated in September. That’s right – September, although the widespread engagement and public discourse following Channel 4’s Black to Front programming last week Friday 10 September might have had you refreshing your calendar apps to double check we hadn’t skipped September and unwillingly fast-tracked from summer to October.
That’s because the network’s Black to Front Project – a full day of scheduling exclusively dedicated to broadcasting programming featuring Black talent, writers, contributors, and programme-makers – is an initiative that us as Black Brits are more used to seeing confined within the boundaries of the UK’s October Black History month. The one month where British society reluctantly allows the subject of Black British under-representation and recognition of Black contribution to British society to momentarily infiltrate the mainstream discourse outside of our local communities.
Although critiques noting that one day of representation is insufficient to combat systemic and historic Black underrepresentation across the media, and/or frustrations regarding the absence of notable Black content creators are all valid, for Channel 4 to centre showcasing the creativity of Black Britons outside of Black History month is an important and rare acknowledgement from the mainstream that our place in society is worth recognition beyond the 31st October of each year.