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[Iamthenublack] Symeon Brown of the Black Cultural Archives

[Iamthenublack] Symeon Brown of the Black Cultural Archives



Introduce yourself 

Greetings. My name is Symeon Brown. I fear that I am in part a jack-of-all trades, which is either a testament to having too many interests and ideas or not enough discipline to specialize in one. I hope it is more the former and less the latter. I do not really know where to begin with the question ‘what do you do’ so rather than forwarding my resume of projects I will note one of my most important roles as an archivist and researcher at the Black Cultural Archives. To those unfamiliar, the BCA will become Britain’s first cultural and historical research centre dedicated to the Black British story in Britain when our new £4.5M building opens next year.


Favourite song

‘I left a good job in the city, working for the man every night and day, but I never lost a minute of sleep…big wheel keep on turning, proud Mary keep on burning and we rolling, rolling, rolling on a river’

– Proud Mary, Tina Turner


I’m inspired by

The story, particularly stories of the struggle. The following passage by China Achebe in Anthills of the Savannah changed my life.

‘The sounding of the battle-drum; the fierce waging of the war; and the telling of the story afterwards – each is important but if you ask me which takes the eagle-feather I will say boldly: the story…the story outlives the sound of the war drums and the fighters. It is the mark on the face that sets one people apart from their neighbours’.

I am inspired by stories.


My icons past/present

For the story CLR James, Len Garrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Race Today collective and also perhaps surprisingly, Blair (Tyrannical at times yes but nevertheless an outstanding orator and poet).


Thenublack philosophy/mantra 

“The story outlives the sound of the war drums and the fighters”


Check me out