Black Spring Zine
Black History Month & Beyond
Manchester Museum's Black History Month and Beyond programme aims to open up the museum as a platform for amplifying black voices and stories. We invited young people, community groups, creative practitioners and researchers to submit proposals for new programmes, projects or events that respond to Black History Month, from fashion to food, films to panel discussions, and poetry to blogs.
We’re excited to be working with four partners to support four amazing projects.
Black Spring Zine
Black Spring Zine is a Manchester-based music zine which centres the voices of people of colour within alternative and experimental music scenes. We created the zine as a response to shared experiences of structural racism within overwhelmingly white music scenes, experiences which have ranged from microaggressions to overtly racist behaviour. We wanted to create a space in which musicians and fans of colour felt free and safe to express themselves. We released our first issue in April, and it includes work by an incredibly talented group of musicians and music fans of colour, along with an interview with Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson, founder of Dweller Festival and Blog, which centres black artists within techno music. The work in the zine ranges from artwork, to poetry, to essays, and touches on subjects including coming of age whilst black within indie and punk scenes, music criticism and meditations on the ideas of belonging, identity and home.
Black Spring Zine x Black History Month & Beyond
As part of Black History Month & Beyond, Manchester Museum has given support to assist with the printing and design costs of Black Spring Zine. Issue 1 sold out less than 48 hours after it was released, with all profits going to the National Black Arts Alliance, a Manchester-based black-led arts charity, so we are thrilled to be able to support the printing production of the Zine.
Black Spring Zine now available to purchase in the Manchester Museum Shop.
Find out more from editors Claudia Kensani Saviotti and Marcus Clarke about this project to amplify the voices of musicians and fans of colour within alternative music spaces on Manchester Museum's hello future blog.
“Black Spring exists as an expression of hope for a more equal, more diverse and more exciting future. We are tired of monotonous hegemony existing unchallenged and stifling diverse voices. We are tired of being on the margins within spaces which are supposedly for the marginalised. We are hopeful for a future that is for us and by us.”
- Black Spring Zine
Performances at Manchester Museum
These performances by Otis Mensah and Algernon Cornelius are part of the Black Spring Zine x Black History Month & Beyond commission by Manchester Museum.
The films were made by Lissi Simpson
Otis Mensah is a writer and performing artist with an alternative take on Hip-Hop music and abstract poetry. Focusing on art as a means of documenting journeys of introspection, Otis’ work aims to demonstrate the personal and political power of vulnerable expression. Otis takes influence from the rhythmic and expressive freedom of Jazz and uses aesthetic language as an instrument to solo through themes of racial identity, masculinity and coming-of-age.
Building on earlier work and his tenure as Sheffield’s first Poet Laureate, Otis continues to release music independently with his lockdown project #OtisMensahExists, a series of new songs and animations exploring existential angst in the digital age. The first song from the project Breath Of Life was premiered on Worldwide FM and features Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands, followed by The Thinks making appearances on Bandcamp Weekly and BBC Radio 6 Music.
Throughout his career, Otis has performed at Glastonbury Music Festival, We Out Here Festival and Shambala Festival as well as opening for the likes of Benjamin Zephaniah, Arrested Development, The Sugarhill Gang, Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Killah Priest, Mahalia, Lowkey, Open Mike Eagle, Chali 2na and toured with the likes of KOTA the Friend and experimental Jazz-Rap legends Blu & Exile.
Algernon Cornelius is a rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Manchester (via Leeds) While a mainstay of both Leeds and Manchester’s DIY scenes, Algernon has played alongside Armand Hammer, Cakes Da Killa, Moor Mother, Shabazz Palaces, BbyMutha, The Bug, and Teebs, as well as performing at Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here Festival and produced for R.A.P. Ferreira and Pijn.
Having unleashed an arsenal of compilations, mixtapes, EPs, instrumental beat tapes, side projects and alter-alias albums over the years, the past 12 months has seen the release of 'Neither Gloaming Nor Argent: Both Before And After The Dark' - a compilation of rap singles, plus his "official" debut rap album 'The Miraculous Weapons of Clarkus_Dark'.
Algernon's style has been described as "ruthless and emotive" (Exposed Magazine). "Algernon Cornelius is one of the most interesting artists in Hip Hop right now" (Focus Hip Hop).