Celebrating UK Black History Month
With the support of Amazon’s Black Employee Network (BEN), Amazon is celebrating Black History Month this October with a host of activities available to customers and employees alike – including a brand new Alexa quiz and specially curated content from Audible, Prime Video and AmazonMusic.
Black History Month is more important than ever before, aiming to promote knowledge of Black history, culture and heritage, and to share stories about positive contributions of Black people to British society.
Rebecca Wijeyesinghe, Amazon BEN UK board member, explains why: “Black lives always mattered. But there’s no denying that the tremendous increase in exposure and traction gained by the movement this year has been a watershed moment for people around the world.”
“I’ve been heartened by the level of engagement and commitment to change and equality, shown by many organisations and people around me. I’m particularly proud of the way Amazon has responded."
Rebecca adds: “It’s vital that we celebrate Black History Month in order to acknowledge and recognise the often-overlooked achievements of Black people and communities in this country. With a huge range of activities open to customers and employees, we hope to motivate everybody to advocate for change.”
Here’s a taster of what’s happening this month and how you can get involved.
Test and build your knowledge with Alexa
Alexa users will be able to test their knowledge with a brand-new quiz on Black history.
To launch the quiz, simply say “Alexa, open the Black History Month quiz”, or say, “Alexa, quiz me on Black History”.
Questions from the quiz include:
- Who wrote bestselling novel, “White Teeth”?
- Who was the first Black, female, Labour politician to be elected to Parliament in 1987?
- In what year did Empire Windrush arrive at Tilbury Docks?
Throughout October, Alexa users can also access all-new daily facts about Black History Month with a few simple utterances, such as:
- “Alexa, what is the fact of the day?”
- “Alexa, give me the fact of the day!”
Seek out Black history with Audible
Black History Month is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the literary achievements of classic and contemporary British authors alike.
That’s why Audible has teamed up with playwright, author and journalist Bonnie Greer to curate a bespoke collection of recommended texts from Black authors.
Audible members can also listen to In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer for free, a brand new eight-part podcast series which “brings you face-to-face with the people you never knew existed.”
“Black History Month is not just about history,” she explains. “It's about how history creates the now. Let's not erase or try to hide our history, let's talk about it. All of it: the good; the bad; the ambiguous; the transcendent.”
Enjoy curated movies and TV with Prime Video
Throughout Black History Month, Prime Video customers will be able to enjoy a curated ‘Black History Month’ selection of movies and TV shows grouped on a ‘Black History Month’ carousel when browsing Prime Video on the app on a variety of devices including mobiles, tablets, smart TVs and Fire TV.
The selection will help customers discover movies and TV shows starring and made by Black artists, actors, writers and directors from the UK and around the world.
Highlights include the critically-acclaimed Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas and starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith; this summer’s talked-about Amazon Exclusive Series Little Fires Everywhere, based on the novel by Celeste Ng, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington; and Barry Jenkin’s award-winning If Beale Street Could Talk starring Kiki Layne and Stephan James. See www.amazon.co.uk/primevideo for more.
Spotlighting contemporary Black music
Amazon Music will be celebrating Black History Month in a number of ways, from a newly curated “Black British Voices” playlist, highlighting the artists who have been instrumental in shaping the sound of contemporary Black music in the UK, to a special socially distanced live show on Twitch.
The Amazon Music “+44” Black History Month show, streamed live on Amazon Music’s UK Twitch channel, will see a small socially distanced panel of guests come together to discuss Black History Month.
The show will be a part of “+44”, Amazon Music’s playlist and brand dedicated to representing the sound of the UK by spotlighting the best rap, R&B, grime, drill and afrobeat artists. As well as being a playlist featuring the artists of today and tomorrow, “+44” exists as a space to celebrate and amplify these music genres, the artists behind the music, and the culture that inspires them. Check out more original content from “+44” on Instagram.
Dive into book recommendations
Amazon Books has curated a list of books on Black British history, highlighting key figures and moments over centuries of British life: our society, culture and economy.
Readers will discover the impact of Black Britons as far back as Roman times, through the Tudor period, and the Great War; focus in on the experiences of Black women; and learn more about recent British history, including the injustices that led to the Windrush scandal of 2018. For those keen to dive deeper into the tensions in the US after the events of 2020, there is also a selection of titles on US Black history.
Read together with our anti-racism reading list, created in collaboration with Amazon’s Black Employee Network, we can look forwards with a deeper understanding of the past.
Support your favourite charity with AmazonSmile - without paying a penny more
AmazonSmile allows you to support a charity of your choice when you shop on Amazon. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.co.uk on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping App for iOS and Android phones. When you shop AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.co.uk, with the added bonus that AmazonSmile will donate a portion of the purchase price to your selected charity.
It is a simple and automatic way to have a positive social impact and generate donations to charitable organisations that mean something to you, without it costing you, or the charity you choose to support, a penny.To recognise Black History Month, three new charities are listed as our Smile spotlight charities:
- The Black Heart Foundation has a long history of supporting initiatives which create and improve educational access, learning, aspiration and achievement for underprivileged children around the world.
- Sickle Cell Society is the UK’s only national charity to support people living with sickle cell, helping to improve their overall quality of life.
- Youth Link Networks uses sustainable initiatives to empower young people for the relief of poverty or financial hardship anywhere in the world.
‘Liming’ with Norman Jay
Amazon's BEN members will also have a special opportunity to ‘lime’ with legendary radio, club and sound system DJ Norman Jay MBE, in a one-off, Amazon employee exclusive, virtual Q&A session. For the uninitiated, ‘liming’, is Caribbean slang for chilling out and relaxing with friends. As a stalwart of the Notting Hill Carnival, Jay will share the history of carnival, his remarkable career in music and his experiences of Black history in the UK.
Find out more about Diversity at Amazon.