EmbRace takes over LSE Chill for a Black History Month special! To round up an incredible month of events, EmbRace, LSE’s BME staff network, will be curating a special LSE Chill Black History Month showcase. Join us for a relaxed hour of entertainment, including spoken word, poetry, singing, musicians and dancing.
Meet the performers
Ikenna Acholonu will be performing poetry. Ikenna is a Nigerian-American man who has lived in the UK for the past 3 years and who is passionate about the experiences of Black people all over the world. He has worked to increase opportunities and resources for Black and African students in higher education for the past decade and hopes to continue this throughout his career. His love of poetry and music stem from his own personal journey navigating race, sexuality, mental health, and identity overall. When he engages with art, it is an outlet and he hopes it serves as that for those he shares his art with. Ikenna works in Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa.
Rebecca Bernice Amissah is a singer, songwriter, actress, composer, musical director, choir leader and vocal coach. With over ten years experience in the music industry she has worked with many artists including Basement Jaxx, Omar MBE, Sona Jobarteh, Alexandra Burke and Marti Pellow. She has international vocal coaching experience working on a TV show called Mentor; Ghana's answer to X Factor. Rebecca has a talent for bringing the best out of people and has used this to propel her career in the world of film, music and education. She used her experience of singing in choirs to found her own; Gospel Essence, in 2010. Since then Rebecca has led the award-winning group to feature on the BBC's The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone and Sky One's Sing: Ultimate A Cappella, support the Grammy Award Winning Kirk Franklin in his London Show and perform at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. Setting the choir up with the help of The Prince's Trust led to the huge honour of singing the National Anthem and opening 'We are Most Amused and Amazed', Prince Charles' 70th birthday celebrations televised on ITV and filmed at the prestigious London Palladium. But it's not all about being on stage, Rebecca is also passionate about singing being embraced by her community and has set up workplace choirs to help with staff wellbeing in two local hospitals, NELFT Staff Choir and The Sound of PRIDE Choir. (NELFT and BHRUT Trusts). Rebecca is also a musical theatre performer and was last seen in Guys and Dolls playing General Cartwright. Rebecca's next endeavour is writing and producing her debut album by crowdfunding. Keep up to date with her progress and be part of this exciting journey by checking out her website.
Kojo Apeagyei will be performing spoken word. Kojo, can be described as an experimental writer who lives within the space between prose and poetry. Fusing combinations of philosophy, poetry, politics and lyrical potency into an esoteric concoction of critical self-analysis. Kojo has been nominated for Young People's Laureate for London, is an alum of Apples and Snakes 2017 Writers Room, and the 2018 Arvon writer’s retreat. Kojo formerly produced and hosted the monthly poetry night in Convent Gardens, Pen-Ting Poetry – with a sold out run of 12 shows. He has featured at places such as the Battersea Arts Centre, Free Word, Neverworld festival, and has also featured for various charitable events, often themed around housing and homelessness. Kojo works in Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa.
Violinist Elodie Chousmer-Howelles was born in Chelmsford in 1999. She has performed as a soloist, and as part of chamber ensembles and orchestras across the UK and around the globe. Elodie currently holds a full scholarship, supported by The Calleva Trust, at the Royal Academy of Music where she studies with Sasha Sitkovetsky. This year Elodie performed with the 2020 Mercury Prize-winning artist, Michael Kiwanuka on, 'Solid Ground', from his album 'KIWANUKA'. A 2018 BBC Young Musician category finalist, she has since gone on to perform as soloist in the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Paul Drayton's arrangement of, 'The Lark Ascending' , with The BBC Singers and, as a soloist in Vasks' violin concerto with The Edinburgh University String Orchestra, at Reid Hall. Elodie has collaborated with high profile pop artistes including Mark Ronson and YEBBA, at the live performance that opened BBC One's 2019 Strictly Come Dancing season. She has enjoyed chamber performances at the House of Lords, Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room,as well as orchestral performances across the UK, in Mumbai and Detroit. Elodie began violin lessons at the age of five, going on to Chetham's School of Music between 2009-2014, where she studied with Michael Gurevich and Jan Repko. In 2017 Elodie was chosen to lead the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and has been a member of Europe's most diverse professional orchestra - Chineke! Orchestra, since 2016. She has received guidance from distinguished artists; Chloë Hanslip, Maciej Rakowski and Nicola Benedetti, and has been mentored as part of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Junior Artist’s Scheme. Elodie has been fortunate to have been supported by Future Talent, The David Randall Foundation and Awards for Young Musicians. She plays a 2017 Samuel Zygmuntowicz violin, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music's instrument collection.
Eileen Gbagbo will be performing poetry. Eileen is a poet interested in breaking down issues surrounding race, religion and culture. She was a SLAMbassador poet in 2015 and has performed alongside some incredible poets at the Royal Festival Hall and Southbank Centre. Eileen works in the United States Centre.
Jon Neo will be performing spoken word and song. Jon loves urban farming, writing tunes that only his roomates hear, and Cafe Tropea in Russell Square. He's hitchhiked across Europe with guitar, worshipping and busking on streets to get comfortable with his voice that sounds like Morgan Freeman on helium (a little). He is a big fan of jazzing up oldies and classics - and he's excited to share his fresh style with you! Jon is a third year student in the Department of Law.
Shontae Romain will be performing spoken word. Shontae has been connected to LSE for the past 20 years: Firstly as a student but more recently as a member of staff working in PAGE in the role of Leadership Volunteer Manager. She recently joined the EmbRace Committee and sits on PAGE’s newly formed Inclusivity Working Group. In her spare time, when she isn’t occupied with her two children, she supports an online weekly broadcast/radio show where four Black men get together and speak about current affairs and hypothetical situations offering advice to a mainly female audience. She is also involved in Black fitness. Do feel free to contact Shontae if you would like to know more. Shontae works in Philanthropy and Global Engagement Division.
Nohamin Solomon will be performing dance. Nohamin is a recent LSE BSc Social Policy and Economics Graduate. During her time at university she performed and choreographed different performances in LSE Dance Club and ACS’ Annual Shows. She was also Captain of the Vybe (Hip Hop Crew in LSE Dance Club) in her final year. A month before her last year, she also worked her first dance job for a community-based theatre experience in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre and the people of Waltham Forest called Intercept – The Street Challenge.
Founded in 2001, Cassa Pancho's Ballet Black is an award-winning, neo-classical ballet company, dedicated to diversifying classical ballet. The company is made up of eight international dancers of black and Asian descent. The entirely original repertoire covers a broad spectrum of ballet, from classical work to highly contemporary pieces. Since 2001, they have built a varied repertoire from the best emerging and established choreographers, including, Shobana Jeyasingh, Martin Lawrance, Richard Alston, Arthur Pita, Christopher Hampson, Christopher Marney and Cathy Marsten. In 2018 Cassa, and company dancer Cira Robinson, collaborated with Freed of London to create and launch a range of brown and bronze ballet and pointe shoes. In 2019 Ballet Black appeared as part of British Grime star, Stormzy’s ground-breaking set as headliner of Glastonbury Festival.
More about the event
EmbRace is LSE's BME staff network and LSE Chill is the perfect host for our celebratory closing event. Black History Month started in the UK in 1987. Black History Month is a month long celebration across the UK to recognize the outstanding contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have made to this country.
Black History Month celebrations at LSE are open to everyone and it is a fantastic opportunity to bring the whole LSE community together to promote mutual understanding through equality, transparency, respect and recognition. This year’s theme is ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ in honour of Chadwick Boseman. Please visit the our dedicated Black History Month page for the more information on the events programme and the full meaning behind this year's theme.
Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEBlackHistoryMonth
Are you a poet, comedian or budding musician? We are looking for performers from the LSE community who would like to participate. For more information and to get involved, please email EmbRace committee member Adeola Akande Pierre-Noël at email@example.com
LSE Chill is a free performance night for LSE staff and students hosted by LSE Arts, on the last Friday of every month (in term time).
Just economics and politics? Think again. While LSE does not teach arts or music, there is a vibrant cultural side to the School - from weekly free music concerts in the Shaw Library, and an LSE orchestra and choir with their own professional conductors, various film, art and photographic student societies, the annual LSE photo prize competition, the LSE Festival and artist-in-residence projects. For more information please view the LSE Arts website.