Marking World Book Night with SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space


What is the experience of Black men in Britain? With continued conversation around British identity, racism and diversity, there is no better time to explore this question and give Black British men a platform to answer it. SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space is that platform. Including essays from top poets, writers, musicians, actors and journalists, this timely and accessible book brings together a selection of powerful reflections exploring the Black British male experience and what it really means to reclaim and hold space in the landscape of our society. 

Where do Black men belong in school, in the media, in their own families, in the conversation about mental health, in the LGBT community, in grime music – and how can these voices inspire, educate and add to the dialogue of diversity already taking place? Following on from discussions raised by The Good Immigrant and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, this collection takes readers on a rich and varied path to confront and question the position of Black men in Britain today, and shines a light on the way forward.


Join Rakeem Omar in conversation with Derek Owusu (editor of SAFE) and Stephen Morrison-Burke (one of the contributors) where some of these questions are addressed. With spoken word performance from Tapiwa Mugabe.


About our panel:

Derek Owusu is a writer, poet and host of hit podcast Mostly Lit. He discovered his passion for literature aged 23 – before then, he had never read a book cover-to-cover. It was a revelation that came too late for his university path, so instead of switching course, he snuck into English literature lectures at the University of Manchester.

Stephen Morrison-Burke is a writer and poet, and in 2012 was chosen as Birmingham’s youngest ever poet laureate. In 2016 he was selected for the inaugural Kit de Waal scholarship, which offers a budding writer a place on Birkbeck’s creative writing MA.

Rakeem Omar is an Investigative Journalist, Presenter, and Documentary Filmmaker.  As a Channel 4 Investigative Journalism alumnus, Rakeem aims to share the stories of those from marginalised communities, through documentary storytelling. You can also catch Rakeem as a bi-weekly contributor to BBC WM, reviewing the latest in popular culture, television, music, and films.

Tapiwa Mugabe is a writer who was born in Zimbabwe and raised in England, UK. As a writer and poet he has recently published his first collection of poetry titled Zimbabwe. Tapiwa’s poetry introduces a fresh and bold voice into the rich current that is emerging from young African millennial artists.



Tickets are free for Impact Hub Birmingham Members and £5 for non members. This event is open to everyone but primarily for Black men as SAFE has been written by Black men for Black men. If you feel you would benefit from attending this event as a Black man but find the ticket price prohibitive, please drop Nikki Bi an email as we have some limited complimentary tickets.


About SAFE:

SAFE an anthology of writing by Black British Men has been described as The Good Immigrant need Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race.

‘There is a quality of searing honesty…Safe is a vital book of witness and validation; an important read for everyone, but for young men of certain hues, it contains islands of affirmation that may well save a life or two.’ Nii Parkes, poet

‘A much-needed anthology’ Cosmopolitan

‘A refreshing insight, given that black, bi men’s experiences are routinely rendered invisible’ – Dazed and Confused

‘SAFE’ Depicts Black British Masculinity in All Its Glory – VICE

“Black men have little to no control in media in this country and we are probably portrayed the worst of all, so that is why we are having to create active measures to aggressively counter the day to day horrible portrayals of us.” – Buzzfeed

“If you’ve grown up anywhere with thriving diaspora communities, you’ve probably heard the word ‘safe’ used as a term of endearment, to say thank you or to say goodbye.” – Metro

Contributors: Alex Holmes, Alex Wheatle, Aniefiok ‘Neef’ Ekpoudom, Courttia Newland, Derek Oppong, Derek Owusu, Gbontwi Anyetei; Jesse Bernard, JJ Bola; Joseph Harker; Jude Yawson; Kenechukwu Obienu; Kobna Holdbrook-Smith; Nels Abbey; Okechukwu Nzelu; Robyn Travis; Stephen Morrison-Burke; Suli Breaks; Symeon Brown; Yomi Sode.


You might also be interested in this play coming up on Friday 19th April at MAC, Birmingham:

Revealed, which debuted with a sell-out show in February 2018, is the first production from the new Menologues platform, founded by The Red Earth Collective, to highlight diverse stories of  the mental well being of  racialised and marginalised men  through the arts.

Written by Rites of Passage Productions co-founder Daniel Anderson, the  production explores three black men from the same family: Malcolm, a restaurant owner, his son Luther and Malcolm’s father Sidney, who are in the family restaurant  while a violent protest at yet another death in custody rages on the streets. What follows is a passionate unravelling of emotions, where three generations of anger are revealed.

The play will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Daniel Anderson, along with Beresford Dawkins, community engagement manager at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, Terry Rigby, founder and director of Forward for Life and Rico Johnson-Sinclair, director and programmer of CineQ. The panel discussion will be facilitated by Ian Sergeant, PhD researcher and curator.  Book your tickets here via the MAC Box Office or call: 0121 446 3232.


Hub Talks is our regular programme of world class writers, thinkers, filmmakers, performers and more.

Over the last 3 years we have been implicitly growing our reputation for convening to hear from deliberate and nuanced writers such as New York Time #1 best selling writer Angie Thomas, Afua Hirsch, Patrick Ness and Patrisse Khan-Cullers, as well as collaborative events with one of the nation’s favourite bakers Nadiya Hussain and The Good Immigrant with Nikesh Shukla and Birmingham Literature Festival, our approach to programming has consistently been about quietly showing a different story.

#HubTalks #SAFE


World Book Night is a national celebration of reading and books that takes place on 23 April every year. 

This event is supported by Apples and Snakes; an organisation for performance poetry and the spoken word in England.

Back to all Events

Date & Time

April 23 | 19:00 to 20:30


Impact Hub Birmingham


Entry Fee

Cost for Members: Free

Cost for Non Members: £5

Updated on 16 April 2019