Morris dancers refuse to stop blacking up their faces as it’s a ‘Lancashire tradition’
The group insist their use of black face isn’t racist
A group of Morris dancers from Lancashire have continued to perform after being kicked out of the national body for refusing to stop blacking up their faces.
Members of the Britannia Coconut Dancers, based in Bacup, have insisted that blacking up their faces is simply a part of a clog-dancing tradition that dates back more than 100 years, and is not an act of racism.
Most Morris dancers claim that the origin of blacking the face goes back to farm labourers who wanted a disguise from their bosses while begging and busking during the winter. However, it is also believed that the blacking up of their faces was an attempt to mimic North African dance routines.
And, amid the Black Lives Matter protests last year, the scrutiny surrounding the traditional black facing of Morris dancers only intensified, with some groups even swapping the black face paint for blue face paint to avoid any racial misconceptions.
Despite the tensions, however, the Lancashire-based Britannia Coconut Dancers danced while wearing full black face last weekend on October 3rd with the full support of the Lancashire BME Network.
Jonathon Prasad, an anthropologist from the Lancashire BME Network, told Lancashire Live that he had ‘spent a number of years working on cultural traditions and identities’, and said on the dance group: “From our point of view, as an organisation, we don’t object to blackface in this context as we recognise its a rich cultural tradition linked to Lancashire.”
He added that he had worked around Morris dancers and the Morris dancing tradition a few years ago and looked into the ‘cultural background’ of their decision to paint their faces black.
He said: “The cultural background of it is that the mill workers who were quite poor had to earn extra income, so one of the things they did was they painted their face black so their employers wouldn’t know that they are dancing for extra money.
“It’s also linked to a whole pagan ritual as well about not wanting to be attached to evil spirits.
“From our point of view, as an organisation, we represent this rich diversity of Lancashire’s cultural traditions and we actually support it.
“We want to break down barriers between communities rather than erecting them, we’re trying to bring minorities up to the same standards, it’s levelling up.”
Jonathon continued by saying that the Lancashire BME Network are ‘supportive’ of the Britannia Coconut Dancers, so long as people don’t seek to ‘divide communities’ by saying their performances are racist, stressing that ‘we’ve never seen it as a racial thing.’
He said: “It celebrates a Lancashire that we are all part of and that we should be engaging with. In the same way when we talk about the Pendle Witches, some people are frightened by it, some people aren’t, but it’s an integral part of Lancashire and we celebrate that and all its cultural traditions.”
P!NK ‘in love with Manchester’ after celebrating daughter’s birthday in the city
‘Manchester – I am so in love with you’
Pop star P!NK has said she is ‘in love with Manchester’ after she celebrated her daughter’s birthday in the city.
The singer-songwriter has been enjoying some time out with her children and entourage while on tour in Bolton this week.
The 43-year-old has chosen Greater Manchester to kick-off her Summer Carnival World Tour at the University of Bolton Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday, June 7th and 8th.
P!NK, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore Hart, was put to the test at Trafford Park’s Total Ninja attraction, which hosted a party for 12-year-old Willow.
She shared a video showing the youngster tackling the obstacles at the ninja park with her brother Jameson and Pink’s entourage.
Enjoying the fun, it’s clear the popular-American singer has a soft spot for Manchester as she gets set for her upcoming concerts starting tomorrow evening where she’ll be joined by special guests The Script, GAYLE and KidCutUp.
In a post on Instagram, she wrote: “So happy to be back on tour with my babies, the ones I birthed but also the rest of these clowns.
“If I had to choose another profession- it would be so many things. One of those would be party planner. We party.
“Manchester- I am so in love with you. Willow- you are my soul child. Happy 12th. Hard to believe you’re only 12. You rock. Love, your favourite Mama.”
Thousands of followers liked and commented on the post to express how excited they were that she is in Manchester and wished Willow a happy birthday.
One fan typed: “How very exciting that you’re in Manchester now. Can not wait to see you in your opening show for the new tour. I am so excited!!!! Bring on Bolton.”
Another commented: “She looks more like you all the time! Happy Birthday, Willow!!”
A third added: “What a great party, lovely to see an age appropriate fun kids party. Good for you Willow, enjoy being 12.”
Chris Martin spotted catching train from Manchester to Cardiff
‘The day is always better when Chris Martin says hi’
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin shocked fans as he was seen catching the train from Manchester to Cardiff Central for the band’s next sell-out gigs.
The chart-toppers, who recently wowed audiences at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, have two more performances in the Welsh capital as part of their Music of the Spheres tour.
Over the weekend the band played for thousands of fans in Manchester, dazzling them with a spectacular display of colours and confetti during the concert.
Crowds were also delighted to see local artist Aitch perform live as a support act.
Coldplay, one of the most environmentally friendly major touring bands in the world, are set to perform live at the Principality Stadium this week — a venue where huge names are usually chauffeur-driven or flown in by helicopter.
On Monday (June 5th), Chris took the train to Cardiff wearing a grey T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and a baseball cap as he mingled with other passengers.
Once he arrived in the Welsh city, eco-conscious Chris clocked a member of staff filming him after noticing the star amongst the crowds, as Chris went over to say ‘hello’ the man replied: “Thanks, Chris. Wow.”
The video clip was posted on Twitter, with the caption: “The day is always better when Chris Martin says hi.” Fans quickly took to social media to express their appreciation of Chris for taking the train.
One said in approval: “That’s such class…catching the train to your own gig. Love it!!” Another tweeted: “This is so precious.” And a third simply added: “The best.”
The band, who are keen to do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint, will be taking to the stage at the Principality Stadium on Tuesday, June 6th and Wednesday, June 7th, as they perform their songs in front of thousands of music fans in the city.
They will be joined by two support acts, including a local artist, who will both play before Coldplay take the stage to play their set. Gates will open at 5pm both days.
The hunt for the UK’s messiest car is on with a £200 prize for the winner
I’m lost for words at some of these!
Drivers across the country have been sharing pictures of their messy car interiors to win a competition.
The shameless and grubby lot have been submitting their entries for a chance to win a £200 Amazon voucher. It is part of a nationwide search to find the UK’s messiest car owner by vehicle service provider, ATS Euromaster.
Photographs show dirty seats, footwells piled with litter, boxes, empty packets of food and drinks, and used face masks — you might want to don some clean PPE to look at these!
Here is a selection of the best entries so far, but the competition remains open until June 11th.
Mel Crumpton, 57, from Benfleet shared this chaotic photo of litter overflowing from the passenger footwell in her Ford Fiesta.
Mel might need more than a few bin bags to clear this mess.
Rachel Hughes, 38, from Malmesbury submitted this photo of dirt and rubbish covering the back of her BMW 320D.
The poor passengers will be wishing they took the bus instead.
Satvinder Billa, 42, from Leicester shared how the front passenger area has a second purpose in this Honda Jazz.
I’ve seen tidier looking dustbins to be honest.
Helena Sperring, 30, from Shropshire revealed she likes to use her Peugeot 107 as extra storage.
Maybe she just doesn’t have room for it anywhere else?
Alison Wilkie, 56, from Harleston also uses the footwell in her Toyota Yaris as a rubbish bin.
Face masks and rubber gloves! Well, at least this mess is contained to just one footwell.
If you have a pigsty of a car, and would like to win £200 in Amazon vouchers, you can can enter the competition by clicking here.