For this year’s Black History Month, Arsenal Football Club will highlight “key voices from the Arsenal family and beyond” to show the club’s connections to Black British communities. They include Dr Clive Nwonka, an Associate Professor of Film, Culture and Society at University College London and author of Black Arsenal, an upcoming book exploring the club’s place in Black British culture:
How would I define Arsenal’s connection with the Black community? There’s no precise point or phenomenon or artefact that one can use – it has to be approached and understood as a collection of factors over the course of 50 years.
When I thought of the concept of Black Arsenal, one of the principles was that it isn’t something you can easily define by a particular point or by a cultural reference.
It’s a combination of different factors that can be quite inconspicuous when viewed singularly or when not thought about in relation to each other.
It’s the way in which football culture, social culture and visual culture draw in different kinds of experiences around identities and its connections.
Even though I spent 18 years of my life supporting Manchester United, there’s no denying Arsenal’s connections to Black Britain. I’ll definitely have a look at Black Arsenal when it comes out.