A celebrity chef made a showcase to mark Black History Month in Huddersfield even more special.
Levi Roots was the star attraction at the event at the Hudawi Centre in Great Northern Street.
Levi shot to fame after he appeared on Dragon’s Den and convinced Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh to invest £50,000 in return for 40% of his company. His Reggae Reggae sauce brand took off and can now be found on shop shelves nationwide. Levi has gone on to champion several causes and now has his own restaurants.
Levi combined culinary story-telling and music as he sang and played the guitar to recall his journey to celebrity status.
The show brought together speakers, performers and artists from the world of health, politics, culture, entertainment and sport to create an evening that was attended by more than 300 members of Huddersfield black community.
When Levi’s parents came to the UK he stayed behind with his siblings in the care of his grandmother – and he owes her much of his understanding about good ingredients and healthy eating.
Heather Nicholson who helped to organise the event, said: “Levi shared some of the ups and downs of his life journey with wit, reflection and insight, drawing out messages about the value of family, power of music, legacy and self-belief. Clearly he knows how to hold a crowd, tell a good story and entertain, but there was an honesty that struck home.”
Other inspiring speakers included David Burton, Ophthalmology Registrar at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke of the benefits of having taken part in the Grace Kennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme and how it provides travel opportunities for 18-25 year olds to find out more about their Jamaican heritage.
Claude Hendrickson works with the Leeds West Indian Centre and has been active in the city’s Chapeltown area for over 30 years working to build positive community relations and create opportunities. He talked about different projects and of his recent survey of BME populations across different parts of West Yorkshire.
Emily Zobel Marshall from Leeds Becket University shared her research on trickster figures like Anansi the Spider from Caribbean and African folklore and the changing meaning of Carnival in the Caribbean and how its politics and performance has changed during its journey to the UK.
Other performers included the rap artist Spider Lee, Pure Elegance and members of Reach performing arts dance troupe.