It’s October, so you know what that means - it’s UK Black History Month!
This Black History Month, instead of focusing on history, I wanted to showcase some up-and-coming young (under 30) black British voices - those who will revolutionise and improve the black experience for years to come.
To help with compiling this list, I put out a tweet asking for people to nominate their favourite young black voices in the UK… and I got A LOT of responses.
Here are eight I think you really NEED to know about…
1. Over The Bridge Podcast
Ok, yes, so I’ve cheated a little, as this isn’t an individual, but an amazing group of four young, black and mixed-race Cambridge graduates. Bilal, Patrick, Kwaku and Tom came together to create Over The Bridge Podcast - a platform for them to talk about their unique experiences at Cambridge University, and have touched on many important topics including gentrification, working while black, and black excellence (which featured Stormzy).
2. Tobi Kyeremateng
A theatre, poetry and and festival producer who has acted as one of the pioneers of this current booming creative scene, Tobi Kyeremateng has worked with prestigious arts organisations including Apples and Snakes, The Old Vic, The Bush Theatre, The Roundhouse and Ovalhouse. Tobi also started The Black Ticket Project, a movement to get more black faces into theatre spaces in London so they can experience the traditionally white-and-middle-class world of theatre.
3. Shannie Mears
Shannie Mears is co-founder of the game-changing creative agency The Elephant Room, brand manager of the world’s first online video magazine GUAP, all-round helper of young talent and dance professional – oh, and she’s only 24! Shannie’s already established herself as an important figure in advertising, and is sure to continue revolutionising the industry for years to come.
4. Temi Mwale
Temi Mwale is an activist, social entrepreneur and public speaker invested in creating positive change among marginalised communities. To this aim, she founded The 4Front Project – a youth-led social enterprise that works directly with young people to empower them and ultimately end the cycle of serious youth violence.
5. Franklyn Addo
As a journalist, youth worker and rapper, Franklyn Addo’s work is centred around understanding the causes that see many young people unable to progress, and breaking down those systems. His youth work sees him work with victims of violent crime to help them get rehabilitated and gain new opportunities, and has been featured on platforms including BBC3 and TEDx.
6. Alex Fefegha
A creative technologist by trade, Alex Fefegha founded the creative tech agency Comuzi, who’ve worked with the likes of the BBC, NHS Innovation and ASOS on insightful projects. Comuzi also helped set-up Creative Hustle – a non-profit organisation all about ‘paying it forward’ by helping young creatives and technologists of colour develop their skills and careers through micro-grants of up to £500.
7. Shani Page-Muir
Shani Page-Muir is an Oxford masters grad, and co-founder of Bankra - an online platform dedicated to exploring the black British diaspora experience through storytelling, travel and education. Driven by encouraging second and third generation black Brits to connect with their homelands, Bankra particularly encourages travel to Africa and the Caribbean.
8. Juanita Agboola
Juanita Agboola is the founder of Half Full Not Empty, a social enterprise invested in the research and betterment of mental health and wellbeing in organisations and universities. Juanita channeled her low feelings into a social media campaign on mental health awareness, which later turned into Half Full Not Empty – an organisation that has now worked with Google and various UK universities to improve wellbeing through workshops, data and more.
These are just a few of the thousands of amazing young, black British voices out there – I got a few hundred suggestions from my tweet alone. Make sure you keep up with these guys and explore the wealth of black British talent out there. Oh, and happy Black History Month!