What does change look like in 2021
When the protests stop, when the headlines dry from unanimous shouts to a coy whisper, when the diversity initiatives are defunded, we ask… is change really gon’ come?
We hold dear to the truth that we are all truly equal and should all be celebrated in equal measure. However our honest question is, can anybody celebrate you just like you and your community can?
Change is possible
That’s why today we celebrate the trailblazers and the changemakers who through their entrepreneurship have used their work to bring positive change and celebrate people of colour through their own lens.
By doing so, they have changed the narrative to shift perceptions of what it means to be Black, British and excellent.
From Melanie Eusebe MBE who created an award ceremony dedicated to shining a spotlight on Black talent, to Kamara Gray who is training up the next generation of young Black dancers, and Tobi Oredein who is amplifying the voices of Black women throughout the UK through her digital media platform. These are just some of the women taking up space and being the change we want to see.
You can’t be what you can’t see
Last month, Melanie Eusebe was awarded an MBE for her services to Diversity in Business as a result of her phenomenal work in creating the Black British Business Awards, an award ceremony that celebrates Black excellence in both the corporate and entrepreneurial world. We have been in the room when it all happened and there is nothing more motivating than seeing talented people who look like you being celebrated to affirm that ‘yes, it is possible!’
Role models are important and we all need advocates. We admire Melanie for taking up space and giving others their well-deserved platform to do the same.
Leave the door open behind you
What do you do when many of the top performing arts schools have no Black dancers? You create a company that provides dance training and opportunities to young Black dancers! Enter Kamara Gray. Through her youth dance company, Artistry Youth Dance she provides 12-19 years olds with dance training in styles that include Jazz, Contemporary and Ballet. This year alone, they have partnered with performing arts schools in London to award over £100k worth in scholarships to students to bring greater diversity and representation into these spaces. A Changemaker. We love to see it!
Reclaiming the narrative
The topic given to Black journalists to cover cannot always be about racism, and black hair. What about love, what about fashion, what about our perspective on politics, business, motherhood, or moving abroad? We celebrate Tobi Oredein for creating Black Ballad, a digital media and lifestyle subscription platform that does just that. They’re covering the topics we care about from multiple different perspectives and ensuring that our voices are amplified and stories told authentically. Did we mention they’re crowdfunding? If there was ever a great time to invest in Black women, it's now (and always!). We need to preserve and support media outlets like these who are doing the work and doing it well!
We are taking steps forward and remain optimistic that we will continue to do so. We read a harrowing statistic yesterday that Black women are more likely to win the Saturday lottery than they are to receive VC investment. So today, much like yesterday and tomorrow is a great day to support, celebrate, and amplify the work of women of colour. We know we will.
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