To celebrate Britain’s Black History Month, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have compiled a list of Next Gen Trailblazers.

Every October is Black History Month in the UK and it’s a time used to educate and inspire, and 2020 marks the 33rd year it has been celebrated.

In the Evening Standard,  the couple wrote:”In celebration of Britain’s Black History Month, we are today recognising a group of notable leaders whose influence is making a positive and lasting impact on British culture. In addition to highlighting their contribution to society, we asked them to identify another member of the black community in Britain whose cause-driven work is creating a lasting legacy for the next generation of Brits.

They continued: “Black History Month allows us all an opportunity to reflect upon the often unrecognised contributions people of colour have made that add to the richness and strength of this great nation. It is a month that celebrates the diversity of our community and of black British excellence.

The Duke and Duchess signed off saying: “We cannot change history, nor can we edit our past. But we can define our future as one that is inclusive, as one that is equal, and one that is colourful. We are a better nation because of the people you see in this list.

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The list includes people from all sectors of society, from sport, the arts, literature, entertainment, science and more. Each person on the list was nominated by another person of note.

Education expert Dr Nicola Rollock

Dr Nicola Rollock was nominated by campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence: “She’s inspired me over the years because of all of the work she’s done around race relations and, more importantly, what’s happening within education. Her latest work within the UK is looking at how many black women are professors in this country. Nicola is passionate about the critical role of education to inspire young black women to achieve their potential. I admire Nicola for her consistent work around anti-racism, equality and inclusion.

Dance collective founder Omar Ansah-Awuah
Omar was nominated by Diversity dance star, Ashley Banjo: “Omar started a street dance collective called IMD Legion in 2010. It is based in East London and the aim was to give young people a chance to believe in themselves and trust they can do whatever they put their mind to. A lot of the youth Omar has mentored over the years are from underprivileged backgrounds. And I have personally witnessed him change so many young lives for the better. He has literally saved young boys from the dangerous streets of gang and drug culture to take them to new heights. In terms of positive role models in the community using dance as a way to influence, educate and inspire there aren’t many better examples than Omar.

Disability campaigner Danielle Oreoluwa Jinadu

Danielle was nominated by England rugby player Maro Itoje who said: “Danielle is a young British Nigerian woman, who has been campaigning the government to change the laws to make life more accessible for disabled people within Britain. As with most social issues regarding Black people, they’re intersectional so Danielle has focused a lot of her attention on Black disabled individuals as they experience the plight of racism as well as discrimination as a result of their disability. She also has Sickle Cell, and has been recently gathering signatures to petition the government to include Sickle Cell Anaemia in illnesses eligible for the MedEx card.”

Gym founder and mental health campaigner Terroll Lewis
Terroll was nominated by activist Karl Lokko who said: “Terrol Lewis was previously heavily involved in gangs. He’s a point of reference for reform in the community. He has almost single handedly stimulated a well being culture for young black men and women in Lambeth.

Poet Caleb Femi

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In the meantime between time.

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Caleb was nominated by writer and actor Michaela Coel: “Caleb Femi seems to have a nack for ushering the reader into the delicate shadings of living as a disenfranchised Londoner, whose stories we rarely hear or read about. As well as being London’s first poet laureat, he is also a director and photographer, and his existence gives me confidence and hope in the future.”

Anti-violence campaigner Amani Simpson

Amani was nominated by personal trainer Patrick Hutchinson: “He is a young man that was stabbed seven times – and if most of us had been stabbed seven times we wouldn’t be here to tell the tale – but by the grace of the Higher Power, Amani is still with us and he’s here to tell the tale. He is now going to schools and corporate settings telling his story and empowering young people, young men, and especially young black men.”

Dr Alison Heydari, Met commander
Dr Alison Heydari was nominated by Neil Basu, a senior Met officer: “Commander Dr Alison Heydari is an executive level officer in the Met Police, in charge of local policing and as of her appointment in June 2020 the most senior female black officer in all of UK policing. Alison is an inspirational leader, change maker and I am delighted to nominate her a voice for the future, to celebrate black history month.”

Writer and poet Henry Stone

Henry was nominated by George The Poet who said: “He’s a 24-year-old poet from South London, and has persisted through personal tragedy to make the case for change.”

Community radio station leader Andrew Campbell
Andrew was nominated by charity CEO Trevor Rose who said: “He runs and is the head of our local community black radio station in Nottingham. He builds people up. He doesn’t stand to tear them down. With him here in Notts, I know we have a chance of having a better future.”

Creative leadership charity founder Sade Banks

Sade was nominated by the creative director of the Young Vic Theatre, Kwame Kwei-Armah: “I nominated Sade Banks, because, well as our country enters debates around equality and inclusion certainly in my sector there’s one name that is called over and over again to help us negotiate this moment in history and that’s Sade Banks. Sade and her company, they are everything we want of the next generation.”

Founder of gal-dem magazine Liv Little

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Certain I look better outside of LDN

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Liv was nominated by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo: “She set up the magazine in 2015, the year she graduated from Bristol University, because she was frustrated with the under-representation of people of colour in the media. Since then the magazine has grown exponentially into a cultural force. It makes a bold, uncompromising and imaginative intervention into current affairs and important social issues from the perspective of, in particular, young women and non-binary people of colour.”

Radio presenter and activist Swarzy Macaly

Swarzy was nominated by Lord Woolley: “Swarzy Macaly to me epitomises a young black British role model. She’s dynamic. She’s always wanting to give young people a voice.”

Community campaigner Pat Levy and her son Nathaniel
Pat and Nathaniel were nominated by minister Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin: “Mrs Levy and her son Nathaniel represent the soul of the wider community of which they live. Since the death of young Robert Levy, his parents, and all the family have committed themselves to try and reduce knife crime and youth violence. They go into schools where they run workshops, do assemblies and provide mentoring. They have run summer clubs where they have taught fashion, engineering skills and showcased talent – all with the objective of helping young people to find positive ways to channel their energy and improve their lives. Their pain and grief became life-giving for our community, inspiring future lives.”

Co-founder of UK Black Pride Moud Goba

Moud was nominated by fellow co-founder, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah who said: “I’m really proud to count Moud as a sister, comrade, colleague and friend, and think many could learn from the example she sets.”

5 Girls founder and women’s activist Tina Pokuaah
Tina was nominated by writer Afua Hirsch: “Tina is deeply passionate about the struggles of girls and women, who works tirelessly to educate, inspire and empower others and give them a voice.”

Cultural producer Tobi Kyeremateng

Tobi was nominated by radio presenter Clara Amfo: “I am proudly nominating as a change-maker during this month of October. But make no mistake, I would do it any month of the year because I think the work, in fact I know that the work, that Tobi is doing is really vital.”

Writer Akala

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@afronationghana 🎤

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Akala was nominated by psychologist and former NBA player John Amaechi: “Akala’s life and work are seminal sources for anyone striving to understand the human condition and how race and racism, which have defined so much of our history and continue to define our collective future. I am in AWE of Akala.”

Boxing coach Christopher Lloyd Daley
Christopher was nominated by Olympian Nicola Adams: “Over the last 20 years Chris has run boxing clubs in the Kent area where recreational activities are somewhat limited, to encourage young people who are at risk of engaging in negative behaviours to have a place to go where they matter and they have something to channel their energy.”

Educational campaigner and founder/CEO of social enterprise The Black Curriculum, Lavinya Stennett

 

Lavinya was nominated by three people, Edward Enninful, Editor of British Vogue, photographer Misan Harriman, and rapper Dave.

Harriman said: “I am so proud to be nominating Lavinya Stennett for everything she is doing with the Black Curriculum. At only 23 years old, she gives me great hope for the future.

Enninful said: “Lavinya is special because she believes in the power of education and the arts to ultimately transform the lives of young people. The Black Curriculum is positively shaping the national curriculum and building a sense of identity in every young person in the UK.”

Dave said: “Education is fundamentally important in achieving lasting, positive change. As it stands, we are taught very little about black British history in school outside of the slave trade and you will struggle to find positive examples of black British contributions to society across the rest of the syllabus. The Black Curriculum aims to change that.”

 

Papa B

Papa B was nominated by his partner, the writer Candice Brathwaite: “I couldn’t not nominate Papa B, my other half, who at home and outside commits to making, especially black young men, feel really empowered. He continuously mentors them and tries to remind them that they are valued and they are loved.”

What a list.

 

Image via Alamy