We’re back and it feels like only yesterday we were celebrating 5 years of The BLACKLIST. We
have seen highs and we have seen lows, but continue to work hard to give you the incredible
list of BLACKLISTERS we deem to be the future and as they stand, our present.
6 years on we have continued to champion, to shout, to create and to honour all the
greatness that is out there amongst the Black community. Black History Month in the UK will
come and sometimes doesn’t always feel like it’s enough, because as we know our
Blackness has no time limits, no ceilings, no price and no boundaries of how we choose to
show up and at what time in the year.
We show up 365 days a year. All year.
An endless wave of culture, a culture we can call our own and it sits amongst us. As GUAP
we see you all.
The sixth instalment of the BLACKLIST sees the continuation of the collaboration between GUAP and longstanding partner adidas. After years of collaborating on a number of different projects, adidas will continue to invest and provide exciting opportunities to some of the most inspiring young talent, including members of the GUAP Blacklist 2023.
Every year we search to find individuals who embody The BLACKLIST purpose and memo, and
continue to elevate the bar. However by no means does this take away the everyday work
that all of our community consistently do. You are all so deserving.
We know that there is talent beyond this list, we know that this is just a slice of what we
know to be true for our industry and that is that no list or mention can quantify how
amazing Black people contribute to the world and its culture.
There’s no stopping us.
And with that being said we present 30 wonderful BLACKLISTERS and want to say an
honourable thank you to all, congratulations on all you do.
Year 6 LEGGO!
Foreword by Shannie Mears
Every year, GUAP sets out on a mission to recognise the exceptional creativity, culture, and determination of 30 young black trailblazers from various fields. These individuals deserve recognition, and GUAP is committed to ensuring their talents are acknowledged and celebrated by a wider audience.
In partnership with adidas, GUAP’s BLACKLIST represents a meaningful collaboration. It serves as a platform to empower BLACKLIST members and other emerging talents within our community, offering them opportunities that align with their passions.
In a world where Black creativity often goes unnoticed, GUAP is striving to change the narrative. It’s essential to stop overlooking the valuable contributions of these unsung heroes, whose impactful work often goes unacknowledged by mainstream award systems.
So, without further ado, we proudly present The BLACKLIST 2023. This initiative is a testament to the genuine talent and dedication of these remarkable individuals, and a step towards ensuring that Black creativity is recognised and appreciated as it should be.
Tendai Moyo is the co-founder and CEO of Ruka, a consumer-innovation brand headquartered in the UK in January 2021. Through a dedicated community of co-creators, the best-in-class village of hair stylists and a team passionate about science-led and ethical product creation – they are looking to create the Apple of hair care. Since launching, they’ve raised £4.1M in VC funding, have been awarded #1 afro hair extensions brand in the UK for 2021 and worked with clientele such as Tems, Serena Williams and Gabrielle Union. Prior to this, Tendai was a consultant at Bain & Co and studied Business, Maths and Stats at the London School of Economics.
” I’ve always cared about two things: (1) creating change for under-served communities and (2) empowering change-makers. Building Ruka has allowed me to do both by creating an innovative business that completely reshapes the hair industry, built by a world-class team of scientists and marketers and focusing on a consumer that’s historically been ignored – Black women.
Ugo is CSO and co-founder at Ruka. Born and raised in South London of Nigerian heritage, she experienced first-hand how under developed the black hairstyling industry was; from the lack of innovation to the lack of ethical standards. Prior to Ruka, Ugo studied Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College, where her interest in using technology to solve consumer health and personal care problems was solidified. She went on to work at McKinsey &Co., supporting clients across Consumer and Healthcare. Seeing multi-national companies lacking the insight and strategic interest needed to serve her community, she was inspired to join Tendai in building Ruka.
“I’m inspired by anyone who tries to solve an urgent problem for an overlooked community – often times against all odds. I hope to spend my career allowing God to lead me; constantly learning, finding important problems to solve, and supporting others (intellectually and financially) with their ideas too!”
Ore Olukoga is a Broadcaster, Presenter and Content Producer from Hackney, East London. With humble beginnings in community radio, Ore has risen to become one of the most exciting new voices and faces in Broadcasting. Ore’s journey began aged 15, as a Presenter for online radio station Jamrock Radio, Luton and after a successful stint there it lead to him landing his own weekly show on Reprezent Radio in 2013. Dedicating seven years to the station, it was here he would hone and develop his presenting style and really kick start his broadcasting career.
In addition to presenting, Ore has previously worked as a creative and A&R Scout for Sony Music/RCA Records, consulting and working with the biggest artists in the world, helping them to develop their brands and cultural identity. All this whilst balancing and running a successful YouTube channel, interviewing fellow YouTubers securing hundreds of thousands of views along the way! Ore regularly presents social content for LadBible and has appeared on BET, TikTok, as well as other major brands. In 2022, Ore was selected to cover shows on BBC Radio 1 over their Christmas period which has subsequently led him to become a regular cover presenter on the station.
“I hope to continue creating and fronting innovative and exciting content, and to offer momentary escapism and light relief to viewers in a forever stressful world. To be the face and voice of British Broadcasting, flying the flag on the international stage.”
Chiamaka Ojechi, Creative Director and co-founder of paq; a Black-owned strategic creative agency based in Brixton, London. paq stands for ‘purpose, authenticity and quality’; the DNA from their origin and the source that enables the team to boldly push the boundaries of creativity.
As a Black woman and a business owner, Chiamaka empowers her community through access and insight with a focus on protecting space for the next gen. With trainers forever on her feet, Chiamaka’s approach has been eclectically crafted through academic roots in art and graphic design as well as her Nigerian heritage.
Starting in Chiamaka’s early 20’s, over the past 9 years paq has purposefully grown whilst serving their community and clients that include Nike, Spotify and Mercedes-Benz. Chiamaka has transitioned into a Cultural Consultant and creator that adds value through her unique perspective and experiences.
“Time spent travelling and experiencing daily life within different cultures inspires me. My parents journey and dedication will always encourage me to push towards greatness. Seeing beauty in everyday mundane situations creatively inspires me probably more than I’m aware of. Aims for my career journey include doing more storytelling directorial work whilst building ecosystems through paq that enable our community to thrive.”
Dr Kayode is an aspiring surgeon based in london and has over a decade of experience working with young people in inner city london. Social justice is at the core of all the work he does.
Kayode is the youngest Black member of the British Medical Association’s Council (Trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK) and has previously been the Deputy Chair in charge of Education for the Medical students’ committee. He represents the 200,000 medical student and doctors in the membership. In his roles, he has tirelessly advocated for colleagues locally and on a national platform. “Differential outcomes in healthcare are intrinsically linked to the providers. I want to view all my practice from an intersectional lens to limit these differential outcome and bring (or drag) my colleagues along.”
In his spare time he is a regular panellist on the British Medical Journal’s student podcast, “Sharp Scratch”, and has just started his own musical theatre podcast (DreamGworlz) with one of his best friends.
Tiffannie, a dynamic entrepreneur and academic with degrees in Adult Nursing and Midwifery, film Photographer & co-founded the creative platform WE ARE SOUL at the age of 28. This platform has evolved from its beginnings as “Soul Sessions” into a versatile organization encompassing art, music, and philanthropy. WE ARE SOUL is a comprehensive platform that produces various content, hosts events, curates a coffee table book, serves as a production hub, and provides a cultural haven for those exploring the intersection of music and art.
Tiffannie’s accomplishments extend into the realm of renowned film photography, where she is celebrated for her work. .Tiffannie’s work has left an indelible mark, gracing notable platforms such as Selfridges, Guap Magazine,The Refinery, Google Art and Culture, Native Mag, Pause Mag and Jcdecaux. With a landscape of vision for community, arts, culture and music Tiffannie’s plans are only to continue to create lasting memories for her clients and to make more creative and developing community space.
Vanessa Maria is a dynamic DJ, Broadcaster at Foundation FM, and Resident Advisor host. With a unique blend of underground UK music, she captivates audiences nationwide and globally, infusing sounds from around the world with UK Club classics.
Vanessa’s work in and around music and mental health has also not gone unnoticed. Dedicated to industry voices, Vanessa’s interviews feature luminaries like Jaguar, David Rodigan, Tiffany Calver, and Juls. As Resident Advisor’s key presenter, she drives conversations on music and mental health via podcasts, documentaries and the platform ‘Don’t Keep Hush’.
Notable appearances include Glastonbury’s Nia Archives takeover, electrifying sets at Koko, closing Fabric for Taylah Elaine, Warehouse Project, Boilerroom, Broadmasters, All Points East, and El Dorado festival. Vanessa’s prowess extends beyond music, collaborating with Depop, JBL, Spotify, adidas, and Nike, merging her passion with impactful partnerships. Recognized by The Face Magazine for shaping London’s nightlife, Vanessa Maria’s vision transcends borders, making her an undeniable influencer in music and culture.
“My aim is to continue curating immersive musical experiences, championing mental health discussions, and forging powerful collaborations, ultimately shaping the music scene and cultural dialogue on a global scale.”
Revibed Drinks was born from the shared vision of a Father and son, Eugene and Ivor. The UK’s first superfood infused water. My Journey began with a profound passion for revolutionising the beverage industry. My aim is to change the way you consume superfoods. Traditionally in smoothies, juices and powders to a more convenient format in a can with pre-mixed superfoods with water. Recognising a growing demand for healthier, more natural drink alternatives, I embarked on a mission to make a difference to the underlying health condition of diabetes and obesity.
“My inspiration came from the desire to offer accessible, convenient, and 100% natural pre-mixed superfood infusions, free from sugars and hidden additives. As a father and son team, our journey is a testament to the power of pursuing what truly inspires you. We believe that every entrepreneur, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, should start with a mission that aligns with their values and resonates with their community. Our driving force has always been our unwavering passion and purpose, even in the face of formidable challenges. Throughout our entrepreneurial journey, we’ve learned to expect setbacks and hurdles.
Building resilience and adapting to ever-changing circumstances has been key to our success. We’ve embraced a mindset of continuous learning, seeking mentors, and actively participating in workshops. This commitment to growth has been instrumental in our pursuit of excellence. My goal is to become the UK’s leading superfood infused brand and to be a leader.”
A household name in London’s nightlife, DJ and Chivas Regal’s ambassador Selecta Suave is widely renowned for turning anywhere he plays into memorable and enjoyable experiences. Drawing from his Togolese and Ghanaian heritage, his work with many music artists and various influences from travels all over the world, his ability to offer an eclectic mix of sounds to any dancefloor is second to none.
“I’m inspired by the finer things that life has to offer – and to that effect I strive to make life the most enjoyable experience it can possibly be!”
Corey Weekes is a multi-faceted creative from Birmingham. He is an actor, writer, director and musician.Corey’s beginnings as an actor were at college, when his Theatre Studies teacher noticed extreme promise and guided him to a more positive trajectory than he was on at the time. He gained a scholarship to the Academy Of Live and Recorded Arts and graduated with BA Honours in Professional Acting. Upon completion of his degree, he began working consistently in Theatre and Television, most notably and recently playing the role of Bulla in Champion (BBC/Netflix).
Corey played a rapper in the show, which is fitting because he’s been rapping since he was 12 but hadn’t released anything. This was until he was given the opportunity to write 7 songs for himself and others in Champion. Corey began writing and recording original music around this time, under his musical stage name, ‘Corz’. His debut song ‘Distractions’ will be released in October.
Corey’s writing talents do not stop at music. He also writes for stage and screen. His debut co-written theatre show, Rapsody won the The Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve and was commissioned for a month run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is currently working on his new play, Quicksand – a play he is commissioned to write after winning Off West End’s Adopt a Playwright Award and he’s also working on a musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. The show is being produced and commissioned by the Coventry Belgrade Theatre, Hackney Empire, the Globe & That’s A Rap – a company Corey co founded that makes rap-based Theatre, as well as providing consultancy and delivering workshops for rap-based theatre, TV and Film.
“What inspires me is the knowledge that each day that passes by gives me another opportunity to be a better version of myself. Career wise, I have no end goal. I’m very focussed on the process – I just aim to continue making impactful art and touching people’s lives in some capacity.”
Edem Wornoo is a Ghanaian-British writer and director hailing from South London. His creative endeavors delve into street-level fantasies, illuminating the enchantment within the people, places, and experiences of his upbringing.
In 2022, he earned a nomination for Best New Director at the UKMVAS, showcasing his talent through music videos for renowned artists such as Dave, Stormzy, Fredo, and Wretch 32. Wornoo is recognized for his meticulously crafted narratives, evident not only in his music videos but also in his recent work, including an episode for Candice Carty-Williams’ series ‘Champion’ (BBC/Netflix), where he also served as the series’ 2nd unit director.
Wornoo’s latest short film, ‘Butterfly Affect’ (Sky Studios), received acclaim, earning an official selection at the London Short Film Festival and winning Best Screenplay at Soulfest x American Black Film Festival. This success led to a commission from Sky for his new original show.
His achievements have been highlighted in prominent publications like The Face’s ’13 Names to Know Under 30,’ Crack Magazine, The Good List, and TheBritishBlackList. Additionally, he has received nominations and awards from prestigious events such as the BRIT Awards, UKMVAS, and the Rated Awards.
“I’m inspired by the magic in the people, places and things that I grew up around in South London. I aim to forefront this magic in the street-level fantasies that I write and direct for Film, TV, Theatre, Comic Books and Games.”
Victoria Jane is a 25 year-old creative all rounder. London born, manny raised she is the current presenter and host of Radio 1’s Future Soul Show. She is also a music artist herself and has been named one of Manchester’s most exciting new talents to emerge from the UK R&B scene. Victoria’s keen to grow as a broadcaster whilst keeping her focus on music.
Victoria also started her own platform ‘Vic Meets’ where she aims to provide a spotlight for emerging talent, since she has hosted two sold out shows in both Manchester & London. As an artist she has performed at an array of places including The Jazz Cafe & hosted a number of events for BBC Introducing. Not to mention, Soho House’s Festival conducting all their backstage interviews with artists, social coverage at Parklife Festival and interviewed some of the biggest names in R&B, such as John Legend, Bruno Mars, Anderson Pac and Ari Lennox.
“Inspiration comes from so many places for me. From music, friends, from watching a great film or just taking a walk through the buzzing city of Manchester. It’s not hard to find inspiration in such a creative place. I aspire to inspire. I want my music to reach people & make people feel but I also want to be recognised as a broadcaster and tastemaker globally. I want to be able to be successful in multiple creative fronts… Whether that’s music reaching great heights, my R1 show expanding, or writing a screenplay and being involved with other creative projects. The future is limitless.”
Elaine is a content creator, entertainer and presenter. Hitting the scene with her hugely popular series, ‘Welcome to…’, Elaine has established herself as one of the UK’s most exciting emerging creators and is growing an incredibly engaged audience across all of her social platforms. Some of Elaine’s achievements include working with Channel 4, Madame Tussauds and TikTok. Elaine is certainly one to watch, so keep an eye out for what’s to come!
“For me I am inspired by creating art that surpasses my own existence and leaves a large impact on the culture that stretches far beyond me! I want my art to be a time and memory in history! I would also love to take my ideas into movies, films and music for the world to appreciate which will definitely happen!”
Aliyah Hasinah is a curator, documentary director & founder of Black Curatorial.
“My inspiration is the Islands I come from, Barbados & Jamaica, the strength, knowledge and richness of our cultures always fuels me to be better and more human. I’m inspired to do the work of continuing our Caribbean legacies in visual art, curation, film and cultural discourse on decoloniality. I’m also deeply inspired by Islam and the ways of the Prophet Muhammed, that’s a real OG. Both my islands and my religion taught me how to love.”
Ivorian heritage multifaceted dynamic actor, writer, producer, and artist Tom Moutchi, and Ghanaian heritage brand manager Evans Frempah, have created and are continuing to push the envelope with their event series ‘Moutchi Madness.’ Hosted by Tom Moutchi, it’s a seasonal event that strives to break away from the current trends in the event scene. Featuring innovative concepts, from a sunglasses-only party to the controversial fake designer party, Moutchi Madness always aims to deliver a memorable experience for its attendees with its unique themes.
The brand was established in 2022 and has already hosted five parties, starting at the Prince of Peckham and collaborating with them on a three-floor party. Following their debut at the Prince of Peckham, they’ve gone on to organize various day and night parties at locations such as Box Park. They gained their first international booking with their takeover event at DLT Malta in 2023, where they hosted a beach party.
With numerous sold-out events and exciting theme parties on the horizon, Moutchi Madness is undoubtedly the event series to keep an eye on. “We aim to create events where people party without egos and curate feel-good vibes that evoke long-lasting memories.”
Alvin is a strategist, co-founder and youth worker who sits at the intersection of social impact, storytelling and youth culture. He co-runs Tag Agency, a creative marketing agency working with brands to tell stories + create opportunities for young people from marginalised backgrounds.
Through Tag Agency he’s worked with global brands such as Google, Spotify, Nike to deliver digital content, brand strategy, and activations rooted in culture. Additionally, Alvin has a strong foothold in the social impact sector. Most Notably, co-leading the funding, design, and outreach strategy of the We Move Fund: a £10m 10-year investment in Black children and young people across the UK. A first of its kind initiative in the UK.
“I find inspiration in the small world I’ve made for myself. My family (both chosen and blood), my heritage, and my purpose. Ultimately, in my career I hope to always show up and make space for young people. The big dream is opening up a multi-purpose youth centre in the hood where young people can both create, and just be.”
Tumisha, the part-time marketer & full time icon is also a co-founder of Tag Agency. She describes herself as a connector who works with world class talent across music, entertainment & football to grow their social presence & connect authentically with brands. She is also the manager of Jocewavy, an international DJ who has played across Europe; and a producer who works with global brands to amplify their story through creative campaigns, content & brand strategy.
“I’m inspired by God, I don’t exist without Him and daily He reminds me that the purpose He has set for me is bigger than myself. He knew me before I knew myself and daily if i live by His word which inspires me my success is inevitable. My career goal is to be an icon in this game, inspire & give back to the young generation. Continue to pour into them. To continue being a learner, thought-leader & shaper for what the crossover in creativity and community looks like.”
Naz, also known as NazfromNewham, is a passionate writer deeply entrenched in the world of music, film, literature, and the arts. With an affinity for alliteration, Naz’s journey into writing began in their late teens when they started crafting informal music and film takes online. Inspired by discussions among peers and fueled by a desire to delve deeper into topics they felt well-versed in, Naz found their voice through social media platforms.
Over the years, Naz’s takes and articles gained traction, fostering connections with fellow music enthusiasts. Through the realm of journalism and a consistent online presence, they honed their expertise, delving into various aspects of the music business. From marketing and management to PR, A&R, and production, Naz’s diverse skill set speaks volumes about their passion and dedication to the industry.
Despite moments of uncertainty about the future, Naz’s unwavering love for music, film, literature, and the arts remained a guiding light. They firmly believe that pursuing what one loves can illuminate the path forward, making the journey worthwhile, especially when surrounded by great people. With a heart dedicated to creative expression, Naz continues to carve a unique niche in the realm of arts and entertainment.
“I am inspired by everything and everyone. There’s too much abundance in the world for me
to only name a few things. If I had to name my main source of inspiration it would be
people, every day in some way there is a person who inspires me.
My career aims are to keep pushing and not give up, no matter what. There is so much I
want to do and so many people I want to work with. I want to accomplish so much and
create an indelible mark on the landscape of music and branch out to pursue every idea I
have ever had. If I continue to be consistent, then I am closer to making my dreams and the
dreams of those around me come true.”
Meet Sabina Silver, an incredibly talented artist whose work draws inspiration from her rich cultural heritage, blending Black British and Ghanaian influences. With a diverse tapestry of life experiences, Sabina’s art breathes authenticity and passion into her narratives. Her unique perspective explores themes of identity, belonging, and empowerment, all skillfully expressed through her creative works.
Beyond her captivating artwork, Sabina Silver is the visionary behind “Brush and Balance,” a mindful art events initiative she founded. Through these events, she harnesses the transformative power of art for self-discovery, inner peace, and healing. With Brush and Balance, she creates a harmonious space where mindfulness and creativity converge, fostering community and well-being.
Sabina Silver’s art is a vibrant celebration of culture, individuality, and our shared human experience. Her mindful art events touch hearts and make a positive impact on people’s lives. “As for my own inspirations and career aims, I draw inspiration from the beauty of human expression and the limitless possibilities of creativity. My journey is driven by a deep desire to facilitate connections and foster understanding through art. I aim to continually explore new horizons in the art world and contribute positively to the creative community.”
Ama is the CEO and Creative Director of Plantmade, a transformational wellness brand which creates hand made products which solves problems including hair & skin issues. This first time founder was able to turn £100 into close to 8 figures with creativity, risk and ultimately creating products that make a difference in people’s lives and confidence.
“I’m inspired by a quote by Miles Morales – Everyone keeps telling me how *my* story is supposed to go. Nah… I’m-a do my own thing – I feel so hard haha.”
Cherise is an award-winning visual artist, textile artist, illustrator, and creative director from south London. Her work includes striking portraits, large-scale textiles, and film which have been exhibited at Southbank Centre, V&A, and London Design Festival. Over the last few years, Cherise has worked with several brands such as Nike, Clark’s, Instagram, and more. As well as working with artists such as Tay Iwar, Erick the Architect, Patoranking, and Frisco.
In her personal work, Cherise explores the relationship between art and healing and takes inspiration from her culture and the representation of the black community. Embracing elements of love, power, faith, and hope, highlighting the complexities that the black community sometimes faces and shining a light on these areas. Examples of her work include her short film ‘Breathless’ commissioned by Southbank Centre telling the story of Ella Kissi Debrah and the detrimental effects climate change has on the black community. Cherise aims to depict the beauty and intensity of black people through her work, whilst also trying to change their narrative by uplifting the community, shedding light on the positive contributions individuals make within society, with her most recent work ‘FatherHOOD’ which celebrates young black fathers in London.
An advocate for mental health within the black community, Cherise has held art therapy workshops in schools with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Trying to make art and creativity accessible, she would often open her studio space free of charge to other creatives and artists, giving them a safe space to create, alleviating the stress that comes with trying to find affordable studios within London as an up-and-coming creative, allowing the artist to focus on their creativity.
“I’m inspired by my community, and by my friends who are all doing amazing things, not only for themselves but for others too. Every single one of my friends is super talented and are straight bosses who work so hard at their crafts it’s honestly such a blessing to know them. However, I’m most inspired by anyone who has had the odds stacked against them and chose to fight rather than give up. Those that do anything to change their narrative in the most positive ways, do anything to dream & dream big.”
CJ, also known as Deluded Gooner, is a 28 year old Arsenal football content creator who has collabed with Arsenal, UEFA, BBC and more. Deluded Gooner loves to test the waters with his content and has created several diverse pieces of content, from interviews with players, to scouting and match commentary.
“My goals for the future are simple, I want to keep pushing down the multiple barriers which affect black content creators, I want to explore the deeper depths of my creativity, I would love to present more football content on bigger platforms & interview the multiple people within football clubs & appear on sky sports, I also want to keep speaking about the taboo subjects within football which many people are afraid to speak on. I want to be a person that fellow minority content creators can draw inspiration for, I also want to be someone which when you see me you think of Guap as I think it is important to give back to those who gave you a platform to express yourself to the world!”
3stacks is a documentarian from South London who recently released a short film documenting the scene in London, Paris and New York under kino studios. Immersing herself in the london underground scene she has developed a keen interest in capturing real life narrative. no script. no storyline. only real life. weather it be at your favourite rapper studio session or in the smoking area at playpiem, 3stacks’ camera is always rolling to capture the true essence of our generation.
“What inspires me is the need for documentation. they provide us the opportunity to consider how far we have come and relive forgotten memories!”
Bernice Mulenga is a British-Congolese photographer with a distinct aptitude for archiving, documenting and interrogating the world around them. Mulenga’s work centres on the relations between people and the intimate experiences they come with —most notably in their ongoing photo series #friendsonfilm. #friendsonfilm is Mulenga’s ongoing & growing archive as of 2015. Their work explores reoccurring themes surrounding identity, sexuality, grief, darkness and kinship. Alongside being a photographer, Bernice is a contributor to nightlife and has been for the last 7 years. Mulenga also does grief work and is an aspiring death doula. Mulenga doesn’t see everything they do as separate but more so as an extension of themselves.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from my surroundings, my family, my friends and even everyday regular people I come across – I feel like there are so many people with stories to tell, they are just waiting for someone to listen.”
The creative director, originally from Birmingham, embarked on a transformative journey to London three years ago, driven by a fervent pursuit of artistic aspirations and a desire to breathe life into their career dreams. With a profound passion for visual storytelling, this individual wears several hats, excelling as both a skilled photographer and a talented graphic designer.
Navigating the dynamic realms of marketing, fashion, and music, this creative soul has collaborated with a diverse array of imaginative minds. Together, they have explored the depths of creativity, unraveling the essence behind various concepts and visions. For this visionary, the essence of their journey lies in uncovering the “why” behind every creation, meticulously crafting the perfect means to share these narratives with the world. In their hands, stories come to life, woven into the fabric of visual artistry, leaving a lasting impact on those who behold their work.
However, at the core of my artistic expedition lies collaboration. I thrive on creating cool sh*t stuff with my friends, because let’s face it, the best things come to life when creative minds unite.
“Pablo Picasso’s The Bull is a huge inspiration for me! The artwork is a series of eleven lithographs created in 1945. It depicts the bull at various stages of abstraction, starting with a fairly realistic depiction and ending with nothing but a few lines. I use this as my guide for most of my work as I abstract ideas / concepts to the furthest point where a sense of familiarity is still maintained.
To keep making cool sh*t with my friends.”
FilmAbdi, a talented 25-year-old photographer hailing from South London, is a dedicated documentarian. Specializing in capturing the essence of the black nightlife scene, FilmAbdi’s work delves deep into themes of black joy and love in the vibrant capital. Drawing upon their educational background as a historian, they skillfully bridge the gap between the past and the present through their lens.
In FilmAbdi’s photography, stories unfold that celebrate the beauty and love within their community, painting a vivid picture of life in London. With a keen focus on the rich tapestry of black culture, they aspire to create a visual narrative that transcends time. Their hope is that, in the years to come, their compelling photographs will serve as a profound representation of London in the 20s, capturing the spirit and energy of an era for generations to appreciate and learn from.
“I am inspired by my peers and their achievements, it strives me to work hard and continue to learn new skills and explore all creative avenues. My goal in photography is deeply rooted in telling the stories of black londoners. Through my project “Summer Is Ours,” I want to create a ten year archive highlighting experiences, triumphs and momentous occasions in the black British community. I’m trying to preserve a legacy while actively contributing to the narrative of the present by being outside and documenting these events. My aspirations extend beyond photography, I am trying to delve into directing and cinema, I consider myself someone who has curiosity for new challenges so this is something I am definitely trying to get into.”
DJ L.A.J is an international, self-taught female DJ who embarked on her journey during lockdown. Her passion and talent have had her booked abroad over 40 times worldwide, spanning across the United States, Africa and Europe. Her remarkable skills have earned her coveted spots on the most prominent radio shows in the UK and exclusive events such as the BRIT Awards after party. She has also DJ’d for icons such as Idris Elba, Michael Dapaah, Odion Ighalo and more. Managing herself for the past three years, she continues to be in high demand, celebrated, and widely recognized in the music industry.
“Jesus inspires me. When I read the Bible and the way He went through life and how He handled situations He inspires me so much. He reminds me that I can overcome anything and can do anything I put my mind to through His strength – I legit feel like superwoman when I think about Jesus. Sometimes I read the stories of Jesus and I am in awe like wow you handled it that way? Great let me go and apologise for that offence now haha and wow you died just for me – there will be none greater.”
My aim for my career journey is definitely to be a household name for female DJ’s within the UK. They will know L.A.J everywhere in the UK and then I push for an international reach – inspiring female DJ’s across the world. Afrobeats is most definitely my niche and it’s incredible to be pushing the culture at such a time as this and I aim to keep on doing that. The L.A.J brand will grow and it will not just be for DJing. I want to build a platform that will educate and inspire others wanting to potentially join the entertainment industry.”
Black Things UK is the media company that positively promotes the culture in entertainment, sport and enterprise. Through providing innovative social media management services, insights and promotional content, Black Things UK helps organisations servicing Black communities increase engagement and revenue. The company works with the likes of Disney, Paramount Pictures and Universal Music to create engaging content that inspires, educates and entertains. Above all, Black Things UK is committed to keeping positivity, integrity and authenticity as the core of all it does.
“As a company, we’re inspired by amplifying the beauty of the culture and doing our part to level the playing field for Black communities. We’re working towards being internationally renowned as the media company that spotlights and serves Black cultures while staying true to our ethical core.”
Michelle Smith is an aspiring film producer and co-founder of Lethally Her, a community-based business dedicated to empowering women to strike the harmonious balance between health and hustle. Her journey in the world of production was catalyzed when she started working with paq as their in house producer, an organisation that played a pivotal role in launching her career. Before her role at paq, Michelle owned an open-access textiles print studio, providing students and fashion designers with affordable printing facilities, working with renowned fashion brands like Burberry, Craig Green and Christopher Raeburn, printing their collections for fashion week.
With a profound passion for storytelling and an impressive portfolio of work that includes projects for global brands like Nike, Spotify, and Converse. Michelle’s experiences in the industry have only deepened her determination to craft content and films that inspire, uplift, and profoundly connect with audiences. Michelle is not merely a filmmaking enthusiast; she is a relentless advocate for breaking down barriers and creating opportunities. She leverages the power of storytelling and community to inspire and elevate women and Black communities in the world of film and beyond. Her overarching mission is to foster prosperity and empowerment for all, drawing on her multifaceted expertise and an extensive history of impactful collaborations.
“My aim for my career journey is that I’m working towards becoming a film producer so I can eventually win an Oscar and continue to empower my community through Lethally Her and brand partnerships.”
Nelson is a multifaceted entrepreneur and innovator in the music and digital media industry. He is the driving force behind 9bills, a platform dedicated to the discovery and promotion of music talents, particularly in the UK rap scene. With a keen eye for trends and a deep understanding of digital landscapes, he specialises in creating engaging content and marketing strategies, helping artists connect with audiences globally. Consulting on digital strategies with Atlantic records & with renowned talent like Stormzy & Unknown T, His expertise extends to managing various businesses and ventures, leveraging technology and strategic partnerships to optimise growth and performance.
” I am inspired by the limitless potential of music and digital media to create connections, tell stories, and drive cultural movements. The transformative power of music and its ability to evoke emotions and bring people together fuels my passion for discovering and promoting new talents. The continuous evolution of digital landscapes and technologies excites me, pushing me to explore innovative approaches to content creation and marketing.”
Chakkana is a London based designer and creative. Working across talent management, global brand partnerships, marketing, creative direction and styling. Chakkana founded her brand ’SHARKKINI’, a collection of go-to essentials for the modern creative woman.
“I’m inspired by people who are pushing boundaries by creating authentic work and ideas that they truly believe in. My future aim is for SHARKKINI to keep growing in the women’s streetwear space. To keep connecting with amazing talent and creatives.”
Kehinde is a creative director based in South East London and the founder of playpiem, an underground party scene and fashion brand Wall Street Mafia.
Informed and inspired by each strand of his creative endeavours, the ability to execute ideas that enhance cultural identities and build brands within music and fashion has allowed Kehinde to push forward label Wall Street Mafia (WSM) & night life centric brand playpiem as well as managing the enginmatic MC, BXKS.
BLACKLIST 2023 Credits
Founder of the BLACKLIST: Shannie Mears
Lead Producer & Director: Anthea Agyekum
Junior Producer & Creative Direction: Sayo Olukoga
Creative Direction: Wildat Hassan
Photographer: Shenell Kennedy @shenellkennedy
DOP: Shane Duncan
Edit: Quinn Lovero
Group Photographer: Sean Kiilu
BTS Videographer: Jayden Aaron Nelson
Graphic Designer: Malaika Francique
Special thanks to our caterers: Chip N Jerk
Wildat: No list can quantify how amazing Black people contribute to the world’s culture. So it was only right I try to add themes of community and a celebratory space of achievements. Taking me back to just how we always do enjoyment the right way. Reflecting on the past year after COVID, I was in awe of how much the event industry has flourished, and it feels like a true renaissance of togetherness. The core theme of this campaign had to center on the resurgence of summer fun and gatherings and what better way to portray this message than recreating the core memories of THE COOKOUTS. So for this year’s concept there was only one mission: Enjoyment!
Sayo: To honour the essence of the BLACKLIST, this year is all about the ‘Best in The Game’. We know that culture doesn’t move until we do so it only made sense to celebrate the people shifting things and changing the game as we know it. I wanted to present them like our favourite sporting figures, think David Beckham, Micheal Jordan, Kobe Bryant. They’re all game changers and aspirational figures for people around the world, and the same can definitely be said of the BLACKLISTERS. We’re inspired by their work and see ourselves in them- if they can do it, so can we!