GUAP’s 30 Under 30 is back with its 5th edition of The BLACKLIST with @adidasUK
The BLACKLIST returns for its fifth year celebrating Black talent across an array of different industries supported by adidas.
The BLACKLIST 2022 has arrived.
Firstly, thank you for rocking with us. If we take a trip down memory lane, 5 years ago we started The BLACKLIST to showcase individuals we felt like deserved the spotlight during a month that celebrates us.
Done by us. For us.
Black British history in the UK often feels past tense. We pay homage to those who came before us and we often reflect on where we’ve come from.
It’s time to pay it forward. We are changing, constantly evolving and we’re still making history. We’re doing that in the present, the right now and that’s what the Blacklist is here to do. Show you the now.
We are championing the ones who keep working, keep pushing and stay winning. From throwing parties to conferences. We do it all. They are 9-5’ers, activists, artists and practitioners, legal experts and beyond. We see them and we see you. Those that are giving to our community everyday, the music professionals who are paving the way. Those in film and those in TV.
The fifth instalment of the BLACKLIST sees the continuation of the collaboration between GUAP and longstanding partner adidas. After years of collaborating on a plethora of different projects, adidas will continue to invest and provide exciting opportunities to some of the most inspiring young talent, including members of the Blacklist 2022.
5 years on we want to honour our BLACKLISTERS. But we don’t wanna stop here, for the first time we have our collaborative partners across the globe NATIVE. Giving us some incredible talent also shining! GUAP has continued to serve the communities that we feel deserve the power and appreciation. We want you to know that although you see a list of deserving individuals, you too are incredible.
To any Black maker reading this, we see you. Beyond Black history month you are valued and deserve to be. After 5 years of honouring talent we have continued to build a great platform.
We have done so with the support of some great partners, and we want to give a massive shoutout to adidas who are this year’s sponsors of The Blacklist 2022.
Foreword By Shannie Mears
Every year GUAP seeks to honour the creative, cultural and consistent hustles of 30 young black trailblazers across various industries who deserve to be spotlighted and celebrated for all to see.
In collaboration with adidas, GUAP’s BLACKLIST stands as one of the many creative collaborations with adidas to which the brand has remained committed to providing BLACKLIST members and young talent within our network creative opportunities aligned with their passions. As the home of emerging creatives, we are dedicated to honouring those whose diligent and life-enriching work goes unnoticed and uncelebrated by mainstream awards systems that exclude intersections of Black creativity, culture, social awareness and so much more.
Without further ado, we bring you The BLACKLIST 2022!
James Corbin (@corbincaptures)
James Corbin is a plus-sized high fashion model, presenter, activist, online-blogger, television & radio producer and writer. Hailing from South London, James has established himself as a rising star in the UK fashion, TV and cultural network. Beginning with his YouTube channel, ‘Corbin Captures’ which to date has nearly 1M hits, James used this platform to engage in progressive conversations about male body image and inclusion in fashion. This led to him being scouted for his first modelling job in Vogue Italia, 2020. James is now represented globally as a high fashion model with some recent credits including – Vogue, Gucci, Valentino, Dazed Magazine, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, GQ Magazine, Perfect Magazine, iD Magazine, Levi’s and many more.
James is a leading role model in the industry and continues to carve a space for authentic Black representation in fashion. His passion for discussing and writing about relevant socio-political issues helps to facilitate important conversations within the Black community and the fashion industry at large. Tackling industry related problems with the hope of driving tangible change, James is currently working on a personal documentary project that delves into colourism in the UK and his own experiences with self-acceptance. Notably, his production and TV work includes; Channel 4’s infamous Black-to-Front movement, that saw the reboot of British show, the Big Breakfast, The Mandela Project – that started community projects across the world, in honour of Nelson Mandela (available on YouTube Originals/BET) and several BBC Radio 1 Xtra shows. Outside of his fashion, film & TV work James is part of the Flock Together collective, that opens a space for POC to bird watch in safe spaces across the world.
James’ career goals are to entertain and educate others. Teaching people about his struggles outside of his own race and community so that real change can be done. His aspiration is to work on an international level, expanding his range of projects across multiple facets of creativity – be this modeling, presenting, acting or production. Providing others like him the same opportunities to work across culture, fashion and the arts and calling people to walk right beside him in the industry.
Ameir Brown (@_amrxi)
Ameir Brown is a 28 year old Jamaican-British screenwriter from Birmingham who has written on several upcoming shows from Candice Carty-Williams’ BBC/Netflix drama ‘Champion’ to the recently announced Steven Knight and Stephen Graham drama ‘1000 Blows’ for Disney+. A screenwriting graduate of London Film School, Ameir garnered interest just a year after graduating when, in 2019, his comedy-drama ‘Nu-Britannia’ won the BAFTA Rocliffe for comedy. Since then he has also been on the Brit List for his historical drama, ‘Tivoli’ which is in development in the USA. Ameir continues to develop his own original projects in a range of genres and mediums from dramas to comedies and even anime.
“What inspires me – My heritage and identity are the main elements that inspire me to tell stories. I’m black, millennial, Jamaican and an immigrant and all of these factors remain important aspects of my storytelling. I’m driven particularly by the fact that none of the groups I mentioned above that I fit into have been represented well in film and TV. I think the time is ripe to take our narratives back and tell our own authentic stories and this is something I aim to do throughout my career.
I’m pleased that I’ve been able to explore my identity through my writing and I will continue to champion us in all my works as I grow in the industry. I don’t plan to slow down anytime soon and I believe I’ll be able to wear many hats from writer to producer to production company owner, the way I’m feeling right now is the sky is the limit.”
Eneni Bambara Abban (@thetechover)
Eneni Bambara-Abban is a multi award-winning robotics engineer, creative technologist, philanthropist and filmmaker. She has worked in multiple tech sectors, from developing computer vision algorithms for self-driving cars to data analysis and optimization for some of the biggest gaming apps in the World.
Since 2015 she has independently organised, self funded and contributed to over 30 coding and robotics workshops in Africa, the UK and virtually with over 1000 attendees. Recipient of the UK 2021 Rising Star in Tech, Eneni has gone on to win multiple awards and recognition globally. Recently she was recognised by The Institute of Engineering and Technology as an engineer that has greatly impacted the world and future technology, alongside the likes of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.
An advocate for diversity and inclusion, Eneni has a strong passion to demystify and eradicate the negative stereotypes about STEM and limiting societal expectations placed on young people, that deter them from pursuing technological careers. As a solution, she created The Techover Foundation, an international non-profit organization on a mission to educate, inspire & support the next gen into STEM especially those from underserved backgrounds. Through her most recent outreach program, sponsored by Arduino, she taught over 50 girls affected by Boko Haram in rural Nigeria how to build their first robot with sustainable and renewable materials.
Eneni is also the Founder of Anime and Chill, a safe and inclusive community for people interested in anime and/or gaming to come together, cosplay, watch movies, play games, and network regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race. They have done over 30 events in the UK with nearly 2000 members globally and have been sponsored and supported by companies such as Manga UK, Funimation, Bandai Namco, Electronic Arts, and CrunchyRoll.
“I’m inspired by the haters. By those that say you can’t, when you know you can. Growing up through school and university I often wrestled with imposter syndrome and negative comments – to the extent that many times I considered dropping out of robotics or hid the fact I liked anime. I never want another young person to ever feel like they can’t love or pursue something because of a lack of representation, community or support. I want to create spaces for people to unapologetically and authentically be themselves. I’m excited for the future and hoping my next project will do just that. I am currently the Executive Producer of “S.T.E.M” – a full length feature film with support from We Are Parable and Channel 4 about a Scientist, Technologist, Engineer and Mathematician all trying to navigate love, life, identity and career as 4 young black women in the UK. The intent is to create visibility of black women currently thriving in these roles, share their personal stories and ultimately encourage more young girls to pursue these careers through the film.”
Moyosore Briggs (@moyosorebriggs)
Moyosore Briggs was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She began her art career as a self-taught event photographer and currently works as a photographer & model in London, where she also works within the Web3 space not only as an artist but as a community lead and creative technologist. Alongside her photography, Moyosore’s art practice encompasses writing and publishing. She’s worked as a contributing editor on multiple publications, as well as self-publishing her own written & photographic work.
Moyosore’s current art practice revolves around photography and digital manipulation through the use of AI technology, exploring self-portraiture and in particular within her photography she tries to find the beauty within the poor image. Her current work, self-portraiture, fashion event photography, as well as her written work focus on the intersection of self, individuality, fashion and sexuality.
Through imagery that is both extremely dark but also vivid and full of colour, she explores these themes in relation to herself and those around her. Moyosore pulls inspiration from anything that she comes into contact with – friends, cinema, music or even something as small as a shared look with another person. Everything inspires her to create. She plans to continue working as an artist, predominantly within Web3 further expanding her horizons not only as a creator but as an educator and curator.
Daze aghaji (@dazeaghaji)
Daze Aghaji is a London based Youth Climate Justice Activist who focuses on Regenerative Cultures, Intersectionality, Radical Social Justice and Youth Political Engagement in her work. Described by The Guardian as “a ball of energy, conviction and warmth”, Daze’s advocacy for radical systemic change has led her to work with many leading charities, institutions, governments and grassroots change-makers globally. Known best for her high profile political campaigning, she has sued her government, ran for election and lobbied institutions for meaningful change.
In 2019, she became the youngest candidate to stand in a European Parliamentary election and ran under the banner of a Climate and Ecological Emergency Independent to bring awareness to the need for political will in addressing the climate crisis. In 2020, amidst the pandemic Daze lobbied the Royal College of Psychiatrists to recognise eco-anxiety, researched the topic and created tools to support young people. Alongside this ran the beginnings of a successful Judicial review against the UK’s Government forcing the release of a Net-Zero Strategy ahead of COP26. She has strong ties with the climate movement Extinction Rebellion since its early days and she was a founding member of the movement’s youth branch. Daze has a background in communications, formerly Director and Creative Director of Earthrise Studio, a creative agency dedicated to communicating the climate crisis.
She is currently an Artist in Residence at Phytology, the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, Artistic Environmental consultant at the Gate Theatre, Speaker as well as a Climate Justice Consultant working alongside global corporations and governments. Daze’s work is rooted in deep love, duty and care for all life; she continues to passionately organise with many grassroots campaigns and organizations for climate justice.
Sofia Akel (@sofiaakel)
Sofia Akel is a cultural historian & producer, researcher, Black British studies lecturer and founder of the non-profit, Free Books Campaign. From leading institutional strategies to tackling systemic racism, to producing entire reviews of organisational practice, her work spans numerous sectors including education and charity, publishing multiple leading research studies. This year she created her university’s only Black British Studies module focussing on resistance, joy and creativity in the capital. Sofia also freelances within the creative industries, examples include working with BAFTA award-winning director Aneil Karia and actor and musician Kano on his video ‘Teardrops,’ highlighting the disproportionate deaths of Black people in police custody in the UK.
In 2020 Sofia founded the non-profit community interest company, the Free Books Campaign where books by authors of colour are given to those who cannot afford or access them. Since its founding, they have partnered with Marcus Rashford’s Book Club, Vintage Books, Broccoli Productions and hosted their first-ever book festival in Peckham, London. Getting over 5,000 books into new homes. Her work has been featured in The Guardian, Channel 4 News, ITV News, GRM Daily, Al-Jazeera English, NBC, Huffington Post, The Strategist (New York Magazine), BBC Radio London, gal-dem and more.
[Sophia on answering on her career goals and what inspires her]
“Us. What inspires me daily is the creativity, the joy and resistance, the full multitudes of being that we as Black communities experience throughout our lives. It’s in the way that we hold space for each other, celebrate each other, uplift each other. It is in the living despite, not in spite of what were handed. I’ll continue dedicating my career to archiving our stories, making our history, experiences and narratives accessible, rooted always in authenticity, justice and love.”
Ghadir is a 23 years old from North London who does A&R at XL Recordings when they’re not producing music content for No Signal, or doing the door for RECESS.
Starting out working at start up brand research agency ‘ON ROAD’ as a junior researcher and producer, Ghadir worked on projects for brands such as Google and Nike, notably creating insights for Nike’s iconic “Londoner” campaign, and Google’s launch of YouTube Music.
Despite working with top brands, music was always the end goal. In 2019, whilst freelancing as a producer and doing the door for RECESS, your wcw’s favourite night out, Ghadir began scouting at XL. The pandemic, as well as the genesis of No Signal Radio in 2020, meant she could put all her time and energy into music. She has since supported and empowered artists through No Signal with work such as the #NSYearbook campaign, as well as co-managing artists and working full time at XL as an A&R.
“Artists inspire me, they make me passionate about my work. It’s important for people working in music to be committed to sharing great music with the world and I hope I’m able to do that. The goal is to build more opportunities for myself and my peers as well as the artists I work with. I hope to be able to hire wavy young black people like myself so we can all eat!”
Danielle Jinadu (@daniellejinadu)
Danielle Oreoluwa Jinadu is a Warwick Law Graduate, disability advocate, speaker, fashion content creator and writer. Named a Next Gen Trailblazer by Prince Harry and Megan, nominated by Maro Itoje; she has utilised her voice to inspire change in the Global Health community. As best demonstrated through her TED x Talk ‘The Big Black Blood Issue’, speaking engagements at Google x Facebook and appearances on BBC Africa and ITV news.
She hopes to play a role in changing the discourse surrounding chronic illness, namely sickle cell, and equip other disabled people with the tools they need to develop self-advocacy skills. A skill which she realised was essential during her studies as a black disabled woman in a prestigious educational institution. She is committed to the work of creating spaces for people with the same challenges as her to feel recognised and also supported in such institutes. She’s constantly pushing for necessary reform within the healthcare system on practices concerning sickle cell care.
As an emerging fashion content creator and writer; she hopes that through her platform on social media she can provide a space where black women can see themselves as multifaceted and nuanced. Through her own styling, she aims to facilitate more ethical and sustainable practices around clothing. Focusing on restyling and restoring principles, in addition to a quality over quantity mantra and approach. As a content creator, in a sector and niche that often forsakes black disabled women’s experiences, she wants to assist in creating a space where others can feel free to show up as themselves, in places where they may not have seen themselves before. Inspiring others to cultivate their own sense of style.
The goal – for the high fashion world to have an influx of more inclusive beauty, black and disabled women alike!
Mr I Am Next (@mr.iamnext)
Born and raised in South London, from a place called Battersea – Seshie’s heritage comes from Ghana and St. Lucia. From an early age, Seshie always had an ear for music and was creatively gifted. He first began singing, acting and beatboxing at primary school which led to many opportunities coming his way.
After singing, he participated in the school choir and performed at the Royal Festival Hall. At the age of 12, he flew out to Ghana and performed with Donnie McClurkin in front of 20,000 people for a Gospel festival. Seshie has won a number of beatboxing competitions, has been on tour with Borough’s United for beatboxing and has opened up for the Queen’s Jubilee. He has featured in 2 short films which further led him into the direction he was creatively seeking.
In 2013, Seshie began working independently within the music industry and was selected by Battersea Arts Centre to take part in a programme for the youthcalled The Agency. These were creative workshops for people aged 16 to develop their own entrepreneurial ideas through creative workshops at Providence House. They explored the needs of the local area, walked the streets to gain support for their plans and invited local community to give feedback. The aim of the programme was a chance for them to gain £2000 in funding for continued mentoring, support and growth in their business ventures. During his time at BAC, Seshie met many people in leadership roles which inspired his hunger to create a new music platform showcasing local talent.
This is when IAMNEXT officially launched. March 2014, he received an additional £5,000 in funding from the Wandsworth Youth Opportunity Fund and ran his FIRST EVER large-scale event in 2014 with grime artist Stormzy as the headliner.
Chris Chuky (@Chris.Chuky)
Christopher Chuky is a director, writer, and actor who has produced numerous narrative-based music videos internationally for well-known musicians, some of which have appeared on MTV Music Video of the Week and have also won and received nominations for multiple accolades for his short films and music videos. He is now accepted as a BAFTA Connect member in recognition of his contribution to the film industry to date and his promising career ahead. His acting career in films began when he entered theatre school as a child. He then appeared at the National Theatre, where he gained the attention of an acting agent. Acting in several theatre, film, music video, and commercial productions gave him the inspiration to start producing his own content.
“I have a vivid imagination so it’s easy for me to become lost in my thoughts and create stories that motivate me. Some of the stories I’ve written may have been inspired by memories. Art and photography both motivate me. I can create a whole story just by looking at a piece of art or a photo.
“I want to continue doing what I’m doing but on a larger scale and discover incredible talent and stories. I want to work in television and film and tell authentic, strong, and enduring narratives. I am motivated by the act of creating something from nothing. It’s always rewarding to work with a team and witness concepts come to life from scratch. Currently, I mentor directors and help them find their own voice within the industry, I love giving back but I would like to do more to support others.”
A HipHop & Trap DJ who sometimes dabbles in 00s Pop.
Some of Jen’s clients include The Digi Fairy, Basement Approved, G-Shock, Glastonbury, Wireless, Lancey Foux, Yung Bans, Guap Magazine, Pxssy Palace and radio-wise. Jen has also appeared on BBC Radio 1Xtra with Snoochie Shy, Balamii, NTS, Reprezent, and No Signal.
“I play what I love to listen to and the support I get from those around me, even people I don’t know when they see my name on a line-up or when I step on the stage, keeps me going.
I’d love to go on tour to DJ in HipHop hotspots around the world, teach others how to DJ – especially the really technical bits so they’re prepared for any DJ set and I’d love to finally be able to DJ full time.”
Nasra Ayub (@nasra.ayub)
Nasra Ayub is a multi-award-winning women’s rights campaigner, TEDx speaker and writer from Bristol, UK. She has recently delivered a TEDx talk called ‘What If Young People Ran the World?’ exploring the power shift of philanthropy decision-making away from traditional donors to young people. Nasra also works as an outreach worker and freelance journalist raising awareness on topics such as ending violence against women and girls and racial and social inequalities. She has been featured on The Guardian, ITV, BBC Three and BBC 1 speaking on race and other social justice issues and was a recipient of the Diana Award for her efforts to end female genital mutilation since the age of 15.
“I think what inspires me is the great need for change in this world for marginalised groups. The cost of living crisis has severely damaged future prospects for young people all across the country and now more than ever I feel like the work I do is necessary. Creating safer spaces for young people and for women and girls has been something that is important to me and has driven a lot of my reason to do the work I do. In the future, I want to continue to tell stories of marginalised communities through my writing, advocating for equality for women and girls and continue to push for more young people to have power in philanthropy through my work at Global Fund for Children!”
Blue Kizozo (@confusedcu1ture)
Blue is an anti-culture photographer from Paris living in west London . They are all about grunge, anti and underground culture.
“It’s so easy to alchemise our expressions into systems that don’t entirely represent us ! Photographing the underground scene there’s a whole different ecosystem of humanity, the inspiration and the people are so pure ! I find myself really appreciating the works of Davide Sorrenti ; he really championed grunge culture ! I aim to document the anti community , make films and be connected with my creative ego. A Black non binary woman being the face of grunge is something I aim to pursue.”
Jasmine Douglas (@transatlanticbabe)
Jasmine Douglas is a Creative Director, Cultural Producer & the Founder of Babes on Waves- the first of it’s kind members’ club connecting the next-generation of Black, Brown & underrepresented babes. Through IRL & URL community, events & programmes, BOW is disrupting how creatives network, replacing cool girl cliques & transactional energy with warmth & genuine connection. Growing up between New York, Bangkok & the Caribbean before landing in Brixton, Jasmine leans into her diverse upbringing to create inclusively-led cultural campaigns with impact for the likes of Beats by Dre, Size?, Reebok, Converse & Office.
Charlie Mase (@CharlieMase1)
Charlie Mase is first and foremost an artist however, he is also known for his comedic and entertaining content online. Finding it difficult to grow awareness as an artist, Charlie began to create engaging content on his social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter & TikTok, using his witty and entertaining personality as leverage where he performs comedic rants on social about current topics. He aims to bring humour to people’s phone screens whilst sneaking in subtle messages to his audience. As his brand continues to grow he has now added hosting, presenting and podcasting to his portfolio of services.
“I’m inspired by creative arts as a whole. People all across the board thriving in their respective fields, all contribute to the inspiration I get. From Munya Chawawa to Clint419 to the Guap boys, I’m inspired and continuously motivated to continue to explore ways of using my gift to positively impact society. My aims are world domination and recognition in music, fashion & the world of acting. As well as growing a community of young adults (black men particular); focused on self development, self reflection, self acceptance and just ways of spreading love authentically & unapologetically through the use of creativity & service.”
Sham Steele (@shamsteele), Jahmel Coleman (@jamcoldman) & Kieran Hughes (@kieranjhughes)
“Your Global Neighbourhood” – TRPHSE is an independent platform specialising in events, radio and music. With the experience of hosting events both nationally and overseas in Paris, LA & Toronto.
Born out of frustration with the lack of spaces playing their niche Soundcloud finds, founders Jahmel, Shamari and Kieran started the brand in 2016. First, hosting secret-house parties, where they would showcase their taste-making through cross-mixing genres and testing experimental tracks with the audience. Later expanding into club spaces, festivals, warehouses and a range of brand collaborations. TRPHSE’ ethos is maintaining their distinctively welcoming house party vibe no matter their location
What inspires us?
We’re constantly inspired by individuals from our brand’s community and remain driven by our desire to continue to offer unique experiences.
We aim to continue to build our neighbourhood of like-minded people, offering a safe space for them to connect. Alongside, broadening the reach of our platform to uplift and spotlight creatives within underrepresented scenes internationally.
ATG Musick (@atgmusick)
Born in Newham, East London, Alexander The Great more commonly known as ATG has helped craft the new urban UK Genre. As well as Afrobeats, R&B and universal Rap in an era of smooth tones and hard hitting 808s ATG has found his formula and it sounds almost too sweet to the ear.
Being influential in the underground UK Afrobeats scene ATG has been responsible for Abra Cadabra’s ‘F**k Valentines’ & ‘My Hood’ as well as Paigey Cakey’s ‘Loving’ Featuring Geko and hit song ‘Hurt Nobody’ by UK rapper Sneakbo . Working with other UK acts such as Belly Squad, Lotto Boyz, Tion Wayne, Ms Banks, Skrapz, Mulla Stackz and many more ATG remains integral to the growing UK sound influencing its youth culture.
His sound also spreads across the waters having credits with international acts such as Burna Boy, Wande Coal, Beenie Man, Oxlade & Davido, L.A.X, 1DaBanton etc Having Nigerian roots in addition to his British national, ATG’s sound guarantees nothing but electric energy, sweet melodies and heavy hitting baselines throughout his works.
Heather Moradeyo (@hevedeyoo)
Heather is a queer Nigerian TikToker who also happens to have Schizophrenia. Several things about her are uncomfortable to society, “I am a woman, I am gay, I am a person of color, and I suffer from mental illness. I always say that my existence in itself is activism”. With TikTok, she helps people feel seen, heard, and valid. Since Heather left Nigeria at 17, she has been a carer, professional pastry chef, marketing executive, and now a creator. Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve left my mark.
“I’ve gone from being the only black chef in a fine dining kitchen to being openly gay in a country where my sexuality is punishable. I am many things but before anything, I am Heather. A girl in her mid twenties trying to navigate life and sharing her journey. The stuff I do, making tik toks and working with brands I love, makes my heart happy. Now you can be who you want and succeed. I’m proud to live in this era. My life is a testament to the fact that anything is possible. I won’t let schizophrenia, homophobic laws, or patriarchy hold me back. I’m Heather, here I am.
Being a creator came from documenting my journey of being a queer Nigerian and dealing with mental health issues. Organically it grew and I have found myself in a position I never thought was attainable. Besides gaining a new family online, I got to be the role model 12 year-old Heather would have wanted. The people who are going through it like me, inspire me. The struggle of being black and queer, fighting against what society tells us we should be, and breaking the stigma of mental illness. The truth is, I get inspiration from my followers. I wouldn’t be here without their encouragement and support. My career goals would be to continue creating a safe space for all people who are queer and black. I hope to educate Nigerians (and all cultures) that mental health isn’t a curse. As with any medical issue, mental health issues should be taken seriously and treated with respect. All I can hope for is to grow my platform and let others speak. My goal is to always make my inner child proud.
Wherever God takes me from here, I’m ready.“
Gabrielle Oke ( @gabeepaints)
Gabrielle is a Visual Artist and Actress who can be found on Netflix playing Miss. Cordelia Partridge, in Bridgerton Season 2. Hailing from Hertfordshire, Gabrielle’s journey into acting was a strange yet stereotypically Nigerian route: Warwick University to Corporate Advertising before packing it all in for Acting school. After fighting her artistic inclination in the name of stability for far too long, Gabrielle gave in to the call in 2018 only to find herself graduating into the pandemic. She used Art to get through this period painting portraits that garnered far more attention than she anticipated, leading eventually to being commissioned by Supermodel Adut Akech and also into the world of set design assisting on sets for the likes of Vogue, Burberry, Ted Baker and Selfridges to name a few. Her latest artistic endeavour is the launch of Sip & Paint parties (which you should definitely come to!). As soon as restrictions officially lifted, Gabrielle quickly found herself on screen 1st on BBC’s ‘Doctors’ & ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’ then on ‘Bridgerton’ and most recently, the lead for short film ‘The Golden Boy’ produced by Academy Award Winners Slick Films set to release at the end of 2022.
“My life has been surrounded by academics, my family are so academically & business savvy, it’s mad to me! I was pressed to be part of team ‘started from the bottom (of the corporate ladder) now I’m here’ which led me to deny what was in me. It was my Nigerian parents – to my surprise – who came here to provide me a better future that first questioned why “ a better future” to me looked so corporate. Why could better not look artistic? They inspired me to see my denied passions as a route to the “success” I’d been searching for. I believe as a community we have progressed so incredibly within the corporate landscape of this country and believe we are en route and can do the same within the creative arts sector.
I’m inspired to be part of the team that reveals to our community that we are also capable of making our wildest dreams a real career, that it’s not reserved for the anomalies and uniquely talented! I’m inspired by those who have done it visibly; Michaela Coel, Daniel Kaluuya and those doing it more covertly. I want to see more Oluwole Omofemi at Sotheby’s, more people who look like us telling stories like ‘Normal People’, more Seth’s and Akhile’s of Resolve Collective. The more camera operators, producers, sound engineers, lighting gaffers like @lightingbyjoe etc who look like us the better and more representative the storytelling. I really believe this can only happen when we as a community have a respect for the Arts like we have for white collar jobs. The more of us out there, the less we have to restrict ourselves and those that come after us into believing that a future outside the corporate world is a future defined by instability and uncertainty. I continue to aspire to be part of the movement to make this happen and aim to be a multi-disciplinary example of how it can be done.”
Janay Marie (@janaymariexo)
Janay Marie is a Community, Programmes and Events Manager at TikTok, working closely with creators and partners. She looks at pivotal moments within the year to amplify, spotlight and support Black creatives through event strategy, marketing and programming on and off the platform. Some of her work includes Stephen Lawrence Day 2021 and 2022, working with the likes of Ray BLK, Akala, Ian Wright, The Compozers, Alicai Harley and adidas, and #thisisBlack, one of the biggest TikTok events in Europe, involving 12 hours of programming, including panel discussions, DJ sets and artist performances from the likes of Kojey Radical and Rachel Chinouriri for Black History Month last year, and most recently, an activation with Notting Hill Carnival – collaborating with Ebony Mas Band.
“My tribe. My support system. They’ve been my biggest inspiration – from my parents, my family, and my friends. They’re the ones that inspire me and keep me going. It’s so easy for us to make it look like we have it all together but we all have our days. I am so blessed to be around pioneers that personally, professionally and emotionally have the capacity to support me on the level that they do. I would be nothing without them.
I aspire to keep doing what I am for communities I work with, whether that be nationally or globally. There’s so much work to be done, so many levels of amplification we can put out in the world, to ensure the trailblazers we work with on a daily basis are constantly nurtured, spoken about and celebrated. There’s just so much left to do.”
Delz is a web3 startup founder, with a background in UX design and two masters degrees in marketing & innovation. Formerly a hobbyist photographer and writer, he’s now building web3/crypto startups in unique domains like NFT fashion for the Metaverse, Tradeable beats NFTs & Agricultural produce backed NFTs. He also gives talks on what he’s learnt at international metaverse/web3 conferences and was recently a finalist for the KPMG Black Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
His startup Astra, has been backed and supported by global metaverse tech companies like Epic Games, Meta & Nvidia. While Waves, another startup for trading beats as NFTs he’s building recently received a grant from Dapper Labs, to build on the Flow blockchain.
He’s most excited by figuring out product market fit puzzles to create unique use cases that onboard users to web3 and the metaverse, and collaborating with superstar teammates to go from concept idea to working products that excite users.
Rakeem Omar (@Rakeemomar)
Birmingham’s own Rakeem Omar is a presenter, documentary filmmaker & an award-winning journalist. Currently he is the new breakfast show presenter at BBC Radio WM in Birmingham.He is also a cover presenter at BBC Radio 1 & co-host of ‘The Midlands Show’ on No Signal, platforming music from black midlands artists. As a Channel 4 Investigative Journalism MA alumnus, he is passionate about documentary storytelling & has worked with the likes of the BBC, MTV, Channel 4 & Guap Mag.
“I’m inspired by us. There are so many black people across the UK who are thriving by creating the change they’ve wanted to see. I never believed I could do the things I’m doing now – especially being from Birmingham. God willing, I’ll continue, and that teenager with the dreams they think are too big realise they can do it all init.”
Ignitious is an artist and tech entrepreneur. Since an early age Ignitious has been excited about bringing people together to share in unique experiences. Ignitious runs Style & Sound, a content and events platform that brings creatives together to share information, resources and opportunities.
“I am inspired by the excitement that comes from taking the time to understand what’s going on around you and then taking the time to figure out how to make things better. I hope in the future I’m able to build bigger and more exciting projects that can make life better for more people.”
Mahaneela is a multi-faceted artist, who at a young age explored her love for photography and filmmaking. Coming from a long lineage of visual and musical artists on both sides of her family, her work takes inspiration from her multi-cultural background and the storytelling of diasporic history across South Asia, the Caribbean and Africa.
Over the last few years, the director/photographer has created content for some of the most influential and exciting brands in the world, such as Nike, Google, Apple, Gucci, and Meta, as well as working with prominent record labels XL Recordings, Young Turks, Sony Music, etc. She has photographed artists such as Mercury Prize award winning Sampha, The xx, FKA Twigs, Steve Lacy, and Grammy Award winning artist Wizkid to name a few.
In her personal work, Mahaneela focuses on intimate portraiture and films that explore the experiences of people of colour across the world, documenting cultures across music, youth, and the diaspora. She hopes to provide a new vision, one that is bright, beautiful and authentic.
“For me, I’m inspired by the places and communities I am from and lucky enough to travel to. I tell stories about our histories and also our imagined futures.
In my career, my goal and purpose is to always create from a place of authenticity; and to use my knowledge and experience to bring my community into the process of storytelling; which historically has felt inaccessible; so that there are more people who look like or come from similar backgrounds to myself, behind the camera and behind the scenes.”
Joycelyn Longdon (@climateincolour)
Joycelyn Longdon is a Cambridge University PhD student and environmental activist-academic. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining specialised and dynamic methods to investigate the role of technology in forest conservation. She is also the founder of climateincolour, an online education platform and community for the climate curious. Its purpose, to make climate conversation more accessible and diverse, has garnered a community of 30k+ conscious and curious individuals. The platform is a launchpad for critical conversations, with Joycelyn often infusing a much needed element of hope and easily digestible information into the climate and environment space.
“I am inspired by all those who have come before me and all those who will follow me, who dedicated and will dedicate their lives to justice, joy, connection and creativity. The writers, artists, activists, mothers, campaigners and scientists who through ingenuity, determination, motivation, fearlessness and individuality made the world a better place in their own way. My hope for my career is that it can emulate the impact, longevity and inspiration of those who have inspired me. With my work, I want to be able to spark joy, action, peace and creative expression in those who I am lucky enough to reach and make a lasting positive impact on the world by using my voice.”
Garcia Brown (@garciaabrown)
Garcia Brown, is a 28 year old Actress & Content Creator who currently plays Zoe Anderson in channel 4’s Hollyoaks. Garcia has acted in previous roles such as Keisha in channel 4’s Shameless, Sammy in horror movie A Song from the Dark & more.
During lockdown when the audition process was scarce and the world was uncertain of what was next Garcia took her talents to TikTok & created her own 4 part comedy series named Ronald & Mitzy, this brought many people around the world laughter, entertainment and hope in such questioning times & from this she gained a support/fan base from locations like the USA, the Caribbean, the Uk, Africa, the EU & even Russia.
Okwuchukwu Jason Felix-Onyeje is a 23 year old of Nigerian heritage that grew up in South East London. Jason drew comedic inspiration from their all time favourite comedy skits; Little miss Jocelyn, created by Jocelyn Jee Esien and The Catherine Tate Show. These shows helped Jason view comedy as a way to let people inside their mind and to not be afraid to highlight everyday things in a light hearted way.
“My ultimate aim for my career is to transition into the TV & film industry. I want to bring my scripts to life to create a safe space for people to laugh and have fun. I want the nostalgia of old television, for it to act as escapism from reality. I hope that we can laugh without making people feel bad. That’s the kind of impact I want to bring back to life.”
Olivia Martin Snowsill (@oliviasnowsill)
Since Olivia was little, Olivia had been absorbed in the world of art; carrying a sketchbook everywhere in an effort to capture everything, spending weekends travelling to exhibitions and always using their creativity as a significant form of self-expression.
“As a young mixed raced woman living in London, it has been through art that I communicate and shape my experience. I enjoy exploring the physicality of human existence alongside human emotions; combining my interest in raw materials with the refinement of life drawing, text and pattern illustration. My work tends to reflect the deep interest that I have in people and their interactions; recording my daily journeys on public transport, family and friends, and the general public. Not only is art a form of relief for me, but also a means of communication. I believe that the interpretations and interactions that can be cultivated from artwork, are boundless and transformative for all. Having grown up as part of ‘Gen Z’, I am very aware of how social media has introduced a new form of detachment from real human life.
This is why people tend to be the driving force behind what I produce. As a young, mixed race woman studying art in London and I wanted to contribute to the Civil Rights movement using my artwork. I started More Than My Colour because I’m surrounded by so many phenomenal Black people whose voices often go unheard. The media feeds stereotypes and prejudices about Black people by consistently painting the entire community with the same brush. Through this project, I want people to question the preconceptions that they have based on colour and hear the stories of some brilliant Black people.”
Korrie Powell (@korrie.p)
Korrie Powell is a director and photographer of Jamaican heritage based in North London. With a strong commitment to creating story-based concepts, his art is driven by his own and shared life experiences captured and showcased through poetic narratives and imagery. An up-and-coming talent in the London photography & film scene, Korrie’s projects embody the everyday complexities of modern-day life through the lens of cinematic surrealism
“When it comes to inspiration, it is in the every day for me. I’m quite a visual person so I have to see it to be inspired by it. But a lot of it comes from the nuances in my life. I’m honoured to come from a Jamaican family that is rich in their personalities, making sure they always pass down their knowledge and stories to me, while also being super supportive of my creative career. I’m pretty fortunate to have been surrounded by such great artists and leaders in my formative years, Skepta, Bloc Party and Kendrick Lamar’s discography has been the soundtrack for my life while storytellers like Khalil Joseph and Hiro Murai have paved the same road I walk on when creating my work.
Early this year I was made the youngest partner at the advertising agency BBH where I work as a filmmaker. It was one of those milestone moments in my career along with winning a D&AD wood pencil where I was able to reflect on my progress. The future for me will be explorative, creating visual projects with nuanced narratives that we can all identify with. While taking the steps towards building my creative studio to house mine and the next generation of visual artists’ work.”
Romany Francesca (@romanyfrancesca)
Romany Francesca, a 25 year old London based black female Photographer and Founder of the modeling agency, ‘Rare Select Models’.
Founded in 2017, Rare Select Models is a dynamic London based modelling agency that proudly represents models from varied backgrounds and authentically champions diversity and inclusivity in its visual representation of models within the fashion industry. In the age of empowerment, Rare Select Models is an agency on a mission to break the stereotypes and challenge the Westernised, conformist criteria by which beauty has traditionally been measured by.
Romany Francesca has ensured that the people, brands and small to larger organisations she works with are in line with the ethos of Rare Select Models, where it strives for evolving the fashion industry for the better. Rare Select Models, an agency proud to contribute to this long overdue wave of exciting change and acceptance.