Every October, Black History Month is an opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture.
The event furthermore intends to recognise the contribution and remarkable achievements made by black Britons to help challenge negative stereotypes and eliminate racism.
To mark Black History Month this year, we asked the Spencer Clarke Group team to nominate the black Britons who are most influential to them with reasons as to why they are so inspired by them.
Here are the top 6 as nominated by our team!
As Formula 1’s only black driver, Lewis Hamilton launched The Hamilton Commission, aiming to increase the number of black people in motor racing.
Hamilton is extremely vocal in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and encourages his fellow F1 drivers to take the knee before races in support of the cause.
In November 2020, Hamilton was named the most influential black person in the UK for his work on raising awareness and his record breaking achievements on the track.
Why we love Lewis Hamilton:
“As well as being extraordinarily talented on the track, Hamilton uses his fame for good and is vocal about the need for change in the motorsport industry.”
Michaela Coel has established herself as one of the most distinguished writers/actors of her generation after creating Chewing Gum and BAFTA winning series, I May Destroy You.
I May Destroy You gives a fresh, original and unapologetic look at the lives of young black people living in the UK right now. The groundbreaking series tackled many themes including rape, friendships, sex and drugs.
Alongside this, Coel regularly speaks out and campaigns about the discrimination of black people.
Coel cites that she is glad that there are places in the world where she is unknown so that she can experience racism firsthand and continue to campaign against it.
Coel said, “I am a black woman and that will always be true. And, for me, there is nothing like going to a different country where nobody knows me and experiencing the way security guards follow me around the pharmacy or grocery shop.”
Why we love Michaela Coel
“Michaela is an absolute breath of fresh air; her series are raw, authentic and totally different to the majority of things you see on television.”
After growing up in a poverty stricken environment as a child, Marcus Rashford publicly held the government to account and waged a high profile campaign to ensure free meals were provided for children during the pandemic and school holidays.
In September 2021, Rashford called on people to write to their MP to end the ‘child hunger pandemic’ after he claimed the situation was getting “devastatingly worse.”
After Rashford missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final, he unwittingly became a symbol of the fight against racism when a mural of his face was defaced shortly after the final.
Consequently, hundreds of people gathered at the mural for an anti-racism demonstration which left Rashford “overwhelmed” by the reaction.
Why we love Marcus Rashford
“As well as carrying us through to the Euro 2020 final - and giving hope to the nation - he speaks up on issues which matter to him which is admirable and unique for someone in his position.”
Sir Lenny Henry
As well as being a much loved actor, writer, comedian and television presenter, Lenny Henry has been one of the key driving forces behind Comic Relief after co-founding it in 1985.
In 2017, after 27 years of being a Comic Relief Trustee, Lenny resigned and was appointed as an Honorary Life President.
Henry is also a staunch campaigner for better representation of the BAME community in the entertainment industry.
In August 2021, a report was commissioned by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University which found that more than half of all actors from ethnic minorities have directly experienced racism in the workplace.
The findings prompted Henry to cite that it was a "stain against the entire industry" and that “we must do better."
Why we love Sir Lenny Henry
“Sir Lenny Henry has been an icon for as long as I can remember, representing a force for good in everything in which he does.”
Nicola Adams, OBE
Nicola Adams is one of the most notable Olympians in British history after becoming the first female boxer to become an Olympic Champion in 2012. She went on to win a second gold medal at Rio in 2016 and at one point, she was the reigning Olympic, World and European Games champion at flyweight.
Adams went on to win the Sports Personality Award at the British LGBT Awards in 2019 and regularly speaks out about the discrimiantion she faces as a young, black and gay woman.
Adams made history again in 2020 for being one half of the first same-sex pairings on Strictly Come Dancing with Katya Jones.
Why we love Nicola Adams
“As well as being team GB's most successful female boxer ever, Nicola is a fantastic role model for the LGBT+ community. She never shies away from who she is, which is truly inspiring.”
Stormzy has made his mark as one of the best loved rappers and grime artists in modern times. As well as regularly storming the charts, Stormzy uses his platform for good.
After the tragic Grenfell fire in London in 2017, he contributed towards a charity single and regularly spoke out to encourage the authorities to “tell the truth” and “be accountable” for their actions which contributed towards the incident happening.
In August 2020, Stormzy's #Merky Foundation donated £500,000 to fund further and higher education for people from underprivileged backgrounds.
The money is just a small chunk of the £10 million which Stormzy has pledged over the next ten years to “support and strengthen” the black community.
Why we love Stormzy
“In today's age of celebrity, Stormzy is such a great role model. As well as being completely down to earth, Stormzy recognises the importance of giving back to the community of which he is a part of.”
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