It’s the International Decade for people of African Descent and we have certainly made waves in so many areas.
We’ve seen a campaign for an increase in diversity begin to come to fruition in many sectors with more Black faces in the mainstream media than ever before, not to mention heads of corporations with almost 10% of awards on the New Year’s Honours list going to members of the BAME community.
Ouidah Benin hosted a commemorative event to mark and acknowledge its role in the slave trade, not something often admitted in Africa whilst the argument for reparations continue.
Public sector workers have finally been acknowledged for their contributions to British society.
Windrush comes to a head. First highlighted in 1972 but then swept under the carpet by many, or simply misunderstood at the time.
Grenfell. We watched, in horror, the fire burn and destroy lives as communities from all over the country came out to assist the victims in their distress. The battle continues for redress and the nation witnessed the high proportion of BAME community members housed in substandard refurbishment projects.
Many African emerging markets recognise and begin to take control of their resources – A long road but the journey has begun.
Jamaica is listed on the Stock Exchange and it’s PM is received by Prime Minister May to plead for the UK diaspora during the Windrush Scandal.
David Lammy rises up in protest with the unforgettable “It’s a national day of shame” speech.
Black Cultural Archives gets renewed funding thanks to the efforts of it’s longstanding chairman Dawn Hill and the new dynamic CEO Arike Oke.
Black History Month takes off with nationwide celebrations from Dorset to Southend and is firmly established in the calendars at workplaces, schools, universities and more.
100 Great Black Britons becomes a reference source bringing to the forefront the names of leading Black historical figures hidden in archives for centuries.
A significant recognition and rise of Black female composers such as Errollyn Wallen and Shirley Thompson. This is a major coup in the classical music industry considering historically female composers of any race were simply not given due credit nor airplay.
Diversity becomes the buzz word in the metropolitan, evidenced in radio broadcasting, newsreaders, journalists, corporations, fashion houses and state run organisations.
Oxbridge begin championing diversity by engaging heads of colleges from BAME backgrounds.
Windrush Generation- it is finally acknowledged that they did not rely on the state for housing benefits and handouts but, to the contrary and due to circumstances many bought their own homes and worked hard to support their families often in occupations the “indigenous” population did not care to do.
With great resilience Doreen Lawrence continues the fight for justice and clarity at personal cost.
Gina Millar uses her resources to tackle national issues based on her belief of what is right and just.
Mo Ibrahim remains in the Forbes List of Black Billionaires.
First Black Briton, Steve mcQueen awarded an Oscar for 12 years a slave.
Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island is staged as a play at The National Theatre and The Long Song, set in Jamaica, is produced as a television series. Both give untold insight into the lives of many Jamaicans and their history.
Michelle Obama comes to the UK to a sellout audience to promote her bestselling book Becoming.
First BAME Mayor of London.
James Cleverly appointed chairman of the Conservative Party.
Diane Abbott becomes a household name.
Prince Harry marries mixed race Meghan Markle in 2018 and baby Archie is born in 2019.
Sir David Adjaye becomes the most celebrated architect with structures spanning the globe and there are more in the pipeline.
Windrush achieves its own National Day on 22nd June each year with a monument approved for Waterloo Station.
Historian David Olusoga OBE chronicles disturbing and revealing hidden facts again locked away in archives for centuries
Mary Seacole statue unveiled at St Thomas’ Hospital facing towards the Houses of Parliament, epitomising the beauty of her character and service.
2019 saw the first Black British Theatre Awards.
SOUL FEST (Screening Our Unseen Lives) film festival is launched at the BFI and set to become an annual 2 day event.
The Olympics, already well documented was an all inclusive extravaganza from the music to the shows, choreography and some foods by leading members of the BAME community.
The work of Simon Frederick, self-taught artist, producer of the award winning documentary series Black is the New Black and They’ve Gotta Have Us is exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery.
This listing is far from exhaustive and merely reminds us of the extraordinary things that ordinary people achieve. For each one there are 100 more whose stories though untold, are just as inspiring which can only be a good thing.
The photos below list some further achievements and notable events:
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