Come Fly With GUAP & adidas for this year’s Blacklist 2021.
To celebrate Black History Month, The Blacklist has returned for its fourth year celebrating Black talent across different industries in partnership with adidas. The Blacklist is a celebration of 30 black professionals under 30 who are achieving excellence in London and beyond.
The Blacklist 2021 marks the commencement of a long-term partnership between GUAP and adidas, after years of creative collaboration on varying projects. adidas will invest in and provide opportunities to exciting young talent, including selected members of The Blacklist 2021.
GUAP wants to be remembered as the platform that recognises talent who typically haven’t had the opportunity to be celebrated and don’t often think they should be. GUAP uplift those who do what they do because of sheer passion and joy. Whilst adidas is a brand that celebrates creativity, empowers young talent and champions grass-root communities, with an always-on approach to welcoming new creators to the brand, cementing this partnership to be the ultimate powerhouse.
This year’s Blacklist highlights those on an incredible journey who have experienced pits and peaks, but never stopped. Over the last year, the creative and professional worlds posed serious challenges for the young. With travel restricted and borders being closed, resulted in opportunities becoming fewer and farther between. In light of this, we created our very own GUAP passports for our 2021 Blacklisters who dared to see beyond the borders and reach great heights of creativity, even when the environment did not allow it.
From 2018 we thought it was necessary to see a list where it wasn’t just about one industry, one type of person, or profession; we wanted a list that was just for us, that represented black individuals in a way we hadn’t seen before. A chance to be proud of our community excelling in different careers; chefs, presenters, make-up artists, writers, designers, activists, teachers, and the list goes on.
Every year we make it known that this is not a list of the best; we are all excellent. This is not a list of followings or favourites. It is simply a list highlighting individuals we have chosen to champion and shout about for all the things we see them doing, but let it be known we see you too.
Thank you to all our Alumni for trusting us with your stories, to our partners both past and present. A very big thank you to our lead partner adidas. As well a special thank you to Chivas Regal for their support, our lead producer, Anthea Agyekum and co-creator of the Blacklist, Shannie Mears.
This year’s Blacklist represents the resilience of our community, and we come together today in celebration. Find out more about the future of the community and hear more from the Blacklist on adidas here.
GUAP introduces ‘The Blacklist 2021’.
Adéṣayọ̀ Tàlàbí –@simplysayo
Adéṣayọ̀ Tàlàbí, also known as Simply Sayo, is a content creator, journalist and performance poet best known for her satirical takes on contemporary topics and news events in her own style of poetry that she calls “kpoetry”. She is one of the UK’s most creative influencers, with a prominent following on Instagram and Tiktok. Her witty poems are a combination of her bubbly personality, love of wordplay, and Yorùbá heritage as her interesting pronunciations will leave you questioning the English language. Her takes on both serious and lighter topics have kept millions of people both entertained and informed during the lockdown.
Her aspirations are world domination in the long term. In the short term, her aspirations are to focus on her crafts of poetry, content creation and leveraging her personality to spread joy.
Akeil Onwukwe-Adamson – @akeiloa @queerbruk
Creative, Writer and advocate are just some of the words that describe Akeil Onwukwe-Adamson. With expertise and knowledge on a range of topics, from grassroots culture to LGBTQIA+ rights, he has worked with mega-brands such as Nike, Clark’s, Absolut and Kangol during his time in PR. A Londoner through and through, he has built Queer Bruk, a successful platform and club night for queer people of colour, creating connections through Afro-Caribbean music and culture. Queer Bruk aims to bring black music to the queer nightlife space, with London being the perfect backdrop for diversity, inclusion and incredible vibes. His diverse network extends to influential individuals within fashion, the arts and journalism, which aids him in his continued advocacy of both LGBTQIA+ people and people of colour.
Akeil told GUAP, “I want to continue to grow Queer Bruk as a platform; taking it international, creating bigger events for people, working with more incredible QTIPOC creatives, hosting more sober space events, and eventually running my own Queer, Black festival in the UK. Our dream is to do the festival outside of your typical Pride season, to show that queerness isn’t just for ‘Pride Month’.”
Angel Arutura – @angelarutura
Angel Arutura is an anti-racism educator, social activist and sustainability-focused content creator. She shares engaging and educational content that explores topics ranging from anti-racism and sustainability to self-love. Angel was named by the Irish Times as one of the ’50 People to watch in 2021: The best young talent in Ireland’. She has also been featured in major media outlets including ITV, RTE and BBC News.
Angel told GUAP, “My main inspiration is my little sister, I say this all the time but it’s true. When I think about her future and what I want for her, it inspires me to keep doing the work that I do. I don’t want her to face the same obstacles that I had to face growing up, I want her and other Black Children to have equal and amazing opportunities. I hope they can eventually view their heritage as something they love, rather than something which may hold them back in life.”
Angel says, “My main aims for my career is educating as many people as possible, as general as this sounds, I think just making sure my message of anti-racism, sustainability and advocating for a brighter future for all can reach as many people as possible, in the hopes of inspiring the next person to take action and make a difference. I also want to focus on my own education and after I graduate next year I will hopefully go on to do a Masters degree in Climate change and sustainability. As much as I love being on social media and doing activism work I also vision myself in a climate science career down the line.”
Bukky – @ykkub
Bukky ‘YKKUB’ Kamson is an Executive Music Producer & Manager, focused on artist development. Managing and producing the exciting UK artist Odeal, and solely producing R.A.E’s discography, YKKUB has amassed over 10 million streams within 3 years of working as a music producer, with both artists being featured in the NME 100 for 2021.
A Queen Mary School of Law alumni, YKKUB aims to pair his love for entertainment with his passion for business through his company To The Table, a management company and talent agency that seeks to add value to talent across the creative industries.
Chioma is an Actor, Visual Storyteller, and creative director of Phases Collective, an online anthology series championing the lived experiences of Black Women across the diaspora. Beginning as a content creator, she quickly learned the power of filmmaking, splitting her time both in front and behind the camera. Her work has travelled internationally, gaining audiences across the BFI, Europe, Africa, and North America.
Chioma told GUAP, “It’s all about championing untold stories, by any means necessary. As artists and filmmakers, we have the ability to hold up a mirror to society and create conversations. I’m working on continuing that. What inspires me is the process of building something from nothing. Witnessing my vision become a reality from the ground up and working alongside my team. The aim is to widen my capacity, birth more work, venture into new territories and continue collaborating with talented storytellers. This is just the beginning.”
Esi – @esildn
Esi is a DJ, broadcaster and creative director, who currently holds the rap show on Kiss fresh, – as well as running SL Agency. She has curated and produced campaigns with some of the UK’s biggest artists, including D Block Europe, Central Cee and Potter Payper. Esi started Sanctuary LDN in 2016, which was primarily in events, producing club nights, live shows, screenings and talks across London. Esi has championed UK Rap for the majority of her career and continues to break new talent on Kiss Fresh.
Esi told GUAP, “I feel like I still have so much to do, although I’m honestly so grateful to be in the position I am in my career, and to be on national radio playing the music I love and to be working with artists that I’ve admired for so long. I think I really want to start a podcast series, having long conversations with people and maybe artists that I think have a lot to say. Eventually, I’d like to own venues, studios and start a label with Sanctuary LDN. Also, a closer and more easily achievable goal is a long holiday lol.”
Flat 70 – @_flat70
Flat 70 is a non-profit art project based in Elephant & Castle. Located in the same regeneration that demolished our childhood home, our function-fluid space has been reclaimed for artists, cultural workers and local communities of colour. We exist to support artistic, therapeutic & redistributive exchange between our existing and emerging community. Established by siblings Anthony & Senam Badu, our team of black cultural workers are dedicated to influencing change at the intersection of art and urban design for future generations.
Flat 70 told GUAP, “Our way of working is simple and revolves around a mantra inherited from our Ghanaian parents’ generation: Focus, Discipline, Dedication. Applying that ethic to the five pillars of our community interest company; Artist Care, Artist Development, Financial Empowerment, Cultural Celebration & Cultural exchange is low key liberating. It frees us from worrying about doing enough or the most and allows us to build meaningful relationships and sustainable creative practices for ourselves and those we share our space with. Surely the rest will follow.”
Georgia Munroe – @george_munroe_pk
Georgia Munroe first encountered parkour/ Art du Deplacement when she was 15. She fell in love with this discipline, as she felt it empowered her to express herself. She decided to pursue a career in it as a performance athlete, supported through her team Esprit Concrete, over going to university despite meeting a lot of initial disapproval from family. over going to university despite meeting a lot of initial disapproval from family. Her performance work has also been a crucial stepping stone into the world of stunts. She’s worked as a stunt double for various productions including Wonder Woman 1984, Hannah TV series and Jurassic World.
Georgia told GUAP, “Seeing others show courage and perseverance in the face of adversity inspires me the most. This motivates me to reflect on my work ethic, challenge how I react to fear, and strive for progress. My next aim in my career journey is to train and pass my exams for the British stunt register, to become an official stunt woman.”
Imani Lara Lansiquot – @imanilara
Born and raised in South London. Imani is an Olympic, World and European medalist in the 4x100m relay and was the 2020 British Champion over 100m. Imani also graduated in 2020 from Kings College London with a degree in Psychology. Imani sits on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion board for British Athletics as an ‘Athlete Lead’ and works to improve the experience of black and ethnic minority athletes’ for the next Olympic cycle. Imani has also recently turned her away-from-track hobbies to writing, having written a play showcased by a local theatre company, celebrating her childhood and upbringing in Peckham.
Imani told GUAP, “I am inspired by being the best version of myself. Growing up, I didn’t see lots of girls who looked like me in magazines or on TV and with the huge heights I wished to achieve in my life, I began to rely on my own idea of success as a constant motivation. I relish the fact that I am nowhere near where I wish to be, and living in that constant state of learning and bettering myself is what keeps me going. I am also inspired by my family and the good values that they instilled in me from a young age.”
Imani says, “Career-wise, I would like to achieve individual global medals and push on to be one of the most established, world-class female sprinters in the world. Away from the track, I would like to continue my writing endeavours and better my craft. To write a book would be my ultimate goal, but creating anything in that space would be great. Incorporating my degree and releasing writing that informs or explores Women’s Mental Health is also another goal of mine.”
Jackson Mclarty – @blackeatsldn
Jackson Mclarty is the founder of Black Eats LDN, the UK’s first and only Black-Owned restaurant directory. Black Eats LDN features 300+ restaurants, cafes, bars, and street food spots across London & other major UK cities. With the recent launch of his “Black-Owned Hackney” event Jackson is making an even bigger social impact by encouraging the support of Black-Owned businesses not only through restaurants on the directory but also through the event which includes street food and many other non-food products including hair/skincare, home fragrance & much much more.
Jackson told GUAP, “Our mission to disrupt the food scene hasn’t changed & we will continue to highlight & give black-owned businesses the space they deserve while collaborating with partners who uplift & align with our objectives.”
Joel Ryan Borquaye – @joelryanb
Joel is a Music Editor for Spotify UK and Ireland, curating playlists for multiple genres including R&B, Hip-Hop, Afrobeats and Dancehall. He has worked on some of Spotify’s key flagship moments from the past year including Carnival Sounds in support of the world’s first virtual Notting Hill Carnival, and an editorial partnership with the UK’s hot urban platform No Signal. He is also an executive producer on Spotify’s Who We Be_TALKS podcast with hosts Harry Pinero and Henrie.
Before Spotify, he was a producer at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra working on the Rap Show with Tiffany Calver and the grime show with Sir Spyro. He started out in A&R at Kobalt/AWAL where he signed the likes of Tiana Major9, fwdslxsh and Mr Eazi.
Joel told GUAP, “I’m really passionate about everything black, black talent, black expression and black businesses. I aim to collaborate and create more spaces for black creatives like No Signal and emerging talent behind the scenes as well as those at the forefront. I’m excited to have projects at Spotify where we also look back and celebrate the amazing black people that went before us but haven’t been given their flowers from mainstream media although they had a mainstream influence.”
Karis Beaumont – @karisbeau
Karis Beaumont is a photographic artist from Hertfordshire. Her work primarily explores cultural subjects within Black life, whilst highlighting nuances, emotion & community through visual storytelling. Karis is also the founder of Bumpkin Files – a multimedia platform, submissions based archive and community resource which centres around Black life in Britain beyond the London-centric narrative, and underrepresented voices across the global diaspora.
Karis told GUAP, “Feeling, authenticity and connection inspires me the most. Discovery and emotion are the main things I hope for people to get from my work. I’m aiming for my work to be studied in the years to come and recognised across the globe. I want to be able to inspire a generation of visual artists to document the communities around them with care and intention.”
Krystal Lake – @djkrystallake
Krystal Lake teaches the “stuff that schools don’t teach” on TikTok and YouTube. Her platform centres around POC, LGBTQ+, feminism, and mental health topics. She was able to gather a following of over 400K people who were eager to hear more about their history and why they should love themselves. Her platform is here to show people that different is beautiful and that minorities are powerful.
Krystal told GUAP, “Every day I receive messages from people of all ages telling me how my video helped them realise their beauty, and that’s my main motivator, it’s why I make these videos. One day I plan to have in-person seminars and classes, but for now, catch me on TikTok. There’s so much about you to learn!”
Kwaku – @kwakud_ @streetdoctors
Kwaku is a 5th-year medical student from South East London. He is also a street doctors volunteer, a charity that teaches young people at risk of violence what to do when someone is stabbed or unconscious. He got involved due to his own personal experience with knife crime and wanted to give back to my community.
Kwaku told GUAP, “I was fortunate enough to tell my story in a campaign with the National Lottery & LadBible, which gained massive online traction. I recognise the importance of providing youth from similar backgrounds to me, visible role models who are making positive change in the community. Often, perceptions of our community portrayed by the media are negative”.
Kwaku continues, “I also work with my University on an array of Equality Diversion and Inclusion initiatives, ensuring that the university strives towards creating a stronger pipeline of able black and working-class students to gain admission and feel a sense of belonging at the university. I created an Afro Caribbean Medics Network at the university, as a community for current students and current doctors. I also work with secondary schools in local schools running research projects, delivering talks and providing mentorship to year 7-9 students”.
Kwaku adds “All the work I currently conduct tackle causes close to my heart. I am passionate about youth empowerment, as I recognise the structural barriers I myself have overcome and want to ensure those behind me can achieve their full potential. There are talented young people in all walks of life who are deprived of opportunity due to no fault of their own. I am a firm believer everyone deserves a chance to thrive as I was a beneficiary of strong support and opportunity. I hope to become a surgeon one day and help drive health policy that will address health inequalities that particularly affect black patients. I also hope to continue my youth advocacy work and social mobility work.”
Kyann-Sian Wiliams – @kynnsian
Kyann-Sian is a 20-year-old repping west London. Growing up in the ‘burbs of Hounslow, everything seemed to move too slowly for her, and others’ dreams weren’t that adventurous. So, whilst in college, she made it her mission to get into the music industry. Always one of those kids no one worried about, she wanted to be seen or heard by someone – later finding that journalism was the perfect way to do it. At 17, she got her first week of work experience at the prestigious NME. Then — barely 18 — she was the new intern that never left. As the only black writer on the editorial team, her position within NME allows her to accurately represent her people, especially in the world of rap. In her time at Kyann-Sian has interviewed some of your biggest stars; Migos, Kenny Beats, and Rico Nasty to name a few.
Kyann-Sian told GUAP, “Inspiration is one of those funny things I ask every artist all the time about, but myself, I don’t necessarily know. There are definitely people I look up to in this journalism business like Wendy Williams — the sharp-tongued radio host-turned-TV presenter. However, my true inspirations are three things; my mum, mentors and myself. My mum; self-explanatory, yet my mentors — Jordan Bassett and Emily Mackay — got me here on this list since, without them, I wouldn’t have a job! I can’t let their fight and hope in my talents go to waste neither. But for myself? A weird one but I’ll forever thank young Kyann-Sian’s drive. I’ll remember my 3-hour bus journey home from the old NME office when I was 17 after my first review went live, and I’ll forever be chasing that feeling for the rest of my life. I hope to prove that my voice is enough in any space I want to be in and that others can find inspiration in that. The future is very unknown to me; am I an editor, or am I a presenter? I could even be a plumber. I’m just trying to chop life to the fullest. ”
Kyle Parchment – @jamnvegan
Kyle Parchment is the founder of Jam N Vegan, a plant-based, sustainable, chef-prepared food service. A forever evolving journey that started in his Mothers Kitchen, which is now being shared within homes across the UK. They will soon be introducing 9 more meals, desserts and sides.
Kyle told GUAP, “What I envision for the future, is to take Jam N Vegan abroad, opening up hostels for travellers and locals but, fully vegan. During this process, I would travel and research different cultures and broaden my palette to further improve my business overall.”
Leoni Joyce – @leonijoyce
Spreading joy one post at a time, Leoni brings life to the feed-in abundance! Sharing incredible dance, lifestyle and fashion content across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Leoni’s infectious smile and laugh will have anyone engaged and she is rapidly growing an amazing community across her platforms. If you haven’t seen her dance content yet, then are you even on socials?
Leoni told GUAP, “A lot of times I look to music videos or just my imagination for creative inspiration. But when it comes to work ethic I’d have to say my parents for sure. My Dad is the most hard-working man I know I’ve never seen him miss a day of work even when he’s super ill and I grew up seeing that. My mum is a go-getter and dreamer in terms of her goals. She goes after what she wants and nothing is impossible to her. In regards to my goals and aims, I’d say it’s pretty simple; I just want to spread joy and keep growing my platform so I can spread joy even further.”
MYBLAQBOOK – @myblaqbook
Friendship duo, Giovanna and Brenda, are the co-Founders of a brand new Music PR agency, MYBLAQBOOK. After navigating through the Music and Entertainment industry over the last few years, while best describing their relationship as a ‘Dream Team’, the pair have birthed the new venture to bring their expertise to Music and culture – representing the likes of Blanco, Aluna, Prettyboy D-O, Odeal, V9, WSTRN and more. Working behind the scenes as two Black women leading press campaigns while building organic relationships with both immediate and wider teams, Giovanna and Brenda will actively seek to create an improved gender balance across their roster from year to year, committing to actively striving for change by being the change.
While Brenda started off in the industry as a writer for Link Up TV, Giovanna built up her PR experience over at Polydor, with the pair building long-standing relationships with both artists and music executives. Working in line with major labels and independent teams for both emerging and established acts, Giovanna and Brenda have gone on to work on past campaigns for artists including MAVIN Records signee Crayon, NSG, Amos, PRS Foundation and more.
Giovana and Brenda told GUAP, “We are definitely inspired by the amount of talent we come across both in the UK and globally. Each artist you meet is completely different, honing their own unique story to tell and direction to follow, which drives you to strive for the best.
As a duo working towards growing the company over the next few years, we aspire to build an agency that will continue to deliver strong, tailored, campaigns for our clients, while also creating in-house opportunities for women and female-identifying individuals in the industry. Later down the line, we look to welcome work experience opportunities too which will help get more women through the Music PR door. ”
Nasheeba – @nasheeba
Nasheeba’s self-titled sustainable, womenswear brand designs for women who love the fun in fashion and want something to set their look apart from the fast fashion brands. They utilise colour and prints with classic silhouettes to create beautiful and trendy clothes at affordable prices. All the clothes are made in the UK and use no plastic in the packaging. On the side, she also does creative work for other brands such as ‘The Ugliest’ and makes custom pieces for clients, all whilst working full-time.
Nasheeba told GUAP, “I have huge plans and expectations for my brand and look forward to expanding with my next collection which includes larger sizes and menswear. I love collaborating so if you’re interested in working with me do not hesitate to reach out.”
Peju Ayanwale – @peju.aa @aa.stasia @36.records
Peju is a Beauty Content Creator, Project Manager and co-founder of the music management company, 36 Records. Raised in South East London, this multifaceted creative decided to combine her three passions in life: music, beauty and brand partnerships into an exciting career. Peju has been featured in Allure Magazine and Elle Brasil for her colourful makeup looks, a part of Shaybo’s management team and as well-curated and produced campaigns with brands such as Adidas, W Hotels, Pepsi, Dr Martens, EA, Just Eat, Makeup Revolution and Tommy Hilfiger.
Peju told GUAP, “I hate to be a cliche but my friends and family are who really inspire me. I’m surrounded by such talented individuals in all different fields – I honestly believe God has placed these people in my life for a reason. However, it’s my mother who’s really my blueprint – as a Nigerian Black Woman whose first language wasn’t English, she managed to get a first-class degree in her undergrad and masters in project management while working a full-time job and raising a family – I feel as if she can do that, then I have no excuse in this life to not go after what I deserve”.
Peju says, “My aim for my career is to trust God and keep on creating whether it’s working with brands, the beauty content I put out, or growing the 36 Empire with my brothers – I just always want to be in a creative space because that’s when I’m truly happy. Our next venture is 36 Arc – a multi-media studio – my brother and I just launched based in South East London, come check us out!”
Qoy Lawal – @iamqoy
What would your ex say about you?’ is just one of the many hilarious but telling questions a curious Qoy asks her guest during an episode of The Safe Space Show. As a presenter, Qoy Lawal leverages her hilarious, relatable and wonderfully inappropriate perspective to make entertaining content. She is the creator, host & editor of The Safe Space Show & The Fashion Safe Space and has been featured on Halfcast Podcast, 3 Shots of Tequila, BBC London Radio, Link Up TV, 90’s Baby Show and more. Her honest and conversational interview style landed her own radio show on No Signal devoted to promoting new talent, called #NewSounds in 2020. Becoming the new official presenter for Yam Carnival. Hosting UK Entertainment Awards 2021. As well as creating ‘The Safe Space Show, of which the first episode ft. Savage Dan hit +90,000 views organically. Qoy continues to go from strength to strength.
Qoy told GUAP, “Transforming a ‘silly little idea, joke or concept’ in my mind into something others can experience is the waviest part of it all. Core to all my ideas and content is my need to experiment, explore different realities and add range to the still limited – though improving – representation of black girls/women on our screens. Sometimes, it feels like black women can only come in two flavours on our screens – ‘bad b’ or ‘woke’. What about nerdy, quirky, neuro-diverse, messy – even soft, timid or shy. Even worse, the two ‘flavours’ have to be faultless – so exhausting! I don’t depict perfection. I don’t even try to – there’s nothing more exhausting, restrictive or boring than perfection and it took me years to understand that but I’m so glad I did & this is what I share through my content and contributions. The goal is to keep creating art & content that entertains, connects & respects the ridiculous amount of range we all have – and get rich.”
Rebekah Walker – @rebekahewalker
Rebekah Walker is a dynamic presenter, voice artist, sports commentator, and public speaker who connects cultures across sports, entertainment, music, and youth culture. She currently co-hosts Tottenham Hotspur’s official Twitch channel, presenting live match watch along and content on the club’s social media channels. She has also modelled for Tottenham Hotspurs, appearing on billboards for the club’s launch of their 2021-22 home kits in and around London’s N17. Additionally, Rebekah recently presented on Sky Sports News Early Kick-off Show and was selected to present two shows on BBC Radio 1 at the start of the year that celebrated the biggest songs of 2019.
Remi Burgz – @remiburgz
Remi Burgz is a Radio DJ, Host & Personality from South London. Remi has always had a great passion for music and entertaining people, which explains her rapidly growing success in the entertainment industry. Remi began her radio career in 2017 and shortly afterwards grabbed her own live show on Reprezent Radio. She now hosts the BBC 1Xtra Weekend Breakfast Show and is the official DJ for rapper and MOBO award nominee Shaybo. Remi’s infectious energy, which lights up every room she enters, earned her the nickname “The Local Energy Provider”.
Her latest venture sees her co-hosting the newly commissioned BBC Three show #TonightWithTarget – alongside DJ Target! This is the first of its kind here in the UK as the TV show exists solely to support black British music and culture. It’s no secret Remi’s is a die-hard lover of Afrobeats which stems from her Nigerian heritage! She has interviewed high profile artists such as Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Fireboy DML, Adekunle Gold, Teni and Cassper Nyovest, but is equally passionate about platforming emerging artists in black music as a whole. This passion landed her an A&R consultancy role at the UK’s brand new record label spearheaded by Alex and Alec Boateng – ‘0207 Def Jam’
Off-air, Remi consistently produces electric energy and memorable moments. It all started when she became a hype woman/host at ‘Dreams’, a club night in London she created with her friends (The Reveur Collective). Since then, she has gone on to host festivals across the world, such as Merky Festival (Ibiza), Parklife (Manchester), Days Like This Brunch (UK, Ghana, Nigeria) Leeds Festival, Afronation (Ghana).
Remi told GUAP, “I am inspired by the present, at the moment seeing black people being expressive with their passions & talents is really inspiring. There’s literally nothing we cannot do. I want to continue supporting upcoming talent as well as be more creative and innovative in order to do things that have never been done before. Outside of my work life I just plan to keep living my best life.”
Shamara Roper – @shamara_roper
Shamara is a multi-disciplined hairstylist hailing from Southwest London. Inspired by her Jamaican roots to explore the medium. Defying gravity with hair sculptures, Using her craft to be rebellious and make a statement. This has led her to work with like-minded brands, publications and artists such as Alewya, Olivia Dean, Joy Crookes, Laura Mvula & Enny.
Shamara told GUAP, “I am inspired by everything, Nature, Culture, Films, Mythology and the energy of the people I work with. Every hair look created is a merge between me and the talent. Trust, Good energy and comfortability is a must. All the elements to create some magic. My aim is to continue growing humbly whilst being unapologetic in my craft. Be someone my Parents and daughter can be proud of while representing my culture through the art of hairstyling with grace and vibes.”
Shoré Delano – @Shoreyewande @the.rendition
Shore Delano is the founder of the UK’s leading discovery platform for Black Theatre, The Rendition, and a Digital Project Manager at the international photography co-operative, Magnum Photos. Motivated by her desire to preserve and celebrate black culture through storytelling, The Rendition was founded in 2019 with a clear mission: to connect audiences to Black Theatre. Over the past 2 years, they have partnered with leading theatres including The Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre, Omnibus Theatre and Stratford East. Upcoming initiatives for The Rendition include producing Rendition-backed theatre shows, hosting an official launch event, and rolling out video content that spotlights Black talent in the industry.
Shore told GUAP, “Honestly speaking, I don’t have it all planned out. But what gives me joy is bringing people together around the arts. So continuing to manage meaningful projects in the Photography, Theatre and Digital industries is key. And, of course, my biggest aim is to turn Rendition into a household name, a production house that creates, curates and promotes Black theatre.”
Stacey Olika – @stxce.olika
Stacey is a creative producer and digital designer. She is a multidisciplinary artist and founder of AmakaDesigns, her freelance sub-brand. Stacey was recently appointed as the Creative Diversity Coordinator for Channel 4 and had the pleasure of working on the Black To Front project 2021. Her work is powerful and multifaceted, encompassing film, radio, podcast and curation. Stacey confronts the impacts of colonialism through identity and representation whilst advocating kindness. She was named Bristol’s Most Influential Women 2021 and Creative under 24 in 2017.
Stacey told GUAP, “When it comes to design, I am hugely inspired by 90s aesthetic along with black femininity and how we view ourselves in society. I am an advocate for restructuring authentic portrayal and representation in the industry – as I continue to create, I aim to open the door for more people that look like me. I believe in for us by us and want to continue being involved in work that uplifts a community and opens doors.”
Theresa Lola – @theresa_lola
Theresa Lola is a British Nigerian writer and poet. She has been commissioned by Selfridges, National Gallery, and Regent Street to write poetic narratives. In March 2020 she held poetry residencies at Bethlem Museum of the Mind and Wellcome Collection centred around writing in response to visual art and the importance of wellbeing. She has taught and read her work across the UK and internationally. In 2018 Lola was the joint winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. In 2019 she was appointed the 2019/2020 Young People’s Laureate for London. In that same way, she was awarded a Kellogg scholarship to study for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, which she completed in 20.
Theresa told GUAP, “I am driven by the possibility of provoking a moment of reflection or change for someone. Whatever that is, whether one of joy or pain, it is such a wonderful feeling to know that whatever you write and create goes into the world with sheer purpose, even if you don’t know how it will do so at the time. I am hoping this is just the beginning, there is so much more I want to write and share within and beyond poetry, dream collaborations and surprising ones. It’s important to grow as a writer and creative.”
Tianna Johnson – @blackgirlscampingtrip @tiannatheproducer
Black Girls Camping Trip started in 2018, following a tweet made by Tianna Johnson. They run tailored outdoor retreats for Black women and non-binary people in the UK. The first trip, being a communal trip, was very camping-focused and the organisation moved on to its green therapy brand in 2020. Outside of Black Girls Camping Trip, Tianna is a screenwriter and avid tweeter. The team are all volunteers and work endlessly in their evenings and weekends to deliver many projects. Over the next year, you can expect a podcast, a magazine and more mental health content. They are currently running a gofundme fundraiser which is a pandemic relief fund so that they can continue to deliver camping trips.
Vee Kativhu – @veekativhu
Vee Kativhu is the 23-year-old trailblazing young woman who champions access to education for underrepresented students and is the founder of Empowered By Vee (an academic empowerment platform for students who feel unsupported). She graduated from The University of Oxford in 2020, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. She has also recently graduated from Harvard University in June 2021, where she studied for her postgraduate degree in International Education Policy. Vee is most known as an education content creator on YouTube, where her channel has gained over 220,000 subscribers and has amassed over 16 million views since its launch in 2017.
The launch of her debut book, a self-help and motivational book called ‘Empowered’ has been recently announced and will be available to purchase in book stores and online from December 2nd 2021. She is currently an active ambassador for United World Schools, The African Community School, and CAMFED. She also holds a position as an ambassador for The Social Mobility Foundation and Girl Up Zimbabwe, a United Nations Foundation. Vee’s incredible work has also been recognised globally by various members of senior leadership such as The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, members of Parliament, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have deemed her work as “necessary” and “lifechanging”.
For her contributions to educational equality, she has received the Rare Rising Stars award, The Diana Award and the Future Leaders award, amongst many others. Vee has recently begun working at One Young World as their new Global University Outreach Manager. This role allows her to work with young leaders across the globe and help them develop their social enterprises targeted at bettering their local communities. In the future, Vee hopes to pursue a PhD in Educational Leadership and work to improve girls’ education across the African continent as she believes that female empowerment is a crucial component for making the world a better place.
Victor Kunda – @victorkunda
Victor Kunda is a 22-year-old comedy content-creator, born in South-East London originating from Nigeria and Zambia. Best known for his TikTok and Instagram videos that have racked up over 20 million likes and views across both platforms! He’s worked with the likes of BuzzFeed, Disney+ & Amazon Prime so far.
Victor told GUAP, “My content is inspired by my life and all of the eccentric characters I’ve encountered that have stuck with me – growing up I found joy in making others laugh so the humorous nuances I inherited became part of who I was. Content-wise, I just started placing the characters in creative ideas I was coming up with for months but never actually saw them through. I started making videos I think everyone can relate to or just random concepts that came to mind that could make anyone of any age demographic simply laugh – and the rest is history. My plans for the future are to broaden my horizons to presenting, acting or being a known personality that has made real change in the industry. I want to be known for being me unapologetically! Let’s not forget entrepreneurship, I aim to be a businessman building my assets not only in media but in property or any other field I see fit for where I am in my life – let’s turn this into wealth! ”
GUAP’s International Blacklist Honourees.
Alesha Bailey – @aleshabailey @yardandparish
Alesha Bailey is a Co-Founder and Creative Director of YARD + PARISH, the UK’s first sustainable luxury platform to discover and shop for independent Black-owned businesses. It is a space where melanin is celebrated and luxury is given a new definition with a mission to elevate the black shopping experience through special features like ‘The Shade Match Concierge’ and ‘The Afro Beauty Bar’ — an all-natural edit facilitating black wellness and self-care. Just like the shop, Alesha is inspired by the modern island lifestyle and the change of pace during visits home to Jamaica. With an educational background in African Studies and Design, the Toronto native uses her knowledge to uplift black artisans and share stories of the diaspora.
Alesha told GUAP, “My great-grandparents lived in rural Jamaica and simple things felt so luxurious when we were there. It taught me how to redefine luxury for myself. I’ve lived in different countries and always encountered the same problem of feeling invisible or insignificant when I shop for hair and beauty products. I wanted to create a space for black excellence that celebrates every aspect of our existence. I began studying at the Alvin Ailey Dance Academy in New York City when I was very young and that experience instilled an immense sense of black pride in me.”
Ashlee Janelle – @ashleejanelle_
Ashlee Janelle Danso is a creative entrepreneur who started her career in Fashion PR and Marketing. Her 10+ years of experience, have enabled her to observe the fashion and creative industry from many different angles, where she noticed a visible lack of representation. Her love for storytelling and her will to create content that speaks to a diverse audience and drives genuine connections led Ashlee to launch her own creative boutique agency: YOUNG / The Agency, as well as the podcast Stories or YOUNG. Both launched in 2020, Ashlee’s overall mission is to inspire creativity in others through impactful content. Shining a light on young, ambitious creatives who can at times be overlooked as well as sharing knowledge is her way of giving back. In parallel, Ashlee Janelle is a contributing editor for ELLE Netherlands and runs a fashion and lifestyle platform where she’s had the opportunity to collaborate with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Wandler, Reebok, Made.com, Ted X Amsterdam Women, and more.
Nana Asomani – @as0maniii
Nana Ofori-Atta Asomani, a 23-year-old photographer from Ghana. He studied Electrical/Electronic Engineering at Ashesi University. He primarily shot with his phone and his images represent his perspective expressed in a unique way. Photography has been part of his life since his early teens. He considered it a hobby from 2011 until 2018 when He decided to take a serious interest in it.
Nana told GUAP, “Being a naturally reserved person, photography presents me with the medium to express my unique perspective of the world. I’m inspired by my environment however the elements that inspire me to differ from environment to environment. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so I try to be open-minded, and I do not limit myself. The goal is to improve myself every step of the way. My only competition is myself because life itself is not a race but a journey. Also, I want my journey in photography to inspire others to be comfortable in their unique ways of expressing their art and self.”
Toni Fola – Alade – @crypt0ni @dogood_africa
Toni Fola-Alade, 22, is the CEO of Nomad, a digital bank for startups, small businesses and side hustlers based in Nigeria. The company raised its first round of venture capital at the same time as his final exams at Cambridge University, where he graduated with a First Class and was awarded a Davidson Scholarship. At 21, this made him one of the youngest black founders to raise money in Europe and one of the youngest bank owners in the world. He authored Study Cheat Codes, a book to empower students to minimise their study time so they can maximise the rest of their lives.
He is a co-founder of DoGood Africa, a non-profit, which was awarded a $94,000 grant by the Coca-Cola Foundation to pioneer Lagos’ first circular recycling project in Lagos, collecting 500 tonnes of plastic waste which has created 300 jobs. He also recently lead the DoGood to crowdfund to build a school for 250 children in Makoko, the world’s largest water-front ‘slum’. He sits on Cambridge University’s Legacy of Enslavement Advisory Board, the Legatum Institute’s Race Equality Commission and The World Reimagined Board, a national art project centring Black British history.
Toni told GUAP, “I’m indebted to the investment my parents made to give myself and my brother a platform for success and the legacy I’ve inherited from both my grandfathers of entrepreneurship and public service. My friends and mentors always show me that I can be doing more to make an impact. The ingenuity of my co-founders and the championship-winning team we’re building at Nomad keep me on my toes thinking about how we can actualise our mission of becoming the engine of Africa’s economy. I’m always humbled by my customers, the small business owners who are hustling in Nigeria to create an opportunity for themselves with limited resources”.
Toni says, “My aim is to play a significant role in the African Renaissance that is emerging through founding Profit-making ventures that create employment, engaging in philanthropy and influencing policy. Economic and political empowerment is the overriding theme of everything I work on, whether it’s in Britain or in Africa. I grew up in London so I’m invested in seeing the nation become a pace-setter in a progressive global agenda, that in turn creates prosperity and peace at home. I like to think about bringing capital, talent and ideas together to make things happen and using my networks and access to bring global opportunities to the continent and vice versa. Ultimately, I believe in a world where everyone gets an opportunity, so I’m passionate about reducing inequality, innovating sustainable solutions and creating educational pathways. ”