Meet the 30 under 30 Black professionals and creatives you need to know #TheBlackList2019

GUAP launched The Blacklist in 2018 to celebrate young black professionals across different industries to showcase that black talent does not just exist in one shape, space or setting.

We wanted to champion people who worked not only in the creative industry – but also people from; Tech, Beauty, Finance, Publishing, Activism/Social action, Medicine and more.

One thing we really wanted to highlight this year, is that if you look at all this amazing talent you will see that entrepreneurialism is a mindset and you do not have to do just one thing to be successful. A lot of the young people on this years list are even fulfilling 9-5’s as well as having a thriving side-hustle or business alongside what they do. A lot of them have endured sacrifice and many set out to provoke change.

Former brand manager of GUAP, Shannie says ‘This list is about excellence in its purest form, proving that if you look you will find. Although this list is London centric, we are aware but this is just the beginning of showcasing what we know young black talent has to offer across the board

The Blacklist is for people who are black or of mixed black heritage and are 30 or under.

This year we want to celebrate advocacy, risk takers and believers.

Join us in celebrating them and share.

Happy Black History Month

Shannie Mears
Anthea Agyekum
Elsie Cullen
Parris Walters
Ibrahim Kamara
Jide Adetunji

Warren Wellington is a corporate lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), specialising in private equity, mergers and acquisitions. He has experience advising domestic and international companies on a wide range of transactions, including high value deals (£500m+). Warren is also a Co-founder of the Black British City Group (BBCG), the only network of its kind to pool Black British professionals’ funds and resources for the benefit of the Afro-Caribbean community.

He also sits on the University of Leeds’ Law Advisory Board, the governing body of Kemnal Technology College and HSF’s Multiculturalism Network committee. Most recently, Warren advised a Nordic private equity house on its leveraged buy-out of The Fertility Partnership (the largest UK IVF provider) and has helped raise over £13,000 (gross) for the 4Front Project through BBCG’s City Generosity fundraiser.

Velma Simmons is a Business Development Manager at Warner Music by day handling partnerships for artists across their labels and then in the evening the Founder of L.I.F.E Talks UK.

L.I.F.E Talks UK is a platform that started when Velma witnessed first-hand how hard it was to break into the entertainment industry. She saw that there was a lot of encouragement for young people to fulfil their dreams across the pond with initiatives such as Revolt Music Conference, but nothing that stood close in the UK.

This eventually led to the birth of London’s own L.I.F.E Talks, which stands for Learning from Intelligent Fearless Entrepreneurs. It’s aim is to push the culture forward and help inspire the next generation! L.I.F.E Talks has had amazing speakers such as Karen Civil, Lenny ‘Kodak Lens’ Santiago, and Swizz Beatz. Velma’s passion is to grow the platform beyond the entertainment sector but in all sectors to let everyone know their dreams are achievable!

NNESAGA is one of the UK’s leading black entertainment platforms that is dedicated to celebrating the gaming, comics and anime culture. Founded by Stephanie IJOMA in 2015, Gaming, comics and anime are blended into each entity on one medium for all walks of life. Having collaborated with EA, ASOS, PUMA, TWITTER and more, NNESAGA aims to create safe spaces for those who felt like they didn’t belong. From hosting events, content creating and being amongst panellist’s championing diversity and change in the gaming community, NNESAGA aims to shift the narrative and change the culture of the gaming/nerd community.

From a young age, SHERELLE has always had an affinity for all things Left Field bass with artists like 4 Hero, Machinedrum and importantly DJ Rashad being her entry point into the world of DJing. With a focus on Footwork, Juke, Jungle and 160, she has a regular bi-weekly show on Reprezent Radio showcasing club music around the world, Guests have included Novelist, Jessy Lanza, DJ Fulltono, UNIIQU3, and Sinistarr. Her show is regarded by DJ Mag as “a rarity and one that should be protected at all costs”. SHERELLE has supported musical heavyweights like Kode9, Dillinja, DJ Paypal, TASO and french house legends like DJ Falcon, Crookers, and FEADZ.

In 2017 she supported The Prodigy alongside MELE on their last leg of their sold-out night at the O2 Brixton Academy and has recently come back from completing a tour in Spain playing for Off-Sonar as part of the Life & Death Festival. Making guest appearances on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra for Annie Nightingale’s show and having a guest mix coverage from the likes of Resident Advisor, DJ Mag, Trench Magazine and Dummy Mag. She is regarded as a “…on-the-ball selector [and] passionate about music”. She has also featured in Fact Magazine’s 7 must-hear mixes from April 2018 alongside notable names like Nightwave and Object Blue, and made appearances on Just Jam & Keep Hush.

In 2019, SHERELLE exploded into the public eye with one of the most culturally applauded Boiler Room performances in history, propelling the young DJ to the heights that she so thoroughly deserves. Shortly after, she was featured on the esteemed Dazed100, demonstrating just how much of an impact she has had in such a short space of time.

Michael Makinde is the founder & managing director of Kinde Group, an entertainment marketing agency with a mission to impact society & culture. Michael’s career kicked off in 2016 working for leading youth marketing agency, ‘Livity’, managing accounts such as Netflix, NFL & Channel 4. He also gained a Google accreditation in Digital Marketing whilst there.

He soon became sought after for his expertise on youth culture & entertainment where he started freelancing on projects with Sole DXB (Dubai’s biggest street festival) & Adidas Originals. Since setting up Kinde LDN in 2017 he has developed partnerships with the likes of Uber, Uber Eats, Warner Music & more.

In 2018 he was invited to talk at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Later that year under the Kinde Group umbrella, he set up #TheBroCode which is a programme / members club that empowers young “brothers” through sessions, events, creative work experience & other opportunities in the aim of building a generation of resilient young men.

Maya Scarlette is a self-taught London-based designer who is known for incorporating her Caribbean heritage in the designs for her hand-made carnival wire bras and costumes. She recently released a collection under her brand Coalesce SS19 as well as designing one-off pieces for clients.

The designer was born with a limb deficiency called Ectrodactyly and despite her birth condition, she has been able to teach herself how to design and construct garments. She uses the hashtag #DoItWithNoHands in hopes of raising awareness and to network with people who may have a similar condition.

Magdalene Abraha (Mags) is a publisher and writer. Magdalene was voted the Bookseller’s Rising Star list 2019 with the judges calling her ‘ambitious’ and someone who “hits the ground running”. The Bookseller’s Rising Stars is an annual list of forward-thinking individuals from all sectors of the trade whose actions have caught the eye and who have been singled out as leaders of the future. Magdalene was described by Viv Groskop as ‘a young girl who is shaking up the publishing industry’ and The Voice called her ‘the woman that everyone in the literary world is talking about’.

Magdalene is also the creator of the new ‘groundbreaking’ book series called “A Quick Ting On” which will be the first non-fiction book series dedicated to black British culture. The series was inspired by conversations Magdalene would regularly have with her friends. She has created and carefully curated the book series to celebrate and pay homage to all things culturally relevant to the Black British community and the global black community.

After graduating in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, she started her career in journalism and was one of the youngest columnists for the Independent newspaper covering issues from politics, women’s issues, history and popular culture. Before veering off into Music Journalism as Group Editor of Urban Kingdom. Whilst writing for the Independent Newspaper as a columnist and numerous other outlets, Magdalene entered the publishing world working for houses such as I.B Tauris before joining Bloomsbury publishers working alongside famed and best-selling authors.

At age 24 she is now Lead Publisher at an award-winning publishing house where she heads up the non-fiction list and developing new authors. She has since then been featured in the Metro, The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Observer, BBC World Service, Bustle, BBC R4 Woman’s hour, Reprezent Radio, The Times, BBC Radio 5 Live,The Bookseller, Book Brunch, Stylist Magazine and many more.

MABIN2 is the identity that the London-based creative director, UX/UI and digital designer, Mabintou Kolley, works under. Mabintou is a creative powerhouse, catering to all brands needs – consultation, digital, strategy, direction, environments, packaging and video. Her content collectively receives over 11 million impressions per month as she utilised her platform creating content and sharing uplifting or inspiring thoughts.

Mabintou is a public speaker, featuring in talks at higher educational institutions – University of Kent, University of Bournemouth, and University of Leicester; in front of brands such as Adidas and Nike, and on panels for digital agencies also.”

Kacey is the founder and managing director of sports platform, Blank Tile. With a strong background in marketing and a deep passion for sport from a young age, Kacey founded Blank Tile in 2017 with the aim to uplift and celebrate the achievements of creatives within the sports industry.

In a short time, Blank Tile has grown to a full team curating campaigns for brands including Lucozade, Nike and the England Cricket Team.

After nearly committing suicide at the age of 18 in her first year of University, Hayley vowed that she would do everything she can to make sure no one gets into the place she was once in. Hayley Mulenda is now a Multi-Award Winning International Speaker, Author and Change Agent who has been invited all over the globe impacting over 40,000 with her story. Showing us how she turned her pain to purpose, Hayley has graced the stage at some of the greatest conferences in the world, as well as providing workshops and keynote presentations at some of the biggest corporations on the FTSE 100 and Fortune 500.

Hayley has previously worked with the senior executives from leading firms such as JP Morgan, Unilever and Microsoft. Her mission is to bring change, strategy and hope. Hayley aims to be a voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless

Eve Obasuyi is a pharmacist and co-founder of Money Medics, an infotainment platform that aims to educate millennials on all aspects of personal finance using a lifestyle focused approach. Through self-taught financial planning practices, she purchased her first property by 24 and has been featured on BBC News, Refinery29, Grazia and many other notable publications. Eve is now a writer, speaker, landlady and sophisticated investor. Her mission is to empower others to financially flourish by co-partnering with Fintech organisations to deliver educational content and events.

Days Like This Brunch was birthed in London during the summer of 2016, our initial aim was simple and that was to repeat the amazing experiences of day parties in New York. We understood how marrying food, alcohol and music created vibes and unforgettable moments but also connected people in the most natural ways possible. 3 years on and DLT is the acronym synonymous with good times for young black creatives and professionals.

Open to all, but one of the hardest events to secure tickets to in London. Days like this brunch has converted many to this new preferred party and brunch culture by utilising all tools in this digital era to do so. Uniting some hundreds and thousands under one roof for the bottomless experience of DLT. We will forever be local whilst expanding globally delivering more than what’s on the ticket and all this before midnight.

David Sonubi (The Commissioner) currently works as an A&R at Island Records, working with artists such as M Huncho and Unknown T, in order to create music that shifts the culture. In addition to this, he is the co-founder of RECESS, your WCW’s favorite night out, which has hosted at some of London’s most popular venues such as XOYO, Koko Camden and Mick’s Garage.

Dara Kirton is an award-winning consultant who has been at PwC for 8 years. She is currently a Senior Manager leading the digital transformation approach for Pwc Consulting BXT (Business, Experience, Technology). Dara is an advocate and champion for diversity and has been a role model for race, gender and social mobility action.

She founded the Diversity Mentoring Scheme, chaired the Multicultural Business Network and launched the Colourbrave campaign to encourage confident conversations around race in the workplace. She is also a founding member of UKBlackTech.

Clé Hunnigan is a turned travel industry entrepreneur. He founded the Wind Collective – a travel community for millennials and video first creative agency that prioritises diverse representation in content creation and curated monthly trips. Since launching in 2017, the collective who live full time on the road, have hosted over 30 sold-out trips that can be booked via their website, and worked with brands such as Fujifilm, British Airways, Shangri La, Kempinski, Vitae London and Culture Trip, as well as a variety of tourism boards seeking diversity campaigns representing black travellers.

Dubbed “The UK’s answer to black travel” and “One of the 6 best Black-Owned Travel companies” by Travel Noire and Blavity, this innovative creative travel collective just launched 36 new trips and is growing fast as a global community and a recognisable name in the travel and creative space.

Charnice Blaize has helped to create a platform (Blaized) that gives creatives the space to share their journey, their projects and who they are as an individual, whilst helping them find brands that align with their ethos to spark creative opportunities.

The Blaized is both a Talent agency connecting talent with brands for campaigns, projects, opportunities and curating events. The Blaized UK platform showcases and celebrates the new era of creatives in the UK.

Bernicia Boateng is a professional make-up artist and CEO & founder of Bernicia Boateng Studios – a beauty facility in East London. Bernicia has 10 years + experience as a makeup artist, performing make up services for an array of high profile clients, celebrities and big fashion houses such as Victoria’s Secret. However, beyond makeup she has become a thought leader and educator within the space of beauty, hosting masterclasses for brands such as Fenty Beauty, Doll Beauty and Uoma Beauty.

Ayotunde was an investment banker within Global Markets, counting Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale amongst his previous employers. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of a luxury e-commerce platform for continental Africa ‘Jendaya’, (think Farfetch meets Threadstyling), and for many years (and still is) a keen mentor to young people in his network. He also consults as a Business Development Manager outside his own business.

Jendaya has raised investment and is currently on a start-up incubator programme. They have an impressive team of consultants and a board of advisors who are alumni of Oxford, UCL, Exeter, Vogue Magazine, Farfetch, Goldman Sachs, The Business of Fashion and more. Bsc, (Hons) Biology, Queen Mary, University of London Msc. Entrepreneurship, Cass Business School.

Atlanta Green is a 27-year-old stage and screenwriter from South West London currently juggling a writing career with being a mother & working a 9-5 in HR. She aspires to become a reputable household name in the television world, one credit at a time.

This year saw the launch of her first tv commission ‘Oi Pussy’ which launched on BBC 3 in September and is currently cooking up some exciting projects.

Andre-Pierre was born and raised in Birmingham, West Midlands and has been acting since he was 13 doing youth theatre and performing arts workshops at Crescent Theatre and Millennium Point. Wanting to take his craft more seriously he studied and trained at Birmingham Theatre School where his foundations of acting grew even further. Since then he has taken on a wide range of characters, appearing in various theatre shows, feature films, music videos and tv productions.

Over the years Andre has quickly become one of the fastest rising stars in the industry with various feature films that have been released this year in 2019. Starting with 15 Minutes Of War directed by Fred Grivois, which also has the following showcases Olga Kurylenko , Kevin Layne and more international talent.
Another feature film is Angel City, directed by Duaine Carma Roberts, next year we can anticipate him in a modern retelling dystopia of “Macbeth” directed by Daryl Chase and “Certified The Movie” Directed by Micquel Wright. He’ll also be seen in the superhero TV Pilot “Lucid The Dreamwalker” directed by The Johnson Brothers and The Chase TV Pilot, Andre-Pierre has worked across Europe in the most distinct characters that will lend to stand out performances of any production he’s apart of.

A passion for the craft and a commended diversity that shines across the camera, Andre-Pierre develops the most memorable performances not to be missed.

If you follow any major musician in the UK, “Shot by @AmzyOBR” is a caption you’ll be familiar with. Whether it’s at Ally Pally, O2 Brixton and Arena, or The Royal Albert Hall – you would’ve seen her hijab behind the camera, with the coldest shots appearing all over Instagram the next day.

In the past couple years, Amzyobr has gone from shooting her favourite artists from the GA pit on her Canon G7X and uploading the VSCO-edited shots to her personal Instagram for fun, to getting photo pit and backstage photography access for the likes of Cardi B, Skepta, French Montana, Stefflon Don, or any other UK and global R&B or Rap artist you can name. She’s the loyal shooter behind your favourite shots of Krept & Konan, Maya Jama, Amber Rose Gill and many more, adding the likes of BBC, Spotify, Beats By Dre, and Boohoo to her portfolio too. While quickly racking up a reputation as the hardest photographer in the game, she completed her Bachelor Degree in Radiography too, a career she’s put aside for now in favour of photography.

Her career has always required a delicate balancing act to move forward, both within challenging gender disparity in the photo pits to staying strong in her Muslim faith. Amzyobr is guided by a combination of passion and faith, both reminding her to be thankful for every shot she’s blessed enough to take. Quickly scroll her Instagram comments and all you’ll see is blue ticks and fire, ice, or love heart emojis, and spending even 5 minutes with her is enough to see why. Her warmth and heart of gold is the major key to how she gets the coldest shots, with a presence and style that can’t be duplicated.

Alexandra Ampofo is an entrepreneur, content specialist and current Associate Promoter at one of the UK’s leading gig promoters, Metropolis Music, part of the conglomerate of live music giants, Live Nation Entertainment. She has worked on the shows and tours of some of the world’s leading talent’s such as; Goldlink, Kojey Radical, Etta Bond, JMSN, Jordan Rakei and Ghetts to name a few. With over 6 years’ experience, Alexandra Ampofo has been making her mark on the creative industry. Founding Acoustic Live in 2013, an award-winning events company, dedicated to the manifestation of acoustic talent.

Alexandra has built a dedicated community, providing a powerful platform that offers artists a chance to flourish. She has championed some of London’s best musical talents through her event curating, from the likes of Little Simz and Kojey Radical, to JP Cooper, Samm Henshaw and many more. She has been instrumental in the growth and development of the acoustic scene within London.

The 25-year-old Business Management and Leadership graduate specialises in Live music events, content curation and promotion. Through innovation, collaboration with other brands, over the last four years, Alexandra has managed to successfully work with Google, Puma, KA Drinks, Desperados on Acoustic Live events, as well as being enlisted to now work with the UNICEF Music Group with top professionals in the music industry, focusing on harnessing the power of music to help children and families affected by war or disaster.

In 2019, Alexandra also set her sights on ways she could contribute to the spaces she is creating in, so alongside her colleagues, she started EMBRACE Nation at Live Nation UK – a cultural hub striving towards racial equality in and outside the workplace becoming a learning hub for ALL Live Nation Entertainment employees. As well as this, she founded Women Connect, a female focused collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women in the creative industry. With Women Connect, Alexandra has hosted music driven events to highlight issues such as Period Poverty, Mental Health and International Women’s Day.

Akil Hunte is a law graduate from Nottingham Trent University and was the first student in his law school’s history to receive the Dean’s award for two consecutive years. He is also a future trainee solicitor at CMS, a top 10 global law firm; a public speaker, founder of The New Black society at Nottingham Trent Student Union and director of a social enterprise called The New Black UK. This enterprise aims to inspire young people from underrepresented backgrounds to succeed against adversity.

Akil Benjamin is Head of Strategy and Research at COMUZI, a design invention studio. He works with global brands to develop new digital products, services and experiences. In his work at COMUZI, Akil has produced work for BBC, B+A, Samsung, ustwo, Adidas and Waltham Forest Council.

Akil is also the Lead Facilitator at M&C Saatchi Saturday School, where he leads a development initiative helping underrepresented communities start businesses around the world. With a background in Biology and a deep interest in people, Akil works to develop products and services which benefit the community.

Shaniqua is a writer, spoken word poet and community activist from Croydon. She has used her passion for making a difference to becoming the founder of, Young People Insight CIC, a platform that empowers young people through conversation, creativity and writing. She has performed at Field Day and in Apples & Snakes’ spoken word show, Rallying Cry, and she also wrote the lyrics for the London Mozart Players’ Anthem for Peace.”

Sandra is a legal professional specialising in commercial and entertainment law. She is also the Founder of SHE London Luxury Lash Collection. She used her passion for self-confidence and unity amongst females to inspire the creation of her business. She seeks to inspire women to break out of societal constraints and liberate the greatness that is inside of them.

Sahra-Isha is the founder of ASRA a running club and safe space for Muslim women to exercise and unlock their inner athlete. A researcher, writer and dj, Sahra-Isha owns a music magazine called Sai Noir that demystifies the roles within the music industry for people that want to launch careers as A&Rs, engineers, music directors and more. Co-Founder of Cypher Sounds a hip hop platform, she produces events for upcoming artists within London.

Nathaniel Cole is a researcher, workshop facilitator and writer, who explores masculinity, mental health and sex education. He also co-founded the inner-city swimming club, Swim Dem Crew, that uses swimming as a tool to bring people together, cultivate a strong community and make the sport more inclusive. Nathaniel also works with The Good Lad Initiative and Sexplain UK, where he talks to young people – especially boys and young men – about their bodies, consent, gender and sexuality, masculinity and relationships. As a writer and speaker, you can find his previous work on platforms such as AFROPUNK, the Guardian, and the National Theatre.

Sam Adewunmi is 25, from Camden Town, London. To date his biggest professional achievement is starring in film ‘The Last Tree’ which released in cinemas nationwide at the end of September 2019 (you can still get your tickets). He has started working on a new project called ‘The Watch’ which is a BBC American production. 

6 years agonies journey began at the Identity School of Acting. Recently he was named in the Screen ‘International/Screen Daily 2019 Stars of Tomorrow’ which earmarks people who the organisation/publication feel will be the next stars in the film industry. Sam has also won a Screen Nation award earlier this year.

There are many things on his agenda to experience and achieve in this lifetime and he says he is grateful for all that has already been done. The journey is present and evergrowing he is at peace with the knowledge that there will always be room to expand and grow.

Nate Agbetu and Ayo Fagbemi met partying in East like many others before joining advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy. After years of working on creative projects they founded start Play Nice, a social enterprise founded on the principle of building intersections between communities.

Supporting youth climate strikers, the UKSCN and legacy carnival collectives Tropical Isles, with creative communication and experiences. Their work has been featured in the Design Museum, they have curated panels at the Barbican and ran workshops with Apple. All with the intention to open doors for other communities.  

Check out their work at @playniceldn

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