Black History Month Speakers
Black History Month takes place in October all over the UK. It celebrates the culture, history and achievements of Britain’s African and Caribbean communities. Promoting black contributions to British Society it embraces an understanding of black history in general. First celebrated in the UK in October 1987 it was organised by Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo.
Our diversity, inclusion and equality speakers are in demand throughout the year for their expertise and delivery. And as this year's event approaches, there is even more demand for October.
This is due to the massive increase in companies who are genuinely taking their social responsibilities very seriously. Their aim is to stamp out racism within their organisations and have their work forces diligently embrace diversity. Most importantly they want to learn how to become better allies. And how to support black and crown colleagues in the work place.
Our speakers are specialists in their fields. They educate on the history and culture. Furthermore, they help people understand white privilege and microaggressions (unintentional subtle or indirect discrimination). They share advice on how to build resilience during adversity.
Speakers all very experienced in this particular topic include:
Afua Hirsch is a former barrister, journalist and documentary maker. She regularly writes, reports and speaks on international current affairs, and has published two bestselling books, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, winner of the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Prize, and Equal To Everything, about the UK Supreme Court.
Musa is a poet, author, sportswriter, broadcaster, musician, communications adviser and commentator on current affairs. He is a popular choice for debating culture, politics, sport, race and sexuality. A scholarship student at Eton College, Musa studied law at Oxford University. He then trained as a solicitor in the City. Discovering the legal profession wasn't for him he left to pursue a career as a poet and writer.
Nova Reid is a diversity campaigner, speaker & culture change consultant. With humility and humour she uses her professional background in mental health to focus on mindset change. She has a proven track record of working with organisations to confront and dismantle workplace inequality. Her primary focus is to improve diversity from the inside-out.
Sir Trevor McDonald
The UK's most respected news and current affairs presenter Sir Trevor McDonald OBE is also an outstanding and hugely popular speaker. He is best known for fronting ITN’s News at Ten, Tonight with Trevor McDonald. Furthermore he presents acclaimed documentaries on subjects as varied as Death Row and notorious UK killers. He was knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism.
Multi-award-winning beauty journalist,Ateh Jewel has been in the Beauty Industry for over 16 years. Writing for a number of magazines and newspapers, she is a regular columnist for Glamour. She is also a blogger for women with darker skin tones and textured hair. Ateh knows the beauty business inside out and is passionate about diversity in beauty.
Sir Lenny Henry CBE
Sir Lenny Henry is a event host and outstanding entertainer. He is a comedian, presenter, writer, producer and one of the founding members of ‘Comic Relief’. A firm advocate for cultural diversity he sees mentoring, leadership, goal setting, and teamwork as the central tenets to every aspect of his career. They are the things he cares about most.
Michelle Ackerley is an instantly recognisable TV presenter. As a regular host of The One Show Michelle is also an ambassador for Smart Works. She works as a diversity youth mentor working closely with teens that have recently left the care system.
Clarke Carlisle is a hugely motivating speaker, whose honest and moving speeches about Mental Health educate and inspire. He is an ambassador for the mental health charity Mind and the Premier League Kick It Out Campaign which promotes inclusion and equality in football.
Gillian Joseph is the Sky News Award Winning Presenter who anchored the special global “Black Lives Matter“debate on Sky News on 16th June 2020. The programme on “Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come” attracted a Panel of experts including Actor David Oyelowo, Advertisement Executive Karen Blackett, Historian David Olusoga and Ex-Universities Minister Sam Gyimah. She also presents Sky News Sunrise at weekends. Gillian was presented with a Race in the Media Award from the Commission of Racial Equality. In addition in 2004, she won the European Federation Of Black Women Business Owners’ award for professionalism in her field.
Media Correspondent from around the Globe and fascinating speaker, Rageh Omaar speaking topics include; Economic and political prospects in the Middle East, the nature of Global Risk and how companies can think about it, and the importance of diversity for international organisations.
June Sarpong OBE
June Sarpong is an established ‘TV’ Presenter, who has an enjoyed a 20-year career, in which she has become one of the most recognisable faces of British television. June was awarded an MBE in 2007 for her services to broadcasting and charity, making her one of the youngest ever people to receive an MBE. In 2019, June was appointed as Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC. As their first-ever Diversity Director, she will work to work to ensure that the BBC's content reflects the public they serve.
Nicola Adams MBE is officially Great Britain’s most successful female boxer of all time. And she delivers a massively inspirational Q&A session which audiences really enjoy participating in. She was the first English woman to be awarded a medal in the 2008 AIBA Women’s World Championships. She also was the first ever English female to earn a medal in a major tournament at the European Championships in 2007 winning silver. Through several initiatives and organisations (Fight for Peace), Nicola has encouraged people of all ages and abilities to join their local sports clubs, enjoy the benefits this brings whilst promoting living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. She has worked with charities and strives to raise awareness of young people and women in sport and boxing.
Dame Kelly Holmes
Kelly is a worldwide female sporting icon and Double Olympic champion. She is only the third female athlete to win both 800m and 1500m Gold at the same Olympics. Kelly retired from competition in the autumn of 2005 but remains heavily involved in the sport. She running her own initiative where she mentors a group of promising junior international female athletes.
In 1926 Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week"
This was the precursor to Black History Month. Research states this week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14. Two dates which black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.
The event itself was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in in the USA in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place one year later, from 2nd January to the 28th February 1970.
By 1976, it was being celebrated all across the USA and President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial.
The President urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history".