The Independent has announced a series of initiatives to coincide with Black History Month UK this October, celebrating the accomplishments of Black Britons and supporting individuals and organisations dedicated to achieving lasting change.
The theme for this year’s Black History Month is ‘time for change: action, not words’ and so The Independent will be amplifying the voices of changemakers whilst shining a light on the work that still needs to be done.
In editorial, The Independent’s Nadine White, the UK’s first dedicated Race Correspondent, will lead and commission a series of features focused on education, politics and the Black press in Britain.
- The Independent’s opinion section, Voices, will cover Black perspectives and experiences throughout the month. Led by Commissioning Editor Harriet Williamson, this will include pieces by Diane Abbott MP, presenter Ayo Akinwolere, Editor of Black British Lives Matter Marcus Ryder MBE, footballer Danny Welbeck and Loose Women‘s Kéllé Bryan.
- Music coverage led by Roisin O’Connor will include an exclusive interview with singer Kwabs and rapper Hardy Caprio about their experiences in the industry, while Jumi Akinfenwa’s piece on new Amazon Prime Video series Jungle talks to its producers, actors and featured artists about its use of grime and drill.
Accompanying editorial coverage, The Independent will be giving free advertising campaigns to Black organisations across a range of sectors from civil rights to music. These are:
- Black Lives in Music, an organisation at the vanguard of the movement to combat racism in the music industry. It is uniting organisations and musicians throughout the United Kingdom to create a representative and diverse sector. Last October, the organisation published a report on the lived experience of Black music creators and industry professionals which produced key information and insights with an outcome for a consensus for change in today’s music sector. The aims of BLIM’s Independent ad campaign are to further grow an inclusive music community, to increase organisational partners and to create a fair and equal music industry.
- UK Black Comms Network, which exists to increase the number and seniority of Black PR and comms professionals in the UK. The UK BCN provides resources, inspiration, and peer-to-peer networking to empower their members to claim their space. The network shines a light on the challenges the Black community faces and partners with like-minded individuals and organisations to enact change.
- Black Business Network, which offers support to Black business owners throughout their entrepreneurial journey to strengthen business connections, financing and knowledge in the Black community. Lloyds Bank has partnered with the Black Business Network (BBN), as part of its commitment to a multi-year plan of research and actions to move the dial for Black entrepreneurial success, and they recently published a new report together, providing further insights on the experiences of Black entrepreneurs.
- Black Equity Organisation. BEO is a new independent, national Black civil rights organisation created to dismantle systemic racism in Britain, drive generational change and deliver better lived experiences for Black people across the country.
- Black Pound Day, which is on a mission to address the economic inequalities and imbalances affecting Black businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK and global diasporic communities. It grows the Black community’s economic power by encouraging all communities to replace their usual purchases with products from Black-led businesses on the first Saturday of each month.
- Mission 44, a charitable foundation launched by Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2021, with the ambition to transform the lives of young people facing disadvantage and discrimination. Through funding organisations, research and campaigning, Mission 44 is focused on supporting young people from diverse backgrounds to feel more included at school, progress into careers in STEM and the creative industries; and to be empowered as future leaders to build a better world. As part of its work, Mission 44 has partnered with Teach First to recruit an additional 150 Black STEM teachers, with the aim to inspire Black students to engage and achieve in subjects they are currently underrepresented in, creating a new generation of Black scientists, engineers, mathematicians and inventors.
Kamiqua Lake, founder and CEO UK Black Comms Network and Coldr, commented: “We established the UK Black Comms Network to shine a light on the Black talent within our industry and increase the number and seniority of Black communication professionals. We are really excited to be a part of The Independent’s campaign which, like our network, seeks to identify and support talent within our community.”
Nadine White, Race Correspondent at The Independent, said: “Black History Month is an important annual space to celebrate, promote and reflect upon Black experiences in the UK, past and present.
“From an editorial perspective, we will be publishing articles that not only highlight Black achievement but also examine the work that must yet be done to address racial disparities faced by these communities around the nation.
“In the wake of Black Lives Matter demonstrations that brought the world to a standstill less than two years ago, keeping conversations around these issues remains a key priority at The Independent.
“We’re looking forward to unveiling important initiatives across October that will unlock opportunities around Black communities, inform and inspire.”