Representation is everything, especially when we are having a discussion about diversity and equality. To take someone’s power away is to give them no representation of themselves in society. Young people of colour are constantly denied this representation, and for that, the mainstream and whitewashed media are to be blamed.
People of colour exist, and they are inspirational, powerful and deserve more of our attention.
I have created this list in the hope that it encourages and inspires young POC who may be feeling like there’s no space for them in society, or that they can’t achieve their dreams.
Here is a small list of inspirational young people of colour based in London, who are active in the creative and political field. This list is solely based on the impact of the young people’s work on the Shades of Noir team.
Siana Bangura is a writer, blogger, and freelance journalist from London. She is also an award-winning poet. Since May 2016 she has become a published poet.
Her book of poetry Elephant is now available to purchase.
She is also the founder of No Fly on The Wall and SHEroes. SHEroes is a poetry night aimed at black women who practice poetry, singing and writing.
Read our review of SHEroes here
Amoah was the elected full-time student leader of the NUS Women’s campaign, representing four million women students across the UK and campaigning to extend and defend the rights of women students. Throughout the year, she campaigned and worked in key areas, as identified within our policy, to positively impact women students’ lives and towards the freedom from oppression and discrimination of women. This was done through campaigns, activism, research, development, and training for women students and students’ union officers and staff.
From successfully campaigning for a Women’s officer role in Universities nationally to launching I heart Consent workshops and the #StandByMe campaign which tackles lad/rape culture in Universities. Susuana has just handed over her position as NUS women’s officer to Hareem Ghani, and we are excited to see what she does next.
Sabah is a Pakistani trans activist with a passion for his communities. They have a head full of big ideas, having co-founded Trans Pride Brighton in 2012: the first trans march and celebration in the UK.They also started online social and support spaces for queer, trans, and intersex people of colour in Brighton (QTIPOC Brighton), and for LGBT and queer desi people in London and the South East (desiQ)
Sabah Recently appeared on a TEDxBrixton in which they spoke about intersections of being brown, trans, queer, Muslim and proud.
“I am trans enough, I am brown enough, I am Muslim enough” Sabah Choudrey
Travis is an activist, performer, and spoken word writer.
TRAVIS ALABANZA is a Black queer femme performance artist living, studying and creating in London, and is currently the LGBT+ president at king’s college London. Their work has featured in The UK anthology Black & Gay in the UK, as well as Manon, Queer contemporary, Black girl Dangerous and Beyond the Binary. They have performed in venues across the UK including RVT, Hackney Attic, Oxford Queer Week & their one person show in Bristol Stories of a Queer Brown Muddy Kid. They feel their art is a way to talk unapologetically about the love queer black bodies outside of binaries deserve
Alabanza is currently teaching an art course in the US to students of colour.
Upon their return to London in September, they will be starting an artist residency at the Tate, as well as working at NAZ to set up a south London support group for LGBT+ People of colour.
Skinny Girl Diet
Are an all people of colour female led band. They started when they were only 12 and 14.
This music is wonderful: brash, unafraid, reared and raised on my peers (Babes In Toyland, Heavens To Betsy, old school grunge. Female. Teenage. Reminds me of Skinned Teen a little, but it would. Riot Grrrl, like I always understood it i.e. female empowering, and not scared to experiment with new musical forms, and not rooted. Exciting, because this music could go anywhere. Collapseboard.com
Bolanle (Bee) graduated from London College Of Communication in 2015 with a degree in Public Relations. She defines her ethnicity as Nigerian and Black European.
She was the 2015/2016 elected education officer for SUARTS and focused on the attainment gap and the institutional racism, which exists in both the students union and UAL.
During her year at SUARTS Bolanle started Black Blossoms a program which “highlights the voices of Black Women by hosting regular events. It also aims to provide safe spaces for women in academia.”
Black Blossoms is currently holding an exhibition showcasing art-work by black women at the UAL ShowRoom, located in LCF High Holborn.
Loewe’s practice includes drawing comics, illustrations, zines, and prints. These mediums are befitting to their work as they allow for greater visibility to a wider audience.
Often using comic book format Rudy’s work centres around people of colour celebrating and chronicling their stories. Racism; gender; sexuality; disability and mental health are all key themes within Rudy’s practice. They use a variety of mediums throughout and recurring motifs to explore family history, black history, Diaspora, and trauma.
Rudy’s work aims to engage those who consider themselves outside of the art world in art practice. The community is an integral part of Rudy Loewe’s work, which is why another facet of their practice is workshop facilitation and the invaluable conversations that come out of this.
Edem Barbara Ntumy
Barbara is a graduate in International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies from London Metropolitan University and student activist. She is the deputy president of London Met Students’ Union, has been engaged in the NUS Women’s Campaign and is now on the National Executive Council of NUS representing the Black Student’s Campaign.
Barbara Ntumy working with Abortion Rights started a campaign called “Christians for Choice” in response to anti-choice Christian led campaign “40 days for life” who were protesting outside clinics.
If she’s not out protesting for what’s right, she is appearing on TV supporting Jeremy Corbyn and making the case for why he should lead Labour. In the past month, she has made many TV and radio appearances, which is inspiring for many women of colour interested in politics who may not see a space for themselves. Barbara has definitely opened up that space.
Barbara is also the founder of Sassy Tees, a business run by women of colour for the empowerment of activists of colour.
Screaming Toe Nail; Jacob V Joyce and Niadzi Muzira
Screaming Toe Nail is a concept band that aims to challenge systematic oppressions through their humorous lyrics.
The band’s members include; Jacob V Joyce on vocals, Alice Moon on Drums Niadzi Muzira on lead guitar.
They seem to use music as a weapon for taking down racism and establishing “Femme Supremacy” which gives solidarity to marginalised groups, and this makes their music empowering to listen to. They sing about “white saviours” and bigots and white supremacy which makes their music refreshing to listen to.