Lets celebrate Black Herstory: A Salute To Inspiring Black Women

October is Black History Month in the UK, and we’ve got plenty of reasons to celebrate! Today, meet some of our favourite sheroes in Black British  Herstory, each renowned and respected for blazing a trail in their fields—whether they’re politicians, authors, artists or activists. Special thanks to Diane Abbott , Phyll Opoku-Gyimah , Dr Annabel Sowemimo, Elle Hallal, Nana Afua Antwi, Deborah King, Davinia Tomlinson, Favour Jonathan, Shingai, and Shakaila Forbes-Bell for agreeing to feature in our #BlackHerstory series. We salute these remarkable women today, and always!

 

Diane Abbott MP

Diane Abbott

“My forebears refused to cut the sugar cane for plantation owners, and I am recognisably a product of that background”

In 1987, Diane Abbott made history by becoming the First Black Woman ever elected to the British Parliament. She has since built a distinguished career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and commentator. Thank you Diane, we appreciate you, and everything you have done, and are doing, to make life better for marginalised women! Check out The Diane Abbott Foundation, an independent registered charity that was created to formalise, extend and increase the capacity of Diane Abbott MP’s work around inequality in education and employment.

 

Lady Phyll

“When we rise together, we are mighty.”

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, also known as Lady Phyll, is a force to be reckoned with. Her pioneering activist work has increased visibility and advocacy for Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC) in the UK and beyond. One of her landmark achievements is as the co-founder and director of Black Pride, the first event of its kind in Europe celebrating “LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent to promote and advocate for the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual health and wellbeing” of these communities.

 

Dr Annabel Sowemimo

It’s okay not to fit into the boxes that society has created. It’s okay to be more than anyone thing at anyone time. People are frightened by difference and that’s their own insecurity – we are taught from a very young age to conform.

Dr Annabel is a community sexual and reproductive health doctor and founder of non-profit Decolonising Contraception. Annabel is also a freelance writer and contributor for online platforms including Black Ballad and gal-dem.com. Please look out for Annabel’s book –  Decolonising Healthcare, a “vital, eye-opening history of race and health” that will be published in 2022 by Wellcome Collection and Profile Books.

 

Elle Hallal 

“When you’re determined to make a  positive change in the world, you need to be prepared to overcome the many trials and tribulations” 

Elle is a Software Engineer at 8th Light, a software consultancy. Her journey into STEM was via a non-traditional route. She became a Software Engineer a year ago, and has contributed to projects in a number of industries since. Elle volunteers at Coding Black Females – a non-profit organisation, which aims to provide opportunities in tech for Black women. She is a member of the leadership team, mentors, and is passionate about enhancing visibility, and increasing the number of Black women in the sector. Check out Elle’s “Learn to Code Using Free Resources” blog post.

 

Nana Afua Antwi

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of Enthusiasm”

Nana is a model, and founder/creative designer of Adopted Culture. A contemporary sustainable women’s wear which exudes confidence with style. Adopted Culture is innovative, modern and chic designed for today’s woman who is bold and a trendsetter. Nana is also the founder of Florence + Doris Foundation, a Mother & Daughter project devised to support Women with Endometriosis🎗 Dedicated to Mental Health & Wellness. Visit  linktr.ee/fndfoundation.com for more information

 

Davinia Tomlinson

“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it”

Davinia is the Founder & CEO of rainchq, a company set up in 2018 to help women take control of their financial futures. Today scores of rainmakers are levelling up their finances and building long term wealth as a result of their rainchq membership. To find out more visit www.rainchq.com/rainmaker or follow @rainchq on all social platforms.

 

Shingai Shoniwa

“We are able to speak for ourselves through our music rather than being defined and put into the spotlight in a very male kind of groomed way for an obviously predominantly male audience”

Shingai Shoniwa is a Zimbabwean born musician, vocalist and lead-singer of UK indie rock band Noisettes, who are perhaps best known for their hit single Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go). She is also famous for her fashion icon status. Listen to her new album “Too Bold” now.

Deborah King 
“By wearing the name you embody the greatness that figure represents and keep the past alive. We tell their stories because they are relevant to who we are today”
Deborah is the VP Head of Paid Social at Essence, for clients including Google, NBCU, BT, EE, Nandos, Peloton and L’Oreal. For more than 14 years working in paid social for companies including Facebook and Bebo. Deborah is determined to progress cultural change. In 2019, she setup and championed Essence Village – building a community who are committed to driving Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic diversity through celebrations and awareness across the agency and change across the advertising Industry. In 2017 Deborah also co-founded I AM History a black lifestyle and culture publication designed to raise awareness and be a voice for Black voices and stories – both historic and present day.

 

Shakaila Forbes-Bell

“As great as it is feels to be a Black woman breaking barriers, it feels even better to create spaces for Black women coming after you”

As seen in VogueGlamourThe GuardianCNNMarie ClaireStylist and more, Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a published Fashion Psychologist, consultant, experienced marketer, writer and founder of ‘Fashion is Psychology’. She has worked with global fashion brands like Next, Sainsbury’s and AfterPay to help consumers understand the psychological significance of their clothing and beauty choices. She has bylines in renowned magazines including, i-D, Glamour and Marie Claire. Her work investigating the impact of racial diversity in fashion media has been published in the International Journal of Market Research. Check out  FashionisPsychology.com for more information.

 

Favour Jonathan

”Don’t forget about the one person that has always been there for you no matter what. that’s you! we tend to think about what we want to build, our futures and those who need us, as humans our eyes always looks out but remember to reverse that gaze now and then and check in on yourself. if you need to splash out on a new bed so you get a better rest, do it.”

Favour is a talented Multidisciplinary Artist based in London. Favour is inspired by the traditional arts of the Bini People of Edo State, Nigeria. She uses their cultural knowledge, beliefs and traditional values in her work as a way of articulating in the contemporary world her own values and ideas of resilience, strength, and power. Please check out Favour’s artwork that explores Benin Kingdom, we absolutely love her aesthetic, she is a blessing to the art scene both here and in Nigeria. For more information visit https://www.favourjonathan.com/
Happy Black Herstory Month!