Research shows that diversity is one of the greatest creative advantages. Global management consulting firm McKinsey found that having a team that is diverse in age, education, socioeconomic background and race, results in a 33% increased chance to financially outperform, compared with those teams that aren't. Fact: different perspectives, healthy debates and diverging opinions aid creativity. So, why isn’t there more diversity in the creative industries?
As a design brand, and to celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to spotlight Black creatives who are changing their industry, but we couldn’t do so without acknowledging that there still is a long way to go. The lack of diversity in the creative industries is a complex issue, the catalyst of which stems from design education that is predominantly focused on Western influence, economic barriers in accessing design software and tools, and a lack of representation in the workforce.
Spotlighting Black creatives is a 365 day focus, but to honour Black History Month, we wanted to celebrate some of the individuals who are helping to shape the future for their industry.
You may have come across South London born Messiah through his spoken word piece at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Observance Day or, perhaps his piece at London Fashion Week? Inspired by his upbringing, his words paint a vivid portrayal of what it’s like to grow up in a rapidly changing London.
Amfo is owning the spotlight. From presenting Radio 1’s primetime shows, hosting coverage of key events such as the BRITs, BAFTAs and Glastonbury, and being named as one of Barbie’s UK Role Models. We can’t wait to see what she'll do next.
If you don’t know her, you would have come across some of her work influenced heavily by the 90s and 2000s. Abbott is the creative direction behind musician Joja Smith. Other artists she’s worked with include Skepta, Miguel and Jordan Stephens.
British-Ghananian architect Adjaye was the first black recipient of the Royal Gold Medal this year. The acclaimed award is given on behalf of the British monarch and celebrates the rich body of work Adjaye has designed, from the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington to the Aïshti store in Lebanon.
Aboah is one of the most recognisable British models but the work closest to her heart is behind the charity she launched ‘Gurls Talk’ which offers mental health resources and community for girls to share, listen and support each other. We’d recommend anyone checking out the Gurls Talk podcast hosted by Aboah which explores everything from literature, music and politics.
Ladoja is a creative powerhouse... Filmmaker, entrepreneur, global music manager and charity fundraiser are just a few of her successes. She’s the girl behind helping to reposition Skepta as a prolific and authentic grime artist and shake up the status quo in the music industry, gaining her an MBE for her work.
Kai is a model, performance poet and trans-visibility activist who embodies authenticity. Virgil Abloh describes Kai as ‘the voice of a generation’ and that’s no surprise, given they were the first to walk runways as a black trans model.
Born in Islington, Little Simz’s music has gained her widespread acclaim collecting her both an Ivor Novello, NME award and nomination for a Mercury Music prize. Powerful storytelling is embedded into everything Simz does, from her music, videos and acting career.
Blackett is a dominant figure within the communications industry with a career spanning over 25 years. From managing the UK market of the world’s largest advertising company WPP, to holding a number of advisor positions at No.10, Creative England and the MOBO trust. She’s gained an OBE and an honorary IPA in recognition for her services to changing the industry.