As Black History Month draws to a close in the UK we're aiming to shine a spotlight on those driving things forward. #DazedBlackFutures is a tribute to the artists, activists, designers and key voices shaping black British culture for the next gen.
As a woman of colour, I am always looking to see myself represented in publications, from youth culture to the stuffiest broadsheet. Yet there’s something still deeply unsatisfying about blackness only being positively acknowledged in a 31 day period and forgotten thereafter. It always feels so disingenuous.
Each year we reflect on the same things: the Windrush era, when the majority of black families were invited over to the UK to work, and slavery. As important as these topics are there are many stories that are frequently ignored – who are the vital voices who will help to shape black British culture in the future? Black in the Day is a project working to preserve and archive black British history, so we teamed up to profile the movement of young creatives who proudly acknowledge their roots but are really pushing new narratives. Five characters whose work we believe should have a special place in history.
Munroe Bergdorf made black British history when she was hired as the first transgender woman to front a mainstream beauty campaign. When she bravely pushed conversations around race and privilege she was hounded by the press, nevertheless, she is using her position to make black and trans people visible. “I wanna use this platform to highlight the experience of black British people so we can talk about our experiences rather than white platforms shovelling statistics that everything is OK," she explains. “You can't just consume modern day black culture without knowing where it comes from”.
Likewise, gal-dem has made waves championing diversity in the media and sparking vital debate around representation and oppression. Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff has been at the helm of the Opinions section that has given a platform to the views of women of colour and won awards in the process.
When future generations look back to see how we lived the words of Young Poet Laureate Caleb Femi will serve as a monument to this moment. His mission to “normalise poetry” for disenfranchised youth and his knack for mixing mediums like film makes the realities of unheard and demonised young black men more accessible. Kojey Radical also finds himself towing the line between music, poetry and stunning visuals as his last EP 23 Winters was inspired by his heritage and drew on the relationship he has with his father, whose photo he submitted to the project. It’s a vibrant account of black family life and love and a much-needed positive account of the relationship between black fathers and their sons.
“You can't just consume modern day black culture without knowing where it comes from” – Munroe Bergdorf
Finally, having paved the way for visibility of the black LGBTQ community, BBZ, a night co-founded by Nadine Davis and her partner Tia Simon-Campbell is revitalising nightlife and also highlighting the artistic works of queer women of colour. The photos of carefree black women dancing to the sounds of WoC DJs surrounded by art chosen to reflect queer life is one that will truly paint a picture of the burgeoning scene right now.
We caught up five trailblazers cementing themselves in black British history to talk to about their own personal journeys and submit to the growing Black in the Day archive, watch above.