- Ewan Keenan
- YUNG SINGH
- JOSIE MAN
- DOMINIQUE PALMER
- ROLLING WITH THE GIRLS
- CHARITY KASE
- RACHELLE COX
- SHADEN PHILLIPS
THANK YOU TO THE CLASS OF 2021
The past year has been a challenging and bizarre landscape to navigate. Still, young British creators have managed to let expression and self discovery break through; creating, reflecting, and changing culture through their work. To shine a light on these once-in-a-generation talents, we’ve partnered with Instagram, a platform that enables young creators to find and amplify their voices, to put together a yearbook composed of 12 of our favorite talents in class right now. From climate activists to BMX riders, this is a celebration of creative exploration and the new generation of culture shapers making their own path. You’re only a tap away from making yours.
Celebrating a year of creative exploration
from Britain's Next Gen.
BEAUTY CREATOR, @PRADAOLIC
At just 20-years-old, queer model and artist MYLA has already found herself on the radar of the world’s most prominent artists, actors, and brands, including SZA, Tessa Thompson, and Gucci. Growing up in Ghana before moving to the UK at age seven, MYLA was an enthusiastic illustrator before turning her hand to make-up. Eventually, she combined the two to birth the unique artistry we know her for today. Using Instagram as an ever-growing mood board to get inspired, MYLA’s imagination is boundless – from repurposing the Mowalola logo to using a pearl necklace as a striking make-up look.
Two years after dropping her first freestyle online, South London MC Cristale’s star is rapidly rising, with the 20-year-old’s renowned lyricism and seamless flow playing loud and clear on her Instagram feed. Cristale cut her teeth in primary school by dominating playground rap battles and slam poetry competitions. In March 2020, she released the “Opp Thot Freestyle'' to thunderous acclaim. The track garnered props from the BBC’s The Rap Game and Charlie Sloth. It also landed her collaborations with fellow MCs Temz and Trillary Banks. Having just inked a record deal with 4ZA /Black Butter, there’s a lot more fire in this belly.
Artist Ewan Keenan has always been a people watcher, channelling everyday mundane scenes that he witnesses onto his canvases with a filter of dark humour and satire. And now it’s he, himself, who’s being watched as a rising star of Leeds’ art scene – with his works, most of which are displayed on his IG, reminiscent of British greats like Francis Bacon. And while he says he’s dipping his toe in the world of NFTs, he’s mostly keeping shtum on upcoming projects but welcomes anyone who wants to experience the ‘latest chaos’ of his studio to stop by.
DJ, Producer, Artist, @YUNGSINGH35OL
With an Instagram bio that states: “more than just a dj”, Yung Singh is humble about just how ‘much’ more he is. As well as making people dance, Singh is a producer, curator, photographer, and part of Daytimers and Diet Paratha – two collectives amplifying South Asian artists - something he does through his IG, too. Djing for the likes of Boiler Room and Rinse FM, Yung Singh has also played at legendary London venues like Corsica Studios and fabric. Recently, he, alongside Diet Paratha, collaborated with Burberry and 10 Magazine, where he discussed heritage and the artistry and activism of the Punjabi-Sikh community.
SINGER SONGWRITER, @AGROOVYBOOTHANG
Singer and songwriter Josie Man has always been different. But at 23-years-old, rather than alienating her, it’s the driving force that connects her music to thousands of fans across the world who she makes feel less alone. Self-described as “identity pop”, Man is 2021’s incarnation of a pop princess, with lyrics that burst with positivity yet caveat that it’s okay not to be okay. Josie recently headlined the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading & Leeds Festival and dropped her latest single, “StormySkies (Diamonds)” in September. Fans can expect an EP next year full of Man’s favourite songs. .
When Dominique Palmer’s not studying for her bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations at the University of Birmingham, she’s helping to save the world. Her already-impressive career as a climate justice activist began with Extinction Rebellion Youth, and she was vital in organising the school strike for climate and the #ClimateStrikeOnline. Named by Forbes as one of 2020’s Leading UK Environmentalists, Palmer is also an organiser for Fridays for Future International and Climate Live – utilising creativity and Instagram to amplify her voice and connect to a generation that’s inherited the immense weight of a world at breaking point.
Rolling with the Girls
SKATE COLLECTIVE, @RWTGLEEDS
Non-profit skateboarding collective Rolling with the Girls is carving out space in a scene historically dominated by men. Having started in Leeds just four years ago, the collective now boasts over 200 skaters, who regularly share clips to post on RWTG’s Instagram. By hosting regular girls skate sessions for people of all abilities and skill-sets, it recognises the power of social spaces and the freedom that four-wheels offer. And in June this year, it released its first zine. Some of the collective’s recent sessions have swapped wheels for heels to teach pole dancing classes, proving there’s no singular definition of what it means to be a skater.
DRAG PERFORMER ACTIVIST, @CHARITYKASE
When Charity Kase stepped into the workroom of season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, all eyes were on her. Charity’s extreme looks and creature creations captured hearts by fearlessly challenging the feminine beauty standards often associated with the drag scene. With a feed full of major looks, the drag queen and artist is shattering the already far-out limits of drag, she’s also smashing the stigma surrounding HIV by speaking honestly about her first-hand experiences with it, having been diagnosed at 18-years-old.
DANCER CHOREOGRAPHER, @__ITSJOHNNY
It was at family functions and with friends where dancer and content creator Johnny fell in love with the power of dance. After graduating with a physics degree, Johnny applied the same focus he did to his studies to dance and trained harder than ever before, steadily growing his following to more than 80,000 followers on Instagram. His signature moves borrow from his Sierra Leonean heritage, and he regularly trains with his dance family Homefam. Unsurprisingly, a long list of brands including Puma, Columbia, and Nike have already tapped his talent.
STYLIST SLOW FASHION ADVOCATE, @MIRAALMOMANI
While the pandemic forced most of us to come to a screeching halt, 23-year-old Mira’s imagination kicked into overdrive and set her on a new career path. Now, instead of working nine to five in finance, she showcases small and independent slow fashion designers through her Instagram. In fact, the London-based stylist and art director’s opinion is so influential that she can sell out a brand’s item with a single Instagram post. Now, Mira is preparing to connect brands and customers directly, with the launch of her own store, NIMA – which, by the time you’re reading this, should have opened.
ARTIST STORYTELLER, @RACH.E.LLE
Stumbling across Rachelle Cox is like finding a bright spell on a cloudy day. In an overwhelming social media landscape, her unapologetic approach to sharing her life as a queer visual artist, plus-size model, actor, and storyteller living with ADHD cuts through the noise. Despite her thousands of followers, her Instagram remains intimate, as she discovers self-acceptance, and all its highs and lows, while utilising queerness as a space for activism and joy.
BIKE RIDER, @ACTIVE_SHADEN
Pedal bike rider Shaden Phillips fell headfirst into his fate while scrolling through Instagram’s Explore page, where he stumbled on @Jake100 doing wheelies on his bike around East London. At just 20-years-old, Phillips has established himself in two hugely competitive worlds, carrying himself with the confidence often only possessed by industry veterans. Having been scouted as a model in a bike shop, his passion and dedication for both industries are often inherently intertwined, and it’s not uncommon to see him flexing in a Burberry trench while doing a wheelie or a @RACH.E.LLE death spin.