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Top 15 Diversity Speakers for ‘Black History Month’

9th Aug 2021
Top 15 Black History Month Speakers at Great British Speakers

First launched in London in the 80s, Black History Month was created to challenge racism and to celebrate black culture and the lives of black people who have done remarkable things for this country – and around the world.

Despite this revolutionary movement and the rise of equality and diversity awareness, racism is still present in our everyday lives. This was no more evident than in 2020 when we witnessed the world come together in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the United States. 

The demonstrations of solidarity that followed sparked what became to be known as the Black Lives Matter movement, a worldwide movement for equality and justice again racial discrimination. 

As a result of #BlackLivesMatter, last year’s Black History Month (BHM) was one of the most significant to date, yet in the months that followed, England players at Euro 2020 also became victims of racial abuse online, demonstrating that there is still a long way to go for racial equality.

Now’s the time for businesses and event organisers to help support and educate their employees and/or audiences on these crucial matters.  By incorporating Equality, Inclusion and Diversity into their teambuilding, training and workplace events we can learn to provide a better, more inclusive community for all.

This October, the theme for Britain’s Black History Month 2021 celebration is ‘Proud to Be’…

And at Great British Speakers, we’re proud to be working alongside the most sensational line-up of inspirational black speakers from a variety of cultural backgrounds and industries –  all deeply motivational, passionate and most of all ‘Proud To Be!’

Here are our top Inspirational Speakers for Black History Month

1. Dr Makaziwe Maki Mandela – Black History Month Speaker

Who could be prouder of her Black/African heritage than Dr. Makaziwe Mandela? The eldest daughter of Evelyn Mase and Nelson Mandela, Makaziwe herself is highly educated, with degrees in social work, sociology and anthropology, acquired all over the world. She is the director of the House of Mandela Family Foundation (2017) which was established to improve the lives of poor communities and globally advocate for social issues that affect African communities including; HIV and AIDS, education, health, agriculture, women empowerment and promoting alternate energy sectors. She talks about Black History Month and what it means to her.

Dr Makaziwe Maki Mandela Black History Month Equality Diversity Speaker at Great British Speakers

To find out more or to book Dr Makaziwe Mandela, go to her full bio page HERE

2. Sir Ken Olisa – Black History Month Speaker

Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE is the Founder and Chairman of Restoration Partners. With a career in tech spanning over 30 years and as the president of London Youth – a network of 450+ community youth organisations working across London, supporting thousands of young Londoners each year through their programmes – Sir Kenneth is a passionate speaker and engages with any inspiring entrepreneur. He was voted #1 in the Powerlist’s Roster of the UK’s Most Influential Black People in 2016.

To find out more or to book Sir Ken Olisa, go to his full bio page HERE

3. Clive Myrie – Black History Month Speaker

Clive Myrie is one of the main presenters for BBC News on BBC One. He has reported on many political stories including Donald Trump’s state visit to London, the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May, and Boris Johnson’s first days as PM at Downing Street. Clive’s work on knife crime in the UK for BBC News at 10, also earned much praise. Clive’s recently taken on the role of host of BBC2’s Mastermind.

To find out more or to book Clive Myrie, go to his full bio page HERE

4. Dame Kelly Holmes – Black History Month Speaker

A legendary female British Olympian who really needs no introduction! Off the track, Kelly is passionate about helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds to lead a fulfilled life no matter their race, ethnicity or culture. In 2018, Kelly founded The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, with a vision to get young people ‘back on track’ using the unique skills she’s learnt as a world-class athlete to help engage, enable and empower the young people she works with.

Having battled with her own mental health, Kelly talks openly about this and how her background has influenced her own career and health. She is an inspirational role model, especially for young black women, proving that race and gender should be no hurdle to achieving success.

To find out more or to book Dame Kelly Holmes, go to her full bio page HERE

5. Levi Roots – Black History Month Speaker

First appearing in 2007 on Dragon’s Den (BBC), Levi Roots has become a household name through his famous Reggae Reggae Sauce. The sauce, which was initially only stocked in Sainsbury’s became the store’s fastest-ever selling product. Before becoming a successful culinary entrepreneur, Levi was and still is, a successful musician, working with icons such as James Brown, Dennis Brown, Michael Rose and Black Uhuru. He was nominated for a MOBO award in 1998 for his ‘Free Your Mind album’ and sang ‘’Happy Birthday” to Nelson Mandela when he visited Brixton.

The philanthropist in Levi sees him giving back to the community and the young people in the UK today by visiting many schools, universities and even prisons every year.  Levi is also a proud ambassador of The Prince’s Trust.

To find out more or to book Levi Roots, go to his full bio page HERE

6. Karen Blackett OBE – Black History Month Speaker

Karen Blackett OBE is a renowned and proven business leader with a track record in creating vibrant cultures, energising teams and consistently delivering business growth and success. As UK Country Manager for WPP, the global creative transformation company based in 112 countries, she oversees WPP’s second-largest market and the 14,000 people working across its operating brands in the UK. She is Chairwoman of WPP’s MediaCom, the largest media agency in the UK with billings over £1.3 billion. In the past, she’s openly discussed race and equality within the industry.

Karen was named by Vogue as one of the 25 Most Influential and Inspirational Women of 2018 and ranked top of the EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Executive Leaders list. She was appointed the national Race Equality Business Champion in October 2018.

To find out more or to book Karen Blackett, go to her full bio page HERE

7. Trevor Phillips OBE – Black History Month Speaker

Trevor has spent four decades in public life, including becoming the founding chair of both the Greater London Authority (2000), and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (2007). He has also chaired several charities, amongst them the Social Mobility Foundation and is the current chair of Index on Censorship, which campaigns against censorship and promotes free expression worldwide. 

He is an expert commentator and adviser on diversity, leadership and inclusion both in government and within business. Trevor has some passionate views about Black History Month and Black Lives Matter which he talks about eloquently and purposefully.

To find out more or to book Trevor Phillips, go to his full bio page HERE

8. Michael Fuller – Black History Month Speaker

Michael came to prominence in 2004 when he became Britain’s first black Chief Constable and served as Chief Constable of Kent Police from January 2004 until March 2010. As Chief Constable, Michael successfully led the Force’s response to the Calais migration crisis and to the Channel Tunnel fire.

Michael has inspired and captivated audiences by giving a candid insight into his leadership journey during his distinguished police career. Having qualified as a Barrister while serving as a Chief Constable, in 2010 Michael was appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service. Through his talks, he outlines how he overcame setbacks and adversity as he rose through the ranks to the very top of the police service and became Britain’s First Black Chief Constable.

He talks about Black History Month through the eyes of a former police officer and the law.

To find out more or to book Michael Fuller, go to his full bio page HERE

9. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – Black History Month Speaker

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has many roles but is best known for being the first Muslim female to serve in the British Cabinet. Sayeeda is now an influential public speaker, addressing large audiences as well as at more intimate gatherings. She has talked at City dinners, women’s networking events and international finance conferences. Keynote topics include; Muslim Britain, Brexit, Culture & Diversity and Human Rights.

To find out more or to book Sayeeda Warsi, go to her full bio page HERE

Sir Lenny Henry comedian presenter media inclusion entertainment Charity diversity speaker at Great British Speakers LI

10. Sir Lenny Henry – Black History Month Speaker

Popular comedian and presenter Sir Lenny Henry hit the headlines with a witheringly funny speech at BAFTA, taking the sector to task for its record on diversity. BAFTA Television Lecture: Lenny Henry To Address Ethnic Diversity In The Workforce | BAFTA

Lenny is a strong advocate for raising awareness of the lack of diversity in the TV industry, having spoken out during interviews and even during BAFTA acceptance speeches. In 2020, Lenny established the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, a newly established research centre, bringing together the expertise of established media professionals and academics.

Of British-Caribbean heritage, Lenny is always keen to explore his heritage and how his Caribbean culture has become woven into the fabric of Britain. 

Lenny was also a supporter of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, encouraging ‘black Britons to take the Covid vaccine,’ stating that due to fears in the BAME community, black people were less likely to get vaccinated.  

To find out more or to book Sir Lenny Henry, go to his full bio page HERE

11. June Sarpong MBE – Black History Month Speaker

June is the current Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC, making her a great speaker for Black History Month. Having been appointed in the role in 2019. June’s role is to increase representation throughout BBC programming and employment.

As one of the most familiar faces on British TV, June has used her platform to speak up on diversity and equality on a number of occasions and has written a number of books on the subject; Diversify (2017), The Power of Women (2018) and The Power of Privilege: How white people can challenge racism (2020).

In 2008 she hosted Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in front of 30,000 people in London’s Hyde Park. She is the co-founder of the WIE Network (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise).

To find out more and book June Sarpong, go to her full bio page HERE

David Lammy MP Labour Tottenham Multi Culturalism Business Diversity Inclusion speaker at Great British Speakers LI

12. David Lammy MP – Black History Month Speaker

David Lammy is an MP for Tottenham, one of London’s most diverse constituencies. A well-known advocate of social activism, diversity and multi-culturalism, David’s current position as an active MP has enabled him to engage in his passion for tackling the big issues facing society. His speaking topics cover how to challenge issues surrounding diversity in a progressive and effective manner and help to ensure that it has a positive impact on the workplace and your bottom line, and only recently did David appear on LBC radio, in response to the UK Race Report.

To find out more or to book David Lammy, go to his full bio page HERE

13. Emma Dabiri – Black History Month Speaker

Emma is a social historian specialising in African Studies. She presented Is Love Racist? (Channel 4) and the radio documentary Journeys in Afrofuturism (2018). Emma’s interdisciplinary work crosses African Studies, art, sociology, history, film, literature, theatre, popular culture and music. She is currently a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS.

Through her influential work, Emma aims to educate and enlighten audiences with her accounts of global racism, and by combining her experience with historical events, she supplies valuable context on discrimination around the world. She is a social historian and academic and has contributed to a number of books and articles. Such a nationwide reputation makes her a powerful speaker or event host and allows her audiences to relate to her on a personal level.

To find out more or to book Emma Dabiri, go to her full bio page HERE

14. Maggie Alphonsi MBE – Black History Month Speaker

Maggie Alphonsi is the face of international women’s rugby and arguably one of the most well-known names in the sport. Before announcing her international retirement in 2014, she represented her country an impressive 74 times, scored 28 tries, won a World Cup and helped England win a record-breaking seven consecutive Six Nations crowns, in the process creating her own place in Black History Month.

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, Maggie spoke exclusively to Sky Sports to discuss how Rugby Union has started to tackle the war on race and discrimination;

“In rugby union, we’ve got various different diversity and inclusion working groups, and that’s about hearing the voices from people within the game, players and leaders, and what we’ve seen there is people implementing actions.

“That’s the key bit. It’s one thing talking about, but how do we make sure we start to see real progress? In rugby, I’m starting to see it, but we need to keep pushing it.”

Maggie Alhonsi, Sky Sport Interview 2021

To find out more or to book Maggie Alphonsi, go to her full bio page HERE

15. Ade Adapitan – Black History Month Speaker

Having survived polio as a youngster, Ade Adepitan has since succeeded as an international Paralympic wheelchair basketball player and has built up a wealth of Broadcasting experience. Flashback to his early presenting days and some of you may remember him from the CBBC series X-Change and the BBC ‘dancing wheelchairs’ idents.

More recently, Ade has travelled the world for his work including the BBC’s internationally known Travel Show exploring the history and cultures behind the globe’s most enticing countries. And never one to hold back, Ade regularly goes undercover, investigating controversial and ground-breaking stories for Channel 4’s award-winning documentary series Dispatches. Recent episodes have seen him confronting the UK’s benefits system’s personal disability allowances.

Ade often engages in high-profile public speaking. He works extensively in the UK giving motivational speeches to schools, charities and businesses, including Black History Month.

To find out more or to book Ade Adapitan, go to his full bio page HERE

Hire A Speaker For Black History Month

If you’d like to book an inspirational speaker for Black History Month then do get in touch with Jane Farnham and Steve Denison on 0044 1753 439289 or email bookings@greatbritishtalent.com


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