Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, conversations about activism and meaningful allyship began opening up. As Black Lives Matter trended across social media, many highlighted that
posting a black square or infographic isn’t enough. And with the pandemic having left countless organisations and support systems for Black communities in a financial difficulty, it’s more important than ever to be an active ally and lend your time or money to cause you care about. From donating and marching to buying Black-owned, only action will lead to real change. Today, we're focusing on the change-making initiatives that support Black creatives in the UK.
Creative industries have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and, coupled with the systematic racism that has existed within music, fashion, art, publishing, and more for decades, Black creatives continue to face an uneven playing field when it comes to breaking through.
In the past year, a number of Black singers have come forward to talk about
the racism and colourism that has impacted their careers. As part of her documentary with the BBC, Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock talked about how race has dictated how she’s been treated in the public eye. Alexandra Burke, NAO, Raye, and Keisha Buchanan shared their experiences too. Jamelia highlighted on the BBC that when it comes to systemic racism, words aren’t enough. Elsewhere, stars such as Naomi Campbell and Leomie Anderson have spoken out about similar issues in the world of fashion and modelling, with Black creatives having to work twice as hard to get half the recognition.
It’s clear that something needs to be done to shake up the creative sector in this country. Below are a handful of initiatives trying to do so that you can show your support for.
1 Black Girls In Fashion
Black Girls in Fashion is a media group and community that supports Black female creatives working in the fashion industry. Their aim is to “widen the scope of opportunity for Black girls and women,” creating content on fashion and business, and cultivating connections and brand partnerships to amplify Black voices and the Black experience.
Support them here . 2 Support Black LGBTQ+ Creatives
The Support Black LGBTQ+ Creatives GoFundMe was established by AZ Magazine, an online platform – including a digital magazine and events – created by four Black queer women to represent and share the stories of LGBTQ+ Black people and people of colour.
Support them here . 3 Support Black Led Arts In The North
Rheima Ibrahiim-Robinson runs the Sunday Practice, an open mic and community hub in Leeds. It seeks to give Black poets, musicians, theatre-makers, and singer/songwriters from the North a platform and place to share their talents. Like many collectives, the Sunday Practice has been impacted by COVID-19 and is raising money to ensure their creators can carry on their work without anxiety.
Support them here . 4 Charity So White
Charity So White started as a hashtag to create conversation about racism in the charity sector. The organisations now supports activists, community leaders, creatives, and campaigners, who are working to root out racial discrimination in the charity sector.
Support them here. 5 Gal-dem Gal-dem was established to provide a voice and platform for women and non-binary people of colour. The online and print publication features long-form essays, opinion, news, arts, music, politics, and lifestyle – often profiling Black artists, musicians and creatives. Gal-dem is also incredibly supportive of new young talent. Support them by becoming a member here. 6 Black Ballad
Tobi Oredein established Black Ballad after working in the media industry for years and becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of representation of Black women, both in the offices she worked in and in the magazines she worked on. The online community she has now created puts out content and events to empower Black women.
Support them here . 7 Inclusive Indies
Inclusive Indies is a crowdfunding campaign to help support diversity-led independent publishers tell more stories. Funds will help to support representative publishers, such as
Jacaranda Books, who champion BAME authors, and Knights Of, who create "quality content for kids - with as many perspectives as we can squeeze into the making-of each book". Support their initiatives here 8 Art Sisterhood UK Arts Sisterhood UK is a grassroots initiative providing affordable art therapy workshops for people who identify as women. Their aim is to make art therapy accessible to everyone and to empower people to express themselves through their art. Their workshops build community and peer support. Support them here. 9 Black Creators Matter Black Creators Matter is a network of Black creatives living around the UK. They don’t just provide community but also share resources and knowledge to help Black creatives thrive in their chosen field. Support them here. 11 Black Disabled Creatives Black Disabled Creatives is a platform that exhibits the work from Black disabled creatives in art, fashion, design, film, and more. They aim to bust the stigmas attached to disabled communities and put an end to being underrepresented and under-appreciated. Support them here. 12 The Black Art Futures Fund The Black Art Futures Fund works with artists and artistic organisations to provide monetary support for Black creatives. Alongside funding to help grow projects, they also offer help from mentors and a peer network. Support them here. 13 The Muslim Sisterhood The Muslim Sisterhood started as an artistic project on Instagram and has grown into a space to bring together Muslim non-binary people and women. Their aim to promote the talented work of people in the Muslim communities in all it’s joy and vibrancy. Support them here. 14 Black Girl Fest Academy Black Girl Fest Academy is an extension of the Black Girl Fest brand. It’s a free seven-month programme for young people (aged 17 to 25) who want to learn about design, promoting, fundraising, and budgeting. It provides mentorship and resources for young people looking to develop their own community events. Support them here. 15 Brixton Finishing School Brixton Finishing School’s main aim is to change how the creative industries recruit and find talent. They run a free 10-week programme for people who are aged 18 to 25 to learn about different creative industries and network with those working in those spaces. They support people in their creative endeavours and help develop talent. Support them here. 16 No Trace No Trace runs a scheme to help support Black, Asian and minority ethnic people who want to break into the advertising industry. From camera, sounds, editing, and design, they offer expertise and links with the industry to help place people in trainee and entry level positions and get their foot in the door. Support them here. 17 Project Noir Project Noir is an art collective for people of African, Caribbean, and Asian heritage. The creative network shares hiring tips and job opportunities. They’ve also created a network of young creatives who can offer each other support and run events to nurture talent. Support them here.