Top 100 influential UK black people


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The list of the 100 most influential black people in the UK is out again, and the highest honour has been given to businesswoman Gina Miller.

Ms Miller topped the 2018 Powerlist of 100 black people because of her successful challenge to Brexit which went all the way to the Supreme Court. Ms Miller argued that starting talks to leave the EU would mean changing UK law and so it could not be done without a vote by all MPs in Parliament – and the court agreed.

I completely admire Ms Miller for her campaign, which saw her vilified in some parts of the media (namely the Daily Mail), and even led to her receiving death threats from umpteen numpties. Despite this barrage of hatred she continued her court fight, which was basically in all of our interests, because it was brought to ensure that democracy prevailed.

Whether you want the UK to leave the EU or not, it would be ignorant in the extreme not to realise the importance of what Ms Miller set out to prove – that MPs, who are elected by the people and represent them, not just the Prime Minister (who at the time was Theresa May who had not even been elected to that position) must have the final say when there are changes to UK law.

I hope this recognition, by an independent panel who rated nominees on their “ability to change lives and alter events”, shows Ms Miller that there are hundreds of thousands of people who supported her case and are glad that she had the guts to pursue it.

The other interesting aspect of the list this time, is the large number of black women who are on it. They make up half of the names listed and include composer Shirley J Thompson, Ofcom Chief Executive, Sharon White, and Professor of Nursing at Sheffield Hallam University, Laura Serrant.

The rest of the list, which recognises people of African and African Caribbean heritage, is made up of people from all walks of life including lawyers, entrepreneurs, educators, sportspeople, musicians and media personalities etc etc, and amply demonstrates how diverse the black talent pool is in the UK.

Here’s the top ten:

  1. Gina Miller – business owner, political activist
  2. Ric Lewis – chief executive and chairman of Tristan Capital Partners
  3. Ismail Ahmed – World Remit founder
  4. Sharon White – Ofcom chief
  5. Dr Nira Chamberlain – professional mathematician
  6. Jacky Wright – chief digital and information officer, HMRC
  7. Sandra Wallace – UK managing partner, DLA Piper
  8. Professor Laura Serrant – Professor of Nursing, Sheffield Hallam University
  9. Dr Shirley J Thompson – music composer, visionary and cultural activist
  10. Edward Enninful – British Vogue editor-in-chief



Powerlist of influential black people

The Powerlist of the top 100 influential black people in Britain has been released today (25 October).

It contains and highlights the success stories of several people of African and African Caribbean descent in the spheres of business, education, science, media, the arts, and sport among other sectors.

Tech entrepreneur and educator Tom Ilube has topped the list.

Copyright: @tomilube

Copyright: @tomilube

The first Powerlist was published in 2007 and according to the website it was the “brainchild of the then New Nation Newspaper editor – Michael Eboda – who subsequently left New Nation and established his own publishing company, Powerful Media”. The aim was to “provide professional role models for young people of African and African Caribbean heritage”.

It has since led to the creation of a charity, called the Powerlist Foundation, which specialises in leadership courses for children.

So, you might ask, after 10 years of creating this list, does it show that black people are becoming less or more influential in Britain?

I read an interesting analysis by the list’s creator himself Michael Eboda ahead of its publication in the Guardian, which unfortunately painted a largely bleak picture. He claimed that in terms of public life and especially areas such as the Cabinet and the High Court ,we are still mainly unrepresented, whereas in the private sector there seems to have at least been a bit be more diversification.

You don’t need me to point out how important it is for black people to have a voice in all aspects of UK life, and to provide positive role models for our young people to follow and look up too.

I don’t believe in positive discrimination at all but if there are areas, such as the upper echelons of the police force and the judiciary where there are no black people at all, something needs to be done, because obviously this is unreflective of the society we live in and could lead to discrimination and discourse.

Interventions that might work to address the imbalance could include campaigns reaching out to schools known to have a large number of black children, hosting community events and information drop-ins in specific parts of the country, holding free talks and encouraging influential black people to reach out and take part. I could go on.

Basically there is no excuse in the 21st Century for black people to still be left behind in the UK in any area – either through their own indifference or society’s.

I started this website as my own small contribution and even though I know its reach is small, I really believe that even if it makes one person think differently, then it will have achieved something.

Anyone reading this can also try to make a change in whatever way possible – become a mentor, write about your black British experience and share it to encourage others, support black businesses, go to a positive event that is promoting black empowerment, make a list of black heroes and find out more about them so you can educate others – we are all one but collectively we can help each other and change things for the better.

I hope the Power list emboldens anyone who sees it to know that there is nothing we cannot achieve – even when the odds might be stacked against us – and to realise that individually we are strong but together we are a positive force to be reckoned with!