Black History Month first came to prominence in the UK in the 1980’s, with the first organised events taking place in London in 1987. The movement, which happens here in the UK every October, was first proposed by Black scholars in the US, looking for ways to challenge racism, to celebrate black culture and the lives of black people who have done remarkable things around the world.
Despite this revolutionary movement, and the Black Lives Matter, racism is still an unfortunate presence in our everyday lives.
Our Black History Month motivational speakers are here to help businesses and event organisers support and educate their employees and/or audiences on these crucial matters. By incorporating Equality, Inclusion and Diversity into their team building, training and workplace events, we can learn to provide a better, more inclusive community for all.
This year, the theme of Black History Month is ‘Health & Wellness’ so with this in mind, here are our top 22 inspirational speakers, for Black History Month 2022.
Our Black History Month speakers are experts in their field, from medical physicians and psychologists, to speakers on wellness and diversity in the workplace, career goals and equality; financial health, cultural influences, fashion and inclusion.
– but one things for sure, they’re all passionate speakers on Diversity, Equality & Inclusion for Black and Ethnic Minorities within everyday society…
Dr. Nighat Arif is a family NHS and Private GP who specialises in women’s health and family planning, particularly in BAME communities. Fluent in Urdu and Punjabi, Dr Arif educates other medical staff on how to approach the unmet health needs of Pakistani communities and those cultures who are less likely to discuss women’s problems – including the menopause.
To find out more or to book Dr. Nighat Arif go to her full bio page HERE.
Dr. Zoe Williams is a GP, TV Doctor and physical activity expert, appearing as the resident GP on shows such as This Morning, The One Show and Horizon.
Zoe is a specialist in the effects of diet on diabetes and knowing that the BAME community may be more at risk with developing diabetes, she aims to educate them about good nutritional habits to prevent the onset of the disease;
“Although the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is higher in people who are black, it is not usually a given and in many cases can be prevented. Making changes to what types of food you eat and the amount of physical activity you do can significantly reduce your risk.”
Zoe is also the founder of the non-profit organisation Fit4LifeCIC, which aims to have a long-term positive impact on young people with challenging lives. It helps the youngsters create their own physical activity program to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
To find out more or to book Dr Zoe Williams go to her full bio page HERE.
Anjula Mutanda is a psychologist, social scientist and mental health expert, presenting her expertise on programmes including channel 5’s Doctor, Doctor, ITV’s Feel the Fear With Wim Hof, My Naked Secret and The Truth about Beauty. She has also contributed to discussions on Good Morning Britain, The One Show and This Morning.
A senior practitioner and registered member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Anjula has treated clients with PTSD, anger management and provided relationship guidance, as well as offering cognitive behavioural coaching. As the previous Director of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, she has experience in workplace psychology, organisation and stress management.
To find out more or to book Anjula Mutanda go to her full bio page HERE
Named one of the most influential people in London by the Evening Standard, Yomi Adegoke is one of the country’s leading voices on race, feminism, pop culture, class and politics. Yomi is a trustee for the charity Arts Emergency, which helps make the creative industries more accessible for marginalised young people, and an ambassador for Eve Appeal, the leading UK national charity in gynaecological cancer, Yomi is an inspirational social commentator and diversity speaker. Similar speakers include sports presenter and equality speaker Samantha Johnson.
To find out more or to book Yomi Adegoke go to her full bio page HERE
Comedy legend and presenter Sir Lenny Henry is enthusiastic about speaking on the lack of diversity in the media, not just in front of the camera but behind it too. Presenting a hilarious speech at the BAFTAs, Lenny spoke about ethnic diversity in the workforce.
A co-creator of the charity Comic Relief, Lenny is a strong advocate for underrepresented communities such as BAME minorities. In 2020, he established the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, a research centre which looks at representation across the likes of journalism, acting, film, TV and radio. Lenny has both British and Caribbean heritage, and it is this mix that made him keen to explore how different cultures have become woven into the fabric of Britain.
Lenny was a key supporter of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, encouraging “black Britons to take the Covid Vaccine”. In March 2021, the Office for National Statistics revealed that whilst over 91% of white people registered for a vaccine, only 58% of people identifying as black African, and 68% of people identifying as black Caribbean’s did so.
To find out more or to book Sir Lenny Henry go to his full bio page HERE
Legendary British Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes is passionate about helping underprivileged people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as promoting diversity, equality, inclusion and positive mental health in the workplace.
In 2019, Kelly launched her own podcast, What do I do?: Mental Health and Me, which offers listeners an honest and relative insight into how some of the best-loved celebrities cope with their mental health.
Plus, having battled with her own mental health during her time in the military, in sport and her personal life, Kelly talks openly about how this and her background has influenced her career and her mental wellbeing. Coming out as a gay woman in June 2022, Kelly hopes to inspire and educate the next generation so that no-one is felt restricted by their sexuality or race.
To find out more or to book Dame Kelly Holmes go to her full bio page HERE
Ryan Lanji is an LGBTQ+ cultural producer, presenter and public personality who promotes equality within race and sexuality. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in fashion, curated exhibitions at some of the biggest venues, and started a cultural movement that discusses race and sexual inclusion.
He believes in raising awareness and visibility of underprivileged groups of people, as well as protecting their mental health, by providing a safe culture, championing creativity and creating opportunities they would otherwise not have. His passion has made him a natural leader and public figure, particularly in the South Asian LGBTQ+ community. Similar speakers include LGBTQ+ Speakers Dame Kelly Holmes, Nicola Adams OBE and Will Njobvu.
To find out more or to book Ryan Lanji go to his full bio page HERE
Successful fashion stylist Ayishat Akanbi believes that personal style is something that should be accessible to anyone and everyone. Her passion is to help others find the confidence to dress in a way that articulates and emulates their personality.
Having gained a degree in media and cultural studies, she has a strong interest in socio-political issues such as race, identity, class, gender, prisons, bullying, sexuality, gangs, homelessness, drugs and addiction. She regularly speaks in schools about these topics and more in order to make them more prominent for young people to make a more inclusive generation.
To find out more or to book Ayishat Akanbi go to her full bio page HERE
VV Brown is a singer, songwriter, author, entrepreneur and diversity speaker. She is particularly an advocate for black and female equality within the music industry.
In 2012, VV became the first black British woman to front an ad campaign for retailer Marks & Spencer alongside Twiggy, Lisa Snowdon and Dannii Minogue.
However, VV’s life hasn’t always been so positive; she’s been through drug addition, was a victim of rape and survived a suicide attempt. But she has taken these life experiences and is now an advocate for the mental health and wellbeing of women going through domestic violent situations. She is passionate about being a role model for young black women and the importance of diversity and inclusion in all industries.
To find out more or to book VV Brown go to her full bio page HERE
Qualified personal trainer and sports nutritionist, TV Presenter AJ has a huge passion for health and fitness, which has led her to not only present fitness features on TV but take part in the London Marathon and appear on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
Born to Nigerian parents, AJ is an advocate for black women and is keen to explore the idea of cultural identity. Writing in Vogue, AJ has opened up about the level of racism she experienced growing up and as someone in the public eye. Her traumatic memories include walking into an expensive shop and having security “keep an eye on the black girl”, her then 10-year-old brother being detained by police for “doing a paper round in a posh white area” and being told by a stranger in the supermarket as a six-year-old to “wash my face”.
AJ initially struggled in the public eye and often talks to school children, particularly those of BAME background, about creating a successful future within the media. In a 2020 interview she stated;
“I was shocked and saddened to hear some of the teenage girls say they felt pursuing a career in television was not even worth the effort as a Black woman. We should be seeing a surge of ambitious dreamers, who believe that any career path is not just something they can just aspire to, but a realistic possibility for them. Instead, young people feel shackled. Not because they lack intellect, skill or ability, but simply because they are Black. “Vogue
She has since lobbied schools and the UK government to encourage more teachings on racial equality, and to support and encourage the BAME community to seek fulfilling careers.
To find out more or to book AJ Odudu go to her full bio page HERE
Having suffered from depression, actress Chizzy Akudolu is passionate about supporting and educating others. She is a huge supporter of mental health charities and has appeared at expos and conferences in the hope to connect volunteers with charities.
As a prominent black British actress, Chizzy is also eager to promote the achievements of black people.
“There have been amazing accomplishments from black people in this country that we just don’t hear about, and I think we should. It’s great to celebrate when we’re doing amazing things. There’s so much that black people have contributed to this country that people don’t know about – myself included.” –Closer.
Also, as an ex-Holby City actress Chizzy’s pretty good when it comes to medical terminology and discussing everything from acting to the NHS.
To find out more or to book Chizzy Akudolu go to her full bio page HERE
BAFTA-award winning Lemn Sissay is a successful poet, often presenting anecdotes from his difficult childhood in verse.
His mother arrived in Britain from Ethiopia in 1966 and sent to a home for unwed mothers to give birth. Lemn was then housed with foster parents a year later, before returning to care when he was 12. For the next five years he would be in and out of children’s homes, with no permanent surrogate family. The whole experience would leave him with a crisis of identity.
Lemn’s work takes on a passionate view of society, diversity, identity, race and childhood. Raised in the care system, he now provides a voice to the marginalized in society and has presented a number of TED talks on what it was like being a black child in care in the 1960s/1970s.
To find out more or to book Lemn Sissay go to his full bio page HERE
TV Presenter and weather-broadcaster Alex Beresford is known for his motivational talks around being a black role model and the dangers of knife crime.
After losing his own cousin to a stabbing, Alex began campaigning against knife crime, presenting ITV’s documentary Knife Crime and Me in 2019. It saw him travel around the UK to better understanding the issue surrounding race and knife crime.
Alongside this, he is the patron of the Bristol-based charity Empire Fighting Chance, who uses boxing as a means of social change and a way of discussing the increase in knife crime. He also runs a diversity tour project where he visits schools, colleges and prisons to talk about media career as well as knife safety. Thanks to his efforts in promoting careers, particularly for black individuals, he was chosen for the national role model programme for young black men by MP Hazel Blears. Similar speakers include gang and knife crime expert, adventurer Dwayne Fields.
To find out more or to book Alex Beresford go to his full bio page HERE
Communication, inclusive leadership and empathy at work expert Shola Kaye is an award-winning diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) speaker with a mission: that is to create happy, engaged and productive workplaces for BAME and ethnic minorities.
In response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the ‘back to work’ post-pandemic uncertainty many faced, Schola knew that workplaces wouldn’t be the same as before. Using her expert business knowledge, Shola created the keynote LEADERSHIP, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: Inclusive leadership for the post-pandemic workplace, a talk in which leaders are given the skillset to flourish within inclusive and diverse teams. Shola has specific Black Lives Matter and Black History Month talk topics too.
To find out more or to book Shola Kaye go to her full bio page HERE
Mentioned in the Big Issue’s Top 100 Changemakers of 2021, Alexandra Wilson is a barrister specialising in family law, an author and diversity campaigner. She first came to public attention when she spoke about how she was mistaken for a defendant rather than the barrister three times on the same day in court; “I don’t expect to have to constantly justify my existence at work”.
Since experiencing racial prejudice in court, she has made it her mission to challenge discrimination in the legal system. She released her critically-acclaimed book In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System in 2020 which explores her journey into the profession, discusses what happens if you have an openly racist judge, and portrays a justice system in which a disproportionately large number of black people are convicted.
Proud of having a mixed background which includes English and Jamaican, Alexandra founded Black Women in Law, an organisation of over 500 members that aims to unite black women in the legal profession, as well as One Case At A Time, an organisation that facilitates legal funding and representation in cases of injustice for black people.
To find out more or to book Alexandra Wilson go to her full bio page HERE
Dr Ozak Esu’s time is spent working alongside initiatives aiming to empower women and BAME groups to study and work in STEM-related disciplines. It was her childhood in Nigeria that inspired Dr Esu to pursue a career in engineering: “The frequent power cuts which I experienced made me decide to take a keen interest in physics”. She now provides tutoring, lectures and public speeches to schools to encourages young women, especially within the minority-ethnic communities, towards STEM careers. And for her corporate clients, she promotes the equality, diversity and inclusion of employees within the STEM industry,
To find out more or to book Dr Ozak Esu go to her full bio page HERE
Tayo is a personal finance and property expert, mortgage broker, blogger and investor who uses his expertise to break down complex topics for people to understand. He understands that poor finance can lead to increased stress levels and reduced mental wellbeing, so he aims to provide clear and simple tips to help improve people’s financial situations. He then uses these tips to advise companies on inclusion and diversity in all industries. Similar speakers include Naomi Sesay, Timothy Armoo and Emmanuel Asuquo.
To find out more or to book Tayo Oguntonade go to his full bio page HERE
Featured in Forbes’ 25 Leading Black British Business People to Follow, William Adoasi is an entrepreneur with a difference. After a childhood that started on a London council estate and ended with dropping out of University, with a place at a prestigious boarding school in between, William realised he could create a business that not only made profit, but helped support underprivileged people. For every watch he sells through his Vitae London company, a child in Africa receives two sets of school uniform, a bag, footwear and a solar-power lamp to study with. With clients including Sir Richard Branson, Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, it’s clear that William is in the unique position of being a successful entrepreneur and a successful philanthropist.
To find out more or to book William Adoasi go to his full bio page HERE
Adah Parris is an award-winning polymath and enthusiastic curator of people, patterns and stories; a storyteller who subverts the status quo by encouraging her audiences to become critical thinkers, creative innovators and philosophers. She encourages new ways of thinking on how technology can impact our identity and culture, and how it can have a positive and negative effect on ethnic minorities.
A TED Talk Emerging Innovator, Adah is the chair for Mental Health First Aid England and for The Centre for Cultural Values Advisory Group. She is co-founder of consulting service Ism.Earth and has been Artist in Residence at the Santa Barbara Centre for Art, Science and Technology as well as for the Design Science Studio.
To find out more or to book Adah Parris go to her full bio page HERE.
Nicola Adams OBE created history at the 2012 London Olympic Games when she became the first female to win an Olympic boxing Gold medal, and has gone on to earn the title of Great Britain’s most successful female boxer of all time. She made history again in 2020 as part of the first same-sex partnership in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. This year (2022), Nicola and her girlfriend Ella Baig, became first-time parents to a baby boy, via IVF.
Openly gay, Nicola is an inspirational speaker for young women experiencing homophobia. She has also experienced racism, and aims to raise awareness of problems affecting the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities. Thanks to this, she has been recognised as one of the ‘Most Influential LGBT Person in Britain’ – on DIVA Powerlist of ‘Most Influential People of African/African Caribbean Descent in the UK’, and one of the ‘UK’s Most Eminent Lesbian and Bisexual Women on the Powerlist 2016’.
To find out more or to book Nicola Adams OBE go to her full bio page HERE.
Emmanuel Asuquo is a financial health speaker, advisor and founder of Noir Excel and the Eman Effect, working with individuals and business owners to help them prepare for their financial future.
Contributor to financial TV programmes, Emmanuel grew up in the shadow of Canary Wharf and dreamed of working at one of the banks throughout his childhood. Realising his dream aged 22, Emmanuel has gone on to work with the likes of Barclays, HSBC and NatWest, offering keynote speeches on diversity in the workplace and systemic racism in the financial industry. Similar speakers include Naomi Sesay, Timothy Armoo and Tayo Oguntonade.
To find out more or to book Emmanuel Asuquo go to his full bio page HERE.
See Emmanuel chatting to Great British Speakers Director, Jane Farnham about his life and some hot tips on combating the costs of living crisis…
22. Afua Hagan
Afua Hagan is a popular diversity speaker, TV presenter and radio broadcaster who has a reputation as one of the country’s most passionate inclusion speakers.
As well as commentating on the British Royal Family and other pop culture topics, her main speaking topics revolve around race and gender bias. She has worked for the likes of Blackhair and Pride magazines, as well as contributing articles for The Voice newspaper and Glam Africa magazine. All of these publications link to her interest in race, sexuality and gender inclusion.
Afua’s main speaking topics include how to be a black women in business, how to be a successful female entrepreneur, diversity and unconscious bias in the workplace and how to overcome adversity as a member of a minority community.
To find out more or to book Afua Hagan go to her full bio page HERE.
And at Great British Speakers, we are 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!’ – check out last year’s line-up of our top inspirational Black History Month speakers below, all available to hire for motivational Black History Month Events this year too!
If you’d like to book an inspirational speaker for Black History Month, then do get in touch -we have 100’s of speakers available to hire of Black History events and beyond, so if you’d like to hire a Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Speaker email Jane Farnham and Steve Denison at email@example.com or call +44 1753 439 289 to speak to a member of the Great British Talent Team.