What was the inspiration behind creating The Black Awards?
The Black Awards is a platform to celebrate and award young, motivated and successful people and show others that life is more than what you’re born into or the circumstances that shape you.
I really wanted to show people who grew up like I did that there’s more to the world than meets the eye. I’ve been a contract web developer for five years and I’ve gotten to a point where I can control my financial destination, something most people don’t have, especially people growing up around gang and knife crime.
I can control it because I can visualise where I want to be. It’s easier to control what you can see and unfortunately young people don’t usually see role models from similar backgrounds. They don’t often see people who have turned their lives around. We’re asking them to aspire to something they don’t see every day. It’s hard growing up and all you see is poverty, gangs and drugs and then someone comes along and asks you to focus on something that’s alien to you. It doesn’t work like that.
Could you tell us a bit more about the event, and what people should expect on the night?
There are thirteen awards that cover a range of industries from content creation, music, theatre, academic, business and everything in between. The night will include a networking session, a dinner before the awards show, amazing performances, inspirational stories, great food and even better company.
It’s an opportunity to learn, network and celebrate with one another. We’re showing younger generations what they can achieve and celebrating what the current generations are doing too.
What’s the reaction been like from family and friends since you created this awards show?
Over a year ago I had this idea and I ran into my mums room to share it and she was instantly on board. We began plotting and planning. I also shared it with a close friend and she was also on board, I got out a note book and noted down the categories I wanted to have. I thought I could put a show like this together in 3 months — who was I kidding?
A little over a year later and we’re still in the planning phase. My friends love it. They’re so excited and were actually the first to buy tickets. The support has been overwhelming and I’m looking forward to showing people how great the night will be.
Event planning can be stressful so every week my mum always checks on me to see how I’m doing. It’s so nice!
What was the planning process like for organising The Black Awards?
I’ve never done this before, so I knew I had work with someone who has done this before. The one thing I can say I planned myself was the venue, categories and the type of people I’d like involved. I let the rest come together. I was adamant that everyone involved in planning the event cared about the cause and everything came afterwards.
It’s been very stressful, every week there’s a new focus, I never expected there to be so many moving parts but it’s very exciting. I’ve met some really exciting and inspirational people and made relationships with people that I hope will last forever. This is bigger than just me, that was evident from the very beginning.
Did you always expect to become an event organiser?
Absolutely not. I’m a web developer, my day job couldn’t be further away from events organisation. It’s actually really weird, I completed a short stint when I was fresh out of secondary school and we hosted a debate with people in Parliament and business about young people and careers. But 2 years ago I’d never imagine I’d be sitting here planning something so big!
“Success that is longstanding doesn’t happen overnight, take time to build something you will be proud of, something you will be more than happy to attach your name to.”
Any advice to young people striving for success?
Take your time, plan your moves. Everything has to be intentional. From what you study to your career, but never forget that each day is a new day and you can start afresh. Success that is longstanding doesn’t happen overnight, take time to build something you will be proud of, something you will be more than happy to attach your name to. Once you’ve chosen what you want to do, keep pushing & don’t give up. Focus on one thing and do it well before moving on to something else.
What’s it like being an entrepreneur at such a young age?
I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur at a young age, I actually forget how old I am. But now I’m thinking about it, it’s a whole load of fun. I’m still living at home with my mum and don’t have any real financial responsibilities, I can take risks that I’d probably think twenty times about if I had my own place or had my own family. This event is a big risk, but one I’m willing to take to change how things work for young people.
Your top 3 pieces of advice for running an event?
Don’t do it alone! I could never put together this type of event alone. Get people involved and get them involved early on. Everyone I speak to opens my mind even more and I’m able to make more informed decisions.
Make sure it’s a topic you care about. Events are stressful so whatever the event, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. Otherwise there’ll be times when giving up will be more appealing than finishing what you started.
Lastly, have fun. If there’s a project that you’re continually working on and thinking, then it ought to be enjoyable for you.
Finally, what or who inspires you every day?
My inspiration is the belief that one day young black children who grow up in underprivileged backgrounds and households will believe in themselves as much as privileged people believe in their privilege. Whatever happens in life is a consequence of a chain of decisions and a chain of great decisions make for a great life, no matter what your background is. I’m an example of that and I want all examples to stand up and create more examples.
Head over to theblackawards.co.uk to find out more about this year’s event.
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