October is Black History Month. And, while 31 days is not nearly enough time to thoroughly celebrate all of the achievements of black Brits through the ages, it is a good place to start. As part of the month of celebrations, people are using the hashtag #ShareBlackStories on Instagram, to highlight people who deserve recognition.
Instagram has partnered with some of the UK’s most prominent black voices to kick start a month of conversation on the platform. Throughout October, influential black British people are spotlighting those who have inspired them or shaped the black British experience. All via Instagrams IGTV feature. The campaign launched at the beginning of the month, with tributes from Top Boy actor and rapper, Ashley Walters, who chose to talk about The Walking Dead star Lennie James, who hired Ashley for his film Storm Damage right at the beginning of his career.
He describes how important it was for to him to see ‘a black man controlling his own destiny’ and ‘seeing someone like himself’ succeeding in his chosen field. Ashley says Lennie’s career helped pave the way for other black male actors, signing off with a simple, ‘thank you for being a positive role model for us all.’ Afua Hirsch also got involved with the campaign, choosing to champion Margaret Busby – a writer and author well known for her anthropology, Daughters of Africa. Afua says,
‘as a black woman trying to find my own voice, [Margaret] has been endlessly interested, supportive and enthusiastic about helping a generation like me find our place and our ability to make change through writing.’
George the Poet has just got involved with the hashtag, and he pays tribute to his parents – praising their bravery for emigrating to the UK from Africa in the 1980s. He attributes his success to their decision to settle in London, exposing him to the cultures and people that have shaped his music and poetry.
As well as creating a moment of celebration for the enormous contribution of black people to modern British life, #ShareBlackStories is about empowering people to use the social media platform to raise up the hero of their own stories. Other people driving the campaign include comedian Dane Baptiste, award-winning author Yomi Adegoke and fashion designer Walé Adeyemi. These creators and many others will be encouraging other people to do the same using the hashtag #ShareBlackStories.
‘Instagram is a place where diverse communities connect and share things that matter most to them,’
said Trevor Johnson, Director of Market Operations at Instagram.
‘This is particularly true for the black community, with over 16.6 million people using hashtags like #blackexcellence and #blackgirlmagic. ‘We hope more people will be encouraged to follow Ashley and Afua’s lead and share the black stories that are important to them on Instagram – via IGTV, Stories or a post.’
Main image copyright: EyeEm/Getty; Instagram
Written by: Natalie Morris