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black is power

 

what is black is power?

Celebrating Black History Month by highlighting success of black students from the University of east anglia community. Our portraits feature students in leadership positions both inside and outside our community 

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"Black history is important because it’s a great time to celebrate black peoples success, great time to educate on the history of black people, recognise those who are making changes in our community and in the world. And it should be all year round."

JOSHUA OPPONG

What is your name?

My name is Joshua Oppong.

What is your course at UEA?

I study Computer Graphics, imaging and multimedia - with a foundation. I’m in Year 2.

What roles are you involved in while at University?

In my first year I was the catering officer for the African Caribbean society (ACS).

I also took part in discussions for eradicate hate campaign hate. Took part in planning and hosting the first ever ACS Take me out.

The following year I was on committee as secretary and publicity officer for Radical Youth, which is a student led Christian fellowship on campus.

What’s something that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?

I started a catering business in Norwich called ÉL Drippo’s Kitchen (@eldripposkitchen across all socials). Through this I have successfully linked up with a bunch of societies for their events and delivered wings people crave for. I have competed in athletics competitions. I have also performed at some famous theatres and concerts halls in London.

Who inspires you?

My Dad, Mum, my sister and brother, their consistent hard work in whatever they do has rubbed off on me. This going to sound weird but Missy Elliott - she is very creative and innovative. I would like to think that I am a creative, and an innovator and she simply inspires me not to be like others but to stand out in whatever you do.

Do you have a quote that has helped or motivated you or one that you stand by?

“You’re so busy doubting yourself while so many are intimidated by your success” & Philippians 4:6-7; when dealing with doubt these are my go to.

Why do you think Black history month is important?

Black history is important because it’s a great time to celebrate black peoples success, great time to educate on the history of black people, recognise those who are making changes in our community and in the world. And it should be all year round.

Did you face any challenges at university? And if so, how did you overcome them?

My main challenges at university has been time management and self doubt. Those both, have eaten up my time and I refuse to let them continue. I do my best to plan my week fully before it’s started, so I’m prepared for what I’m about to face. This going well so far some off days here and there but I’m human. For self doubt it’s hard, I talk myself out of a lot of opportunities so I pray a lot to help and just reassure myself that the most you can get from failing is a lesson.

**Shameless plug**

@eldripposkitchen - Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/TikTok.

_____josh (five underscores) - Instagram.

"I think black history month is important because it speaks to all the amazing, powerful, era defining, history altering action that has taken place within the black community, it shows how we have helped define and shape modern culture as we know it."

AARON CAMPBELL

What is your name?

Aaron Campbell

What is your course at UEA?

Computing and Graphic Design graduating in 2021.

What roles are you involved in while at University?

  • ACS - ethnic and diversity officer
  • Pride Soc - VP POC
  • Urban Female Movement - Equality and diversity officer
  • Basketball - Social Secretary

What’s something that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?

I'm proud of...

  • being a founding member of the eradicate hate campaign
  • Being part of queer prom and hosting it
  • Being a host of go global
  • My 28 days of pride and Black Excellence photo projects
  • Speaking out and calling attention to BLM within the university (i.e. the first letter I wrote, speaking at the protest etc.)
  • Being the first openly queer men's basketball team member
  • Being a part of the Society alive charity helping with meal distribution and teaching young kids
  • being a part of the team involved in the signing of the equality charter
  • Running BAME POC workshops, talks and safe spaces
  • Being part of the Urban Female Movement, ACS, Basketball and Pride committees

Who inspires you?

Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator inspire me

Do you have a quote that has helped or motivated you or one that you stand by?

"change is inevitable progress is optional" - John C Maxwell

Or

"Baanu so a emmia" (When two carry, it does not hurt.)

Why do you think Black history month is important?

So before my final year of college I did not know that Black history month even existed and I think that speaks to the fact that even now black people as community are made to feel like second class citizens and the fact is we have been deprived of knowing all of this rich history that we have. I think black history month is important because it speaks to all the amazing, powerful, era defining, history altering action that has taken place within the black community, it shows how we have helped define and shape modern culture as we know it. Its important because it allows us to learn and celebrate this history, where as in modern education this knowledge is not always easily accessible. (Just know I could have written so much more lol)

Did you face any challenges at university? And if so, how did you overcome them?

Ok so challenges I have faced included...

- coming out, dealing with racism and homophobia on campus, losing the leadership election this year and almost failing my my degree last year.

I overcame these thanks to great friends who supported me.

"BHM is important to appreciate the work black activists put in to wake us up to what's important & shows us examples of what black people do when we stick together."

Benjamin Joseph-Ebare

What is your name?

My name is Benjamin Joseph-Ebare.

What is your course at UEA?

I study Computer Science and I graduate in 2022.

What roles are you involved in while at University?

The main role I belonged to was the President of the African & Caribbean Society.

What’s something that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?

Creating a business in the entertainment industry that customers enjoy and derive value from it.

Who inspires you?

Steve Jobs, Reece Wabara (founder and owner of MDV), my older Sister, Malcolm X to name a few.

Do you have a quote that has helped or motivated you or one that you stand by?

"As a man thinketh so is he"

Why do you think Black history month is important?

BHM is important to appreciate the work black activists put in to wake us up to what's important & shows us examples of what black people do when we stick together.

Did you face any challenges at university? And if so, how did you overcome them?

The main challenge I have is balancing my life outside university with university itself, I am not fully balanced at this yet but what has helped me significantly is having a journal/diary which I write what I need to accomplish before I sleep. I do this the night before and sometimes the week before.

"It’s time to learn from the mistakes of the past and offer more opportunities for Black people like myself to share our stories and rich heritage, not just during Black History Month, but all year round".

Ashley Hickson-Lovence

What is your name?

My name is Ashley Hickson-Lovence.

What is your course at UEA?

I’m a current PhD student in Creative and Critical Writing. I officially started my research in 2018 and hope to be all done by 2022 at the latest.

What roles were you involved in while at University?

As well as working towards my thesis, I have done some associate tutoring on two undergraduate LDC modules, various bits of outreach work with local schools, The Brilliant Club, First Story etc. Last year, I was also involved in presenting alongside Jumara Begum at UEA’s Postgraduate Education conference which was an illuminating experience.

What’s something that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?

Thinking about it, I suppose I’m proud that I’ve managed to do quite a lot in my relatively short time at UEA. Since starting my PhD in 2018 here, my debut novel The 392 has been published in hardback and paperback; I have written my second novel Your Show (as part of my PhD) which has already been snapped up and will be published in spring 2022; taught LDC undergraduates; worked with The Brilliant Club and First Story; ran a marathon and still observe football referees for the FA most Saturdays. I’m lucky to have two very supportive supervisors who have always kept me on track.

Who inspires you?

Hard-working resilient go-getters. My family. My partner. My two supervisors: Prof. Andrew Cowan and Prof. Alison Donnell. Uriah Rennie. My tattooist (ha!). Writers Sam Selvon and Zadie Smith. Many people on my course. Teachers. Lots of people!

Do you have a quote that has helped or motivated you or one that you stand by?

“…just go on your nerve” - Frank O’Hara )

Why do you think Black history month is important?

For too long Black people have been pigeonholed, underappreciated or dangerously stereotyped. The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in America earlier this year, also belatedly highlighted the inequality that exists right here in the UK. It’s time to learn from the mistakes of the past and offer more opportunities for Black people like myself to share our stories and rich heritage, not just during Black History Month, but all year round.

Did you face any challenges at university? And if so, how did you overcome them?

As a Black person, I’ve found that you often have to work harder to prove yourself to people initially. However, for most part, I feel that UEA has been incredibly supportive and forward-thinking in its attempts to foster an inclusive and diverse university community that is representative of wider society. Due to UEA’s location tucked away right in the corner of England, the campus and the city of Norwich as a whole, probably isn’t as diverse as it has the potential to be. There are a growing number of passionate people, panels and groups for both existing and future BAME students to come together and be a part of.

"Black History cannot be and should not be shoved and condensed into one month. Most of the things, characters, and art that we enjoy have stemmed from black histories such as rock, jazz, African braids, traffic lights, and even Betty Boop".

Fiona Igwe

What is your name?

My name is Ms. Fiona Igwe.

What was your course at UEA?

BSc Biological Sciences (graduated 2019)

What roles were you involved in while at University?

  • UEA Links - St John’s Ambulance First Aider 2016-2019
  • Entrepreneurship Society Secretary 2017-2019
  • Catholic Society – Equality and Diversity Officer 2018-2019
  • Leader of Decolonise UEA Campaign 2018 – 2019
  • Founder of Eradicate Hate Campaign

What’s something that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?

Even on the most challenging days, I get up every morning, I pray and I do something that is part of my purpose.

Who inspires you?

Jesus Christ.

Do you have a quote that has helped or motivated you or one that you stand by?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Why do you think Black history month is important?

Black History cannot be and should not be shoved and condensed into one month. Most of the things, characters, and art that we enjoy have stemmed from black histories such as rock, jazz, African braids, traffic lights, and even Betty Boop.

Did you face any challenges at university? And if so, how did you overcome them?

I faced many challenges at university. Did I overcome all of them? No, however, I was able to get through most. It’s imperative to have a good and genuine support system that you can openly communicate with when you face these giants. I learned to prioritise my health first and make time for things and people that made me happy.

 

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