Cephas Williams has an aim to take a portrait series of Black people from across the various ally companies we have on board, as well as Black people in the community, in a bid to make more Black people visible across the country. The interest is to crystallize and amplify the contributions of Black British people in today's society and for this to serve as a creative method to not only make more Black people visible but give the next generation and the wider society a holistic picture of what ir means to be Black as well as Black achievements in the UK in the 21st century.
With your support we want to make this the largest collection of photographs of the Black British population ever done.
We will then tour this exhibition. We will initiate a nationwide billboard campaign to further amplify these portraits and the companies these Black people work within / their contribution to society if they run their own business for example.
conceived and created by
Portrait of Black Britain will be released at the Manchester International Festival in July 2021
I was inspired hearing Cephas talk about how we all need to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement – and his focus on the changes needed here in the UK. As the leader of an arts organisation, I know our sector has a huge part to play in the stories we tell and the questions we ask, but I also know that we need to change ourselves and our structures to truly achieve that impact. Cephas brings an artist’s and an activist’s perspective to institutional change. He is ready to work with and within organisations to help make change happen. He is helping us think differently and do better.
The letter combines humane, loving experience: ‘you have given me the opportunity to see humanity in its purest form at a time of chaos’ with specific and clear guidance for action: ‘In order for us to truly progress we need to have uncomfortable conversations that create tangible solutions.’ We need to hold both of these attitudes together in our hearts and minds as we move forward.
Manchester International Festival, Artistic Director & Chief Executive
“I have spent all my working life in the business of music and it's true to say I didn’t see too many folks that looked like me in senior levels of any of the companies I worked in. It’s easy to understand when you're employing somebody you choose somebody that you can relate to, I understood that and tried to redress the balance by recruiting Black people who would otherwise not be given a chance. I have high hopes that by joining The BBN the next generation will see a good few folks that they can relate to and aspire to become, an opportunity I never had.”
“One of the key take-a-ways from “Letter to Zion” is the point Cephas made that we are standing in the midst of perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity. As sad as that seems, we have to take full advantage of the mirror society is currently looking into, and make the changes necessary to ensure Zion and the children of his generation are treated in the same way as their white counterparts.”
Strategic Partnership Solutions Ltd, Founding Partner