Black History Month 2021: Derek’s Message

This Black History Month, Derek shares his thoughts behind the Proud to be interviews, the impact, and why the message is more important than ever…

Black History Month 2021: Derek’s Message

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements that black people have made throughout history right up to today. It is also an opportunity for everyone to learn about the known and potentially unknown histories of Black people and the Black community, while also exposing inequality and making strides to eradicate the inequality that still exists in society today. 

Now in its 34th year, Black History Month UK announced that this year’s theme would be “Proud to Be”, with the intention of showcasing the vast richness of diversity that Black and Brown people bring to the UK.

This year at NKD we decided we wanted to do things a little differently to what we have done previously. We decided to look a little closer to home and reach out to some of the incredible talent within our network and ask why they are “Proud to Be”. We reached out to our chosen participants because we wanted to share with the younger generation of Black and Brown youth, or anybody struggling with their identity or purpose, that all is possible with faith, hard work and perseverance.

The power of storytelling

Through a series of five interviews, we got the chance to understand these amazing people through their personal experiences, their heroes and their histories. 

Being on set for the filming process of the interviews was when I felt the real power of storytelling. Hearing the stories of others, especially people who might be in a similar situation as us, can be inspiring, uplifting and motivating. For some it can be a positive way to reclaim lost voices and identities, for others it can help fuel their energy for that ultimate goal they want to reach.

Watching the interviews take place, I was privileged enough to experience the deeper stories that each contributor told. This made so proud and gave me an extra fuel to want to create more greatness, inspire people through my work and beyond.

It’s safe to say that conversations concerning racism and inequality reached an all-time high over the last year and a half, and, as a result, many Black people felt bombarded by horrifying images in the media. With this in mind, we wanted Black History Month this year to focus on celebrating being Black or Brown, and to inspire and share the pride that people have in their heritage and culture – in their own way and in their own words.

Keeping the message alive

Black History Month gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. That being said, there is still so much more to do and there’s more each and every one of can do every day to educate ourselves and be authentic allies.

I’d like to see a time when we no longer have to celebrate Black History Month. I’d like to see a time when it’s continually celebrated throughout the year. 

If you missed our Proud to Be interview series, click here to watch the individual interviews now.