For Black History Month (and forever) we're celebrating and focusing on blackness at HQ and beyond. It’s important to acknowledge and look back at the past this month but also to recognise that Black history is being made right now. With that in mind, over the next four weeks we’ll be speaking with our black colleagues and the creatives we love, to celebrate and explore their black identity.
Ending our hugely inspiring series with a bang is the amazing content creator and model Clara from @rollinfunky. A long-time friend of RI, we chat to Clara about the black women who inspired her, how music influences her style and the importance of speaking out when the world is unjust …
What does being Black mean to you?
To me, being black means passion, love, laughter, strength, ambition, being family oriented and creative. For me, these words encapsulate what being black means beautifully because black is beautiful.
Who/what inspires you?
There are many different people that inspire me such as Oprah Winfrey who came from an extremely poor background and became a billionaire - a phenomenal achievement for a black woman especially pre-social media. Barack Obama is another inspiration because he achieved the unachievable and became the first black president of the USA, something many black people thought they would never see in their lifetime. Then there are others like Maya Angelou for her inspirational quotes and words of wisdom and Olive Morris for her activism. She fought for feminism, black power, racial justice and squatters’ rights amongst other causes in 1970s London. She definitely inspired me to speak out and call for change on matters that are unjust and I feel passionate about.
We think your style is amazing! Do you take inspiration from anyone in particular, or from music art etc?
A lot of my fashion style is inspired by music. I believe fashion is art and art is a way of expressing yourself, just like music. Therefore, what I am listening to when I get ready can determine how I will style my outfit. I love colour and like to have pops of colour in my outfit. When it comes to pushing the fashion boundaries and being adventurous, artists like Beyonce, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj inspire me.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of being a black woman with a disability who is a wheelchair user. I am proud of who I am, the journey I have made to who I am today. I am proud of seeing black people succeed, achieving their goals and inspiring others to do the same.
Why do you think celebrating Black History Month is important?
I think celebrating Black History Month is important because, the more its celebrated and people learn about Black History the more people will realise that there aren’t two separate versions of history, either black or non-black, there is just history.
Slavery is a painful and uncomfortable part of our past but there is so much more to black history than that. Black people were and still are royalty, aristocrats and creatives that influenced many parts of life that we enjoy today. From fashion and technology to science, music and sport and I think it’s important for people to embrace and acknowledge that too.
How can we keep up the celebration and awareness beyond the ‘official’ four weeks?
We can keep it going beyond the official four weeks by continuing to have the conversation, continuing to push for inclusion, acknowledging black talent and amplifying those voices.