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.

In our fifth instalment of the series, meet friend of RI, Grandy Katega, who speaks to us about the authenticity being Black gives her and the importance of keeping the conversation going beyond October …

Tell us a bit about you …

I’m Grandy Katega and I’m 23 I graduated last year from a fashion degree and I’m really grateful that since then I get to have my dream job of being a fashion and beauty blogger. I’m all about not taking life too seriously, I’m definitely a glass half full kinda gal and my faith is also very important to me.

What does being Black mean to you?

It just means being my true authentic self, having the freedom to be exactly who I am. Being Black is so beautiful and I love it.

Who & what inspires you?

My family inspire me a lot. I have a lot of hard working people in my family who have defied the odds so whenever I’m feeling unmotivated I usually think about how hard they work and think ‘okay I gotta get my life together!’ Eric Thomas is also an incredible speaker; his videos always inspire me. I would call him my mentor via the internet, and I’d love to meet him one day!

We think your style is amazing! Do you take inspiration from anyone in particular, or from films, music, art etc?

I am inspired by so much! I draw inspiration from all the amazing things I see around me. I also love to draw inspo from Pinterest whenever I’m in creative rut because it’s overflowing with new ideas especially for my work as I’m always styling outfits.

What are you most proud of?

Wow deep question! Well, I’m very much proud of the fact that I love my life. There are a lot of unhappy people out there so I’m very grateful and blessed to be in the position that I’m in. I’m also proud of graduating and that I have a life filled with joy, love and freedom.

Why do you think celebrating Black History Month is important?

It’s important so that people who don’t have the Black experience are encouraged to learn and educate themselves about Black History. Ignorance is not bliss in this circumstance. We need to educate ourselves about the past so that the future can be different. There are so many incredible things that black people have achieved throughout history that aren’t acknowledged or even known about so it’s great that during this month these achievements are appreciated.

How can we keep up the celebration and awareness beyond the ‘official’ four weeks?

It needs to be something that’s imbedded into our daily lives. Black people don’t get to pick and choose when they can stop being black so it should also be a conscious decision for people of other races to be aware all year round of what black people go through. There is so much information out there that the world can use to educate themselves on black issues from movies to books to podcasts. Committing to absorb the  information out there and learn is an easy way to keep the awareness going.