Black History Month: Top Speakers to Book in 2021
Black History Month is an essential celebration of Black achievements, and how such pioneering figures as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. shaped society with their acts of heroism. In business, Black History Month should be recognised both internally and externally, to drive inclusion within the workplace.
Discover our top pick of motivational speakers for Black History Month in this post, then contact a booking agent to hire a powerful orator for your event.
What is Black History Month?
For over a century, Black History Month has been recognised across the globe, by Government leaders and organisations alike. As the achievements of Black people are often whitewashed in historical discussions, the event draws valuable attention to the achievements of equality campaigners, academic scholars and other key figures.
When is Black History Month?
Black History Month runs from the 1st to the 31st of October in the United Kingdom, while in America, the event takes across February.
During this period, companies reflect on the quality of inclusion within their workplace, and how to best serve their diverse employees. Through events led by Black History speakers, staff learn how to cultivate a culture of belonging, by recognising the strengths in their differences.
Black British Awards’ Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014
Former Dragons’ Den investor and serial entrepreneur, Piers Linney, has been widely hailed for improving representation in business. He was named in the 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in Tech, Top 100 BAME Leaders in Business and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at the Black British Awards. At events, Piers discusses with business leaders the importance of diversity in the workplace.
“We invited Piers to talk to our colleagues about diversity and its importance in business at our first ever digital internal conference. We’re at the start of our journey when it comes to talking about race and ethnic diversity in the workplace and Piers pitched his session perfectly for our colleagues.”
– The Very Group
Ambassador for Show Racism the Red Card
On the pitch, Anita Asante earned 71 caps for England’s national football team, a staggering feat that proved her sporting prowess. She has continued to impact the sport off the pitch, as an ambassador of Show Racism the Red Card Anita has played an important role in campaigning against racial discrimination. Her insight into equality in sport can be easily translated to the workplace, leading to increased awareness of discriminatory attitudes.
“Anita joined our final Festival of Football panel in July 2019 and was such a valuable participant. A passionate advocate for equality and anti-discrimination, Anita is an incredibly knowledgeable and eloquent speaker. Anita’s strength is in being able to articulate powerful and original thought in an accessible and engaging manner.”
– Fare Network Ltd
George the Poet
NME’s Best Podcast for ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast?’
George the Poet is an artist of many talents. The podcast host, spoken word artist and hip-hop rapper uses his powerful voice to spark social change, by discussing the importance of movements like Black Lives Matter. What sets George apart is his ability to resonate with audiences of all ages and demographics, through his award-winning podcast, Have You Heard George’s Podcast, and public speaking for Black History Month events.
CEO of the National Black Governors Network
Committing her professional career to improving diversity and inclusion within businesses, Sharon Warmington has led such organisations as the National Black Governors Network and Education Governance Solutions. She also founded the Unstoppable Women’s Leader Conference, an event that recognises the contributions of women in business. At Black History Month events, Sharon celebrates the achievements of Black female professionals to empower audiences.
Director of Creative Diversity for the BBC
Author, businessperson and former panellist on Loose Women, your audience will instantly recognise June Sarpong from her many media appearances. She published Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration and The Power of Women, two powerful books on the damage caused by discrimination from the perspective of a Black woman in business. June’s speaking topics explore her experience as the Director of Creative Diversity for the BBC, and how she ensures inclusivity in the workplace.
Named in The 100 Most Influential Black British People
Akala is one of the UK’s leading voices on racial equality. He is regularly booked for Black History Month events where he shares the discrimination he faced, as well as the statistics that indicate the dire need for transformative action. From award-winning hip-hop artist to the author of Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala continues to educate and inspire with his art, making him a popular speaker for events.
“Completely engaging, and the breadth and depth of his knowledge was amazing. He was a resounding hit.”
– Oxford Brookes University
Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year 2010
Maggie Alphonsi is a passionate advocate for gender and racial equality, in both sport and business. As part of England’s Rugby World Cup-winning team in 2014, she showed incredible determination and mental resilience, traits that she instils in her audience at events. Maggie can also reflect on her experience with discriminatory online abuse and the steps that we can all take to forge a more equal, understanding future this Black History Month.
“Maggie was our guest speaker at our inaugural International Women’s Day event, and it couldn’t have gone better. She was relatable to both the men & women in the room and her personal stories were both funny and inspiring. We were delighted with how the event went and we are very appreciative that she stayed behind to talk to our Associates.”
– Lockton LLP
Led The #IsThisYou Campaign Against Racism
Derek Redmond is best known for his bravery and resilience at the 1992 Olympic Games, where he fought to cross the finish line despite a serious injury. Off the track, however, he experienced racial discrimination, the impact of which he revealed during his #isthisyou campaign. The social media series featured Black athletes and their stories, to inspire long-term change.
“We worked with Derek for an online event this year, and he was absolutely fantastic. Extremely professional and really easy to work with. His talk, even though it had to be done online due to the pandemic, was very interesting and all the feedback we received from our guests was positive. Very happy to recommend him for any event.”
– Casual Business
Founder of The MOBO Awards
When Kanya King identified a gap in the market for an awards show dedicated to Black-originated music, The MOBO Awards were established in 1996. Now a popular guest speaker, she reflects on this period of her career, inviting audiences behind the scenes of the award show’s creation. Kanya explores the hurdles she faced because of her race, and what business leaders can do to ensure that their Black employees feel respected.
“She gave us an amazing in-depth speech and answered all questions both coherently and comprehensively – so I think it’s fair to say Kanya was the best choice for our event. We have had glowing reviews from our participants who were impressed by her and also the fact that they were able to interact and ask her questions!”
– Kofi Deloitte
Head of Culture for Lloyd’s of London
As the Head of Culture for Lloyd’s of London, Pauline Miller has dedicated her career to improving diversity and inclusion in business. The specialist speaker is the perfect addition to Black History Month themed events, as she can both reflect on important historical events, share her own experiences and leave audiences with a toolbox for equal opportunities.