Baroness Floella Benjamin is one of the most recognised actors in Britain, also an exceptional writer and a leading diversity and inclusion campaigner. She came to Britain in 1960 as part of the Windrush children from Trinidad. Expecting to have a bright future and a wonderful life, Floella received an immediate culture shock experiencing unwelcoming, cold treatment and even violence. Immediately, she was presented with many adversities and recognised the importance of resilience if she was going to make it.
Her father, a philosopher and jazz musician played a major influence on her life, teaching her to think out of the box and become an independent strong woman. Her mother emphasised the importance of education if she was going to succeed in life. Sadly, at the age of 16, due to financial difficulties, Floella had to leave school and begin working at a bank. A remarkably resilient woman, Floella attended night school for three years whilst working at the bank to attain her A-levels. She even dreamed of becoming a bank manager, however, she quickly realised that this was not a viable option for her at that time in Britain. Instead, she pursued a national tour for a hit musical and went on to appear in several stage musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Black Mikado. Catching a lucky break on the drama Within These Walls with Googie Withers, Floella’s TV career took off. She quickly started to receive roles for drama shows and worked with leading producers and directors.
For her contribution to television, she received an OBE in 2001 and was asked to be the Governor of Dulwich College. In 2004, Floella received a Special Lifetime Achievement Award BAFTA, and during the same year, she won a Royal Television Society Award and ran the Olympic torch through Peckham. In 2010 she was the first Trinidadian woman to be made a life peer at the House of Lords becoming Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham. In recognition of her 40-year contribution to charity, she was awarded a Damehood medal in 2020 by Prince Charles.
As someone who has overcome many difficulties to carve out a highly successful career, Floella knows all too well the importance of role models, representation and diversity and inclusion. Therefore, she passionately campaigns for more representation in the media and after lobbying three prime ministers she successfully had a minister for children appointed. Noticing the dominance of white faces in children’s books, Floella has been very outspoken and has convinced many publishers to be more inclusive. A legendary figure who has overcome many adversities to enjoy a spectacular career, Floella is an exciting speaker who will share many inspirational stories, in addition to educating audiences on the importance of diversity and inclusion.
Baroness Floella Benjamin is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:
“I wanted to take this opportunity to say a warm thank you to Baroness Benjamin for a truly thought-provoking, powerful and amazing inspirational talk at this year’s Deloitte Black History Month celebration. I can honestly say everyone is still buzzing from last week. Here is just a sprinkle of some of the wonderful feedback, I have been inundated with following Floella’s inspirational talk: ‘It shook me to my core – the strength of Baroness Benjamin’s story and experience, and the power of her inspirational message about changing the future – I laughed, cried (lots!) and came away feeling truly inspired.’ ‘I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the event and was certainly not expecting to be taken on such a rollercoaster of emotions. I was completely enthralled by the Baroness. Truly inspirational lady and a beautiful human being’. I would be so grateful if you could please pass on my sincere and warm thank you to Floella.”