• E is for Evelyn

    E is for Evelyn, Evelyn Dove. Evelyn Dove was born in London on 11 January 1902 and was the first black woman to sing on BBC radio. Although often referred to as the British Josephine Baker, Evelyn Dove replaced Josephine Baker in 1932 as the star attraction at the Casino de Paris and in a career that spanned over five decades she was a star of jazz and cabaret, embraced by the world. Evelyn had West African and English heritage, her father being a barrister originally from Sierra Leone. It is reported that she had a privileged upbringing, attending private school before going on to study at the Royal Academy…

  • D is for Dido

    Dido Elizabeth Belle is the first black British aristocrat, born in 1761. She’s one of my favourites for a few reasons, the first is because history often shows black people as slaves and servants but Dido Elizabeth Belle was an aristocrat. Rumour has it that some visitors were often unprepared to see a black woman dressed in the same clothes as themselves roaming around the house with the freedom that a servant at the time would not have had. The second is because of the impact that I believe she undoubtedly held on the law at the time so you’ll have to excuse me if I geek out later, I’ll…

  • C is for Charlotte

    I’m not a royalist at all, I wasn’t raised that way, but I cannot pretend that when Prince Harry got engaged to Meghan Markle I wasn’t celebrating. I remember going into work and finding one of the only other black women I work with and doing the most. “Oh my god we’ve made it” “Huh?” “The royal family is going to be black! ”. I’m not going to lie, I may or may not have equated Meghan to Barack… what can I say I was excited. Funnily enough I didn’t watch the royal wedding, because again, I wasn’t raised that way, but I’ve seen numerous clips and Meghan did us…

  • B is for Brown

    William Brown is recorded as the first black woman to serve in the British Navy. Dates of service range from between 1804 – 1815. I wish I knew the real name of the woman who went by William Brown. She was by all accounts a real bad ass. She’s also one of my favs when it comes to learning about Black British Herstory because her story takes it back to the 19th century. According to the Annual Register, in 1805 Ms Brown was a married woman. Her husband however evidently made her so mad that she secretly decided to join the Royal Navy where she served on the Queen Charlotte,…

  • A is for Diane Abbott

    For those of you who don’t know, Diane Abbott is currently the Shadow Home Secretary, a role she was appointed to in October 2016 and is the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington. In 1987, just a year after I was born, she was also the first black woman ever to be elected to Parliament. I’m not saying my birth played a role in this but you can’t help but note the coincidence in timing. Diane Abbott is one of my sheroes. Intelligent – Diane Abbott is a Cambridge University Masters graduate. #enoughsaid Noble – Ms Abbott is often seen to be on the left of Labour, and she…