The 2021 Hall of Magnificence
At Team Zazi, we are hugely influenced by exemplary young people of colour. We are driven by the work of young creatives, activists, entrepreneurs, athletes and students who are in our eyes, delivering their magnificence to those around them and inspiring the next generation of change makers. The work that our young people are involved in within our communities sometimes go unnoticed, it does not get the spotlighting it needs - we want to change that.
Here are 25 of Bristol's most influential and inspiring young people of colour , nominated and celebrated by our community. These young people are influencing, challenging and reconstructing the spaces that they enter. They are all beacons of light for our city. They are all magnificent. We hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us!
Dr. Mya Rose Craig/BirdGirl (She/Her)
Climate Activist, Author
Dr Mya Rose-Craig is an internationally known climate activist, author and founder of Black2Nature. Black2Nature campaigns for equal access to nature for Visible Minority Ethnic communities. They run nature camps for teens and children and nature events, conferences and campaign to make the environmental sector ethnically diverse. Mya is also the youngest British person ever to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol at 18 years old. Her debut book “ We Have A Dream: Meet 30 Young Indigenous People and People of Colour Protecting The Planet” is out now!
K Dogg has exploded on the local and national hip hop scene, amassing tens of thousands of views online being featured on the likes of GRM daily and Limelight TV . We appreciate and admire K Dogg’s musicality but we also appreciate his spirit. K Dogg was a victim of a horrific hate crime in 2020. This attack made national news and shed light on some of the deeply rooted issues we possess as a city when it comes to race and racism. We appreciate how K Dogg has used a life impacting situation to show others how to rise up in the face of hate and channel emotions into a passion you love. You can check out some of K Dogg’s music below.
Harvey Watt (He/Him)
Activist, Social Commentator
Harvey’s work is centered around restoring a sense of respect and clarity towards Afrikan history in mainstream conversation. He has also recently launched his project “Black Excellence” in which he sits down with members of Bristol’s Black community to discuss their success, lessons learned and advice they can give to our community. He was also a key community figure in the Black Lives Matter Resurgence in 2020, speaking at numerous protests and producing numerous forms of social media content for young people during this time.
Abdi was in many ways one of the key figures of the “Black Lives Matter” resurgence in Bristol in 2020. His outspoken, in your face, unapologetic authenticity was present at every major protest that occured throughout the city of Bristol from June 2020 right through to May 2021. As an aspiring professional football player, he is known for commenting regularly that players coming through the rankings of football should not be afraid to voice their frustrations and use whatever platform they have to make a difference.
Skiimsk/Omar Nowak Fearon (He Him)
With his trademark percussion heavy sound blending the influences of neo-soul, hip hop and Afrobeats, Skiimsk's work and talent is known within all music subcultures within our city. Skiimsk recently performed at Love Saves the Day and has done a set with Boiler Room. His debut EP with Alamay released in 2019 has over 100,000 streams on Spotify.
Alamay Combley (She/Her)
Alamay is a musician/vocalist and song writer from Bristol. Her sound has become incredibly well known within the RNB and neosoul scene here within our city, with her debut EP with Skiimsk “Aurora” being streamed over 100,000 times. She recently performed at Love Saves the Day and has done a set with Boiler Room. Alamay is also studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham whilst expanding her music career.
Maya Imani Franklyn (she/her)
Maya is a journalist, content creator and blogger for some of the biggest journalist outlets in the UK. Maya creates content through blog posts and articles, writing pieces on women & minority groups rights, culture, opinion, social issues & personal growth. Maya has written articles for the likes of HuffPost UK, Bristol 24/7 and De Montfort magazine, all whilst completing her degree from Birmingham City University.
Maya was a part of the news reporting team at the Bristol Beacon for Channel4 Black to Front and her professional aspiration is to focus on humanitarian journalism & become a News Presenter, so that she can tell stories that need to be heard world-wide.
Willti Okailey Ofei (she/her)
Willti has recently been accepted into Cambridge University - an unbelievable achievement that deserves a spot on this list by itself!! This is not the only contribution that has got Willti onto this list though. Her desire to learn, ask questions, try new things and expand her horizons is something that members of Team Zazi acknowledge and appreciate dearly:
"Willti is AMAZING!! I am astounded by her passions, her kindness and her willingness to be a pillar to those around her and to her community". - Kavita, Speakers Corner Host
Nasra Ayub (she/her)
Activist, Campaigner and Journalist
Multi-award winning human rights activist,writer and public speaker who is passionate about tackling racism, violence against women and girls and engaging youth in activism. In 2020, she received the Diana Award, which is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years old can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
Nasra works in higher education regulation as well as delivering training and peer education regarding safeguarding against FGM, honour based violence and violent extremism nationally and internationally. She has been featured on Channel 4, BBC 1, BBC Three, ITV and has written for Metro UK, gal-dem, Bristol Museum and the i paper.
Tegan Vincent Cooke (she/her)
Athlete, Activist, Social Media Personality
Tegan is an international para dressage rider, activist and social media content creator based in Bristol. Tegan was born with cerebral palsy and uses her online platforms to normalise and destigmatize conversations surrounding disability. As a woman of colour within a largely white sporting space, Tegan is keen to show young people that equestrian is not just a white middle class persons sport, and that anything that they want to work towards and achieve is possible if they apply themself wholeheartedly. Her aim is to be the first ever Black woman on Team GB’s equestrian team at the Paralympic games in 2024. She is an inspiration to our community and is someone we look up to massively for what she is doing and has already done.
Surya Millar (he/him)
Musician, Actor and Spoken Word Artist
Surya Millar has been making waves in the creative spaces of Bristol. His debut music project “unedited” has recently been announced and is a body of work dedicated to reflecting on his personal journey towards understanding himself in the structural space of Britain. Surya also made his presence felt at the Black Lives Matter protests here in Bristol during the summer of 2020, performing spoken word pieces that aimed to shed light on some of the structural issues that impact young Black people and people of colour.
Sophia Harari (she/they)
Musician, Poet, Creative
Sophia's work focuses on self expression and
identity. She works in an intersectional way and focuses on marginalised perspectives. By pursuing diverse forms of art and media she is able to engage in rich storytelling seen in her projects such as “inner child”, “self preservation”, “the dance” and “two worlds collide”.
Sophia also produces and curates events for the community - her next event "IF YOU KNOW YOU KNOW" can be accessed here.
Photo credit: Elu Sade
Wezley Pepworth (he/him)
Entrepreneur, Performance Coach
Wezley Pepworth is the CEO of Stargate Sports Ltd, a company that delivers a range of services to the community including youth mentoring, PE lessons, after school clubs and community events centered around sports and physical activity. He is also a sports performance strength and conditioning coach, working with elite level athletes to help them perform better in their chosen fields. Wez is known for producing high level coaches through his Stargate methodology and continues to develop more excellent coaches to this day.
Tai-Jan Deidrich (he/him)
Youth mentor, Physiotherapist
At the age of 20 years old, Tai-Jan spends most of his time nurturing young people to express their magnificence through sports and physical activity. Taijan is continually going out of his way to ensure that young people, whether they are athletes recovering from an injury or a young person feeling lost or unmotivated in a classroom are supported in getting exactly where they want to be.
Momin Mohamed (he/him)
Momin is an activist and campaigner whose aim to diversify the legal industry by raising awareness nationwide within various organisations. This year (2021) he was the recipient of the Diana Award, the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years old can receive for their social action or humanitarian work. Momin is also a long term affiliate of Integrate UK, whose work is geared towards equality and integration by supporting young people with their learning.
Abbi Bayliss (she/her)
Digital Illustrator, Artist
Abbi is a digital illustrator and visual artist currently in residence with "maykithappen" (MAYK). Abbi has
experience working within Bristol Arts sectors such as Arnolfini and RWA, alongside being a
Rising Arts Agency creative and the youngest member of the Visual Arts South West Steering
Group. Her regional exhibition tour of her Black Portraits Project has been exhibited across the
South West to Carnaby street Soho. Abbi is also a published illustrator of the children's books
‘Where is Summer’s Fluffy Cat?’ and this year's sequel ‘Why is my hair curly?’. Working for
organisations such as the BBC, writing a podcast for the National Trust and illustrating the Big
Give campaign for Arts and Health South West, Abbi earned her title by Rife Magazine as one
of Bristol’s most influential people under 30.
Tidrah Jeffers (she/her)
Mental Health Outreach Worker
The core of OTR - Tidrah does it all. Engagement work, group facilitation, social media content creation, press communications. As a team we could not allow this list to go up without honouring Tidrah. Her work is essential in ensuring that our ship can continue to sail. Outside of her OTR work, she can be seen working with CVLTURE COLLECTIVE, a Black owned bespoke fashion brand helping members of our community express their individual magnificence through the clothes that they wear.
Elysse Lawrence (she/her)
Elysse is the founder of the ELY project, an organisation that offers mentoring and tutoring sessions to those studying A-level psychology and helps students make the transition from college level to higher education level study.
Elysse also created a role within the HSS department at UWE to further opportunities for people of colour within the higher education space managing 13 “BAME” student advocates across 4 departments within the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences. She was a Co-creator in the "Oops I didn't realise" series, which was an informal space for staff and students to come together to break down misconceptions about each other and talk openly about conversations surrounding race. She is currently in her final year of university, finishing her degree in psychology.
Bassmala Elbushary (she/her)
Student, Activist and Entrepreneur
Bassmala was the Chair of the UWE Equity student committee during the academic year 2020/2021. Despite the challenges of delivering events online Bassmala remained committed and positive throughout leading the other committee members. Bassmala responded to requests for help by the Equity team and helped to develop Equity plans for the new academic year, record promotional videos and support the team with the upcoming Fresher Fair.
Bassmala is also a huge advocate of community development. Bassmala gave a talk about empowering Sudanese women as part of her social action project at FORWARD organisation and is also in the process of launching a project called rural area development in Sudan. All of this incredible work is done alongside studying Biomedical Science full time. She recently completed a police internship with Avon and Somerset police during September and is a Widening Participation BAME Advocate at UWE for the academic year 2021/2022.
Jamaar Semper (he/him)
Jamaar is a sous chef at Lucknam Park Hotel. He took part in MasterChef - The Professionals in 2020 and got to the semi finals. Jamaar is a shining example to those in our community who want to pursue careers in the fine dining industry - his work rate, attention to detail and passion for his food continues to get him into spaces that is incredibly rare for a person his age. He recently had his own night at Lucknam park where he cooked dishes from his Masterchef run. Jamaar has his eyes set on his own Michelin star restaurant in the not too distant future and we have every faith that he will get this done.
Shaquille Fearon (he/him)
Shaq has been barbering since he was nine years old. You read that correct. With a deep passion for barbering and leveling up his craft, you will almost certainly see Shaks in Super Tonic barbers putting in work.
“What impresses me most is his groundedness and humility - I think if I was 15 years old and THAT good at what I do, I would definitely be telling everyone with VIM and chest. Shaq is a phenomenal young man and I have no doubts that he is destined for greatness in the field of barbering or wherever he dedicates his focus”. - Lewis Wedlock, Team Zazi
Cameron Thaws (he/him)
Cameron is a photographer and videographer based here in Bristol. In addition to doing studio shoots and photographing for brands, Cameron’s work is very much rooted in activism and challenging the structures that exist around us. Cameron’s masculinity project seeks to explore and challenge taken for granted assumptions and ideas about Blackness and masculinity within our community here in Bristol. You can check out his work here.
Alaya Holloway (she/her)
Alaya is the CEO of First Gens, a project dedicated to improving the experiences of students who are amongst the first in their family to attend university. FirstGens provides social mobility solutions to universities and corporate companies in the UK. Alaya became a National Award-Winning Entrepreneur whilst obtaining a First Class Law Bachelors in 2020/21 - a truly unbelievable achievement considering the impact Covid 19 has had on students AND businesses across the world these past two years. This lead to Alaya being recently inducted into the UWE Black Hall of Fame for her work with First gens as well as for her outstanding services to the national-award winning UWE Equity Programme.
Moses Mckenzie (he/him)
Moses is an author based in Bristol. His debut novel “An Olive Grove In Ends” comes out in April next year. Moses’s work is about providing stories and narratives that appeal to and represent the lived experience of young people from the inner cities. To provide a lens for them to see themselves through the journey of a novel and to place themselves as main characters in the story of their own magnificence.
Photo credit: Gee Photography
Khadija Megrawri (she/her)
Khadija is an Activist ,social commentator and medical student who believes a doctor's job isn't just to heal the diseases of bodily systems, but to also heal those in the systems around us. Khadija helped create the Bristol BAME Medical Students Group (@BAMEMSG on Facebook) which works on decolonising the medical curriculum at Bristol Medical School so that students are taught to be better doctors for patients of colour. She is also the current co-chair of the British Medical Association (@thebma) Medical Students Committee, representing UK medical students nationally. Her page @antiislamophobiauk aims to be a central resource for advocating against Islamophobia in the UK.