OUR PEOPLE

Why are you involved in 56 Black Men?

I wanna challenge journalists and media companies to start showcasing positive news about black men

Cephas Williams

Favourite Food

Currently don't have one

Favourite Movie

I don't really have a favourite movie, I have favourite movie moments, but recently I've been watching 'Ready Player One' a lot recently.

Favourite Book

The one I'm currently writing 

Cephas Williams

Director / Founder
 

Cephas is the photographer and founder of the 56 Black Men movement, after taking a series of 56 portrait images he launched the campaign in December 2018 focusing on changing the narrative of black men in the media as an introduction to a much wider conversation.

Utilising his degree in Architecture, Cephas also started working on Drummer Boy Studios in December 2017, his aim was to establish a creative hub in the community. Upon doing this Cephas was confused as to why things like this were not being spotlighted, after all the work and money he and his team put into creating this space within the community, he had also secured a partnership with BDP to become his official development partner for the business.

 

Despite this, he were still facing opposition from people in authority and not being spotlighted for the positive work being done. This pushed him to think about how many more black men are doing great things but are never heard or spotlighted. Cephas started to question further, why is it that things like this never makes headline news?  


Over the years Cephas has been instrumental in galvanising support for his business' from key partners and high-level contacts including FTSE 100 Companies, GLA, The Guardian, Somerset House, Clear Channel and others. 

Cephas’ aim is to create something that positively impacts the black community and works to change stereotypes whilst enhancing the community for the progression of the next generation. He's been working to address stereotypes, to help people start their businesses, access different industries and have black men lead on the conversation surrounding their lived experiences. As part of his work with Drummer Boy he was inspired to create 56 Black Men a movement that does just that. 

core team

A moment that made a lasting impression on your life

When I was about 19 I applied for a retail job, the interview was taken by the CEO, in which I explained my vision and what I'd like to do on earth, she explained that she hadn't had a conversation like that in a long time, that she was inspired and wouldn't give me the job because she felt she would be holding me back from changing the world.

Why are you involved in 56 Black Men?

It's important to show black boys a different narrative when it comes to their identity, one that gives them hope and raises aspirations. 

Deborah  Obaseki

Deborah Obaseki

Director / Public Relations 

Deborah is a Director of 56 Black Men and manages all of our PR as well as Cephas' diary. She is also a Co-founder of Drummer Boy Studios and the Founder of The Womens Association.

 

Her passion finds its roots within the conversation of women and aims to help create a world where women believe they can be whoever they want to be, she does this by creating forums for conversation and opportunities for collaboration whilst challenging the stereotypes that have been imposed on women for decades.

As a result, she set up The Women’s Association. Her projects have impacted over 3000 women to date and growing.

She works with organisations bringing new ideas to their Diversity & Inclusion agendas to help steer them away from a tick box approach to help bring about systemic change. She has worked with companies such as Google, Norton Rose Fulbright, PwC, Royal Armed Forces and more. 

Deborah is currently in the final year of her 2 masters, 1 is a Master in Business Administration (MBA) at Open University and the other is an MA in Gender & Women's Studies at Lancaster University.

 

core team

Favourite Food

Anything to do with Salmon​

Favourite Movie

Crazy Rich Asians

Favourite Book

I can't choose between Who Says You Can't? You Do by Daniel Chidiac and Crushing by Bishop TD Jakes

A moment that made a lasting impression on your life

I was working 2 part-time jobs, running 2 start-ups, whilst struggling financially to pay for 2 masters. I had no idea how I was going to pay for my degree and thought I would be kicked off the course. I went for a meeting for 1 of my startups and met with an amazing woman who noticed something was wrong, she asked what was up so I was honest with her and she sent me money for my university fees the day before it was due.

 

Why are you involved in 56 Black Men?

To instill belief in that year 9 black boy who wants to be an artificial intelligence scientist even though society tells him he can’t be. 

Harry Phinda

A moment that made a lasting impression on your life

When I met my 99 year old grandad and he told my mum in my native language that I’m a special child.

Harry Phinda

Operations Coordinator

 

Harry has been an advocate for young people in Global advocacy for the past 9 years. He has represented Unicef, British Youth Council and Restless development in high-level conferences advocating for the rights of young people. He has given numerous speeches in Parliament, Party conferences and Number 10 and has remained consistent in his messaging of 'Young people are not just service users, they are world changers.'

In 2014, he co-founded Youth for Change Global. The success of Youth for Change has spread globally with regional offices in Tanzania, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Youth for Change has won numerous awards including the prestigious True Honour Award. At grass roots level he coordinated a National schools conference where they trained 200 school officials, teachers and police on Female genital mutilation and Early Forced Marriage to make schools a safer place. Since, Harry has worked as a researcher and consultant in UK politics. He has held a board position with Unicef for 5 years and is an official He for She ambassador for UN Women.

 

He was recently awarded the Queen Young Leader for his service in bettering the lives of young people in the Commonwealth. He received this award from Her Majesty the Queen in 2018.

core team

Favourite Food

Chicken & Waffles

Favourite Movie

Coach Carter

Favourite Book

Wild at Heart by John Aldridge

Why are you involved in 56 Black Men?

Its important for

us to continue to be brave and challenge the status quo, reinforcing

a positive 

self fullfilling 

prophecy for our young black men. 

Caroline Forbes

Specialist Partner - Clear Channel

Caroline is part of the 56 Black Men advisory board. Within her role as a specialist partner for Clear Channel she builds and maintains strong influential relationships in specialist agencies, identifying key stakeholders and creating networks of people who understand what and how they need to deliver for the Agency.

Caroline's client base ranges from the Dentsu Aegis and Publicis Agency networks. She is also the client lead for Clear Channel on Diageo and BT Group which includes EE and Plusnet.

 

Alongside this Caroline also takes up a role in Clear Channel as a Fairness Exec Sponsor. Elevating the companies Fairness value and supporting their Fairness initiative by collaborating and promoting within Clear Channels internal teams.

The introduction of the Fairness value to the Clear Channel business has been pivotal in Carolines growth and enjoyment away from the day to day. Her key areas of focus have been to develop the relationship with 56 Black Men and other initiatives within the scope of the companies Fairness pillars.

 

board member

Favourite Food

Caribbean

Favourite Movie

Don’t have one favourite movie, but here a few that will give you a sense of what I’m into 😊– The Godfather, There’s something About Mary, City of God and Gladiator

Favourite Book

My most interesting read in the last 6months has been ‘Natives - Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’ by Akala (August 2019)

Caroline Forbes

A moment that made a lasting impression on your life

The birth of my children. Becoming a mother is my constant inspiration. My children have shaped my life and the energy I apply to all things that enable us to grow individually and as a collective.

 

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