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Change Makers: Cephas Williams

Cephas Williams is the founder of 56 Black Men and one of the UK’s leading campaigners addressing the negative portrayal of black men in the media. He talks to Michael about his powerful new campaign, Let’s Not Forget, that launched across the UK featuring the names of black victims of racist violence in the United States, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. It comes in response to their recent tragic killings with the message that we must not forget those that have lost their lives and simply move on. Cephas also shares his views on what business must do to become more diverse and inclusive, and why they cannot remain silent on issues of race.

Cephas is the founder and photographer of the 56 Black Men movement and Drummer Boy Studios. After taking a series of portrait photographs of 56 black men in hoodies, he launched ’56 Black Men’ as a campaign in the UK focusing on changing the narrative of black men in the media as an introduction to a much wider conversation. The campaign was a response to the question of why the prevailing headline news about black men was always surrounding knife crime or violence, and challenges these negative stereotypes, while spotlighting the positive achievements of the black men in the series.

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Chapter 1 outlines the concept of mission and how the breakthrough brands of today have succeeded by building a mission that inspires belief, generates a following and instils a purpose beyond profit.