Hello and welcome to our Black History Month Series!

We will have 4 young changemakers share with us through the month the ways in which they wish to make black history in the future, as well as highlight someone from black history who has inspired them to do so.

First up we have 18 year old Hannah Olateju from London. Hannah has been an inspiration to many through her journey. She has been a quadruple amputee since the age of just 2 years old, which become a major source of insecurity whilst growing up. But this started to change after a trip to Jamaica which encouraged her to see the beauty in her body. Since then she has continued to build her confidence by learning to love herself, and endeavouring to share that love with others. She now works as a beauty and body positivity influencer to an audience of over 95,000. Hannah draws inspiration from Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014), an American poet, singer, writer, playwright and civil rights activist.

“I’d like to leave a legacy, a thought in people’s minds thats consists of all things positive, remarkable and encouraging. I want to be remembered for helping millions of people surpassing their goals, going for their dreams and being true to their soul. Each soul is unique and to unlock our true power we need to discover who we truly are and the only way to do that is going through our life journey, experiencing things and learning from our mistakes and triumphs.”

‘”Maya Angelou is my inspiration as her poem ‘Still I Rise’ speaks so much volume to me. The way she’s used poetry to tell her story, to defend her past but still keep things positive is fantastic!”

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise

Maya Angelou

Post by Hannah Olateju // Stephanie Okereafor