Colin Kaepernick is an American political activist and professional American football quarterback. He refused to stand for the national anthem at a game between his team the 49ers and the Green Bay Packers in 2016, as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality and since has become an unsigned free agent. GQ named him Citizen of the Year in 2017 and his role as an activist speaking truth to power continues to grow.
Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr’s first album, Gun Signs & Prayer flew straight to No1 in 2017 but that was only the beginning. In 2018, Stormzy set up the #MERKY Books imprint with Penguin, dedicated to publishing the best new fiction, non-fiction and poetry from a new generation of talent. He also launched “The Stormzy Scholarship” in partnership with Cambridge University in 2018, enabling two black students from underprivileged backgrounds to have their full tuition and maintenance at Cambridge University paid for by the fund. He finished the year by introducing a new collaboration with Adidas Originals, called #AdidasOriginalsByStormzy.
The Duchess of Sussex had a successful career as an actor and activist before joining the Royal Family as the Duchess of Sussex. She has since used her position to be a vocal proponent of the arts and shown her support for young women and people of colour in her work and speeches. She was recently given royal patronage of the National Theatre,
Jameela Jamil is best-known globally for playing Tahani Al-Jamil in Netflix series The Good Place and to British audiences as a presenter on T4, but the model and actress is also an activist. She launched the iWeigh movement on Instagram last year, under the page @i_weigh, which protests the way women in the public eye are judged by their figures and instead encourages women and girls to think about their value in terms of their personal attributes and what they can offer the world. The account has over 270,000 followers and counting.
Munroe Bergdorf is a British model and LGBT activist. Bergdorf was the first transgender model in the UK for L’Oréal and was appointed LGBT adviser to the British Labour Party. She is a campaigner for equality for trans-women and this year created an alternative Queen’s Speech video about championing LGBT rights.
One of the most famous women in the world, the former First Lady of the United States is an international icon known for her grace, humour and intellect. She is a role model as a woman of colour, an advocate of LGBT rights and a strong supporter of access to education for girls and a campaigner for adults and young people to take care of their health. Her new memoir Becoming, is the best-selling book of the year.
Lead image: Stormzy (Creative Commons)