Black Powerlist 2021: Lewis Hamilton ends incredible year top of influential list

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Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton has been named the most influential Black person in Britain today.

The 35-year-old, who has just been crowned World Champion for the seventh time, topped the list of the incredible people recognised among those with African, African Caribbean and African American heritage.

Hamilton became the most successful racing driver in history last weekend when he clinched a seventh World Championship.

This equals Michael Schumacher’s record and earlier in the year Hamilton surpassed Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 grand prix wins – he now has 94.

The driving legend has also been a key supporter for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd this summer and for launching The Hamilton Commission to improve diversity in UK motorsport.

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Hamilton, who is the only Black driver in the sport, said: "It’s an absolute honour to be named number one on The Powerlist, I really really appreciate it. This for me is a monumental moment.

“I'm so proud to be acknowledged, especially within the black community. Everyone on this list is so inspiring and leading in their own industry, I'm honestly thrilled to be mentioned alongside them. 

“I think we all have responsibility and we're trying to do our best. I like to think that I'm just a part of a chain of many people trying to push for change."

After his historic victory on Sunday, Hamilton vowed to redouble his efforts to make Formula One a more inclusive and diverse sport.

He wrote on Instagram: "Leading up to today and even after I crossed the line, I've been gathering my thoughts about what's most important to me.

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"This year has been so unpredictable. With the pandemic and obviously the season being pushed back by several months, I had the most downtime I've ever had in my life. It gave me the chance to really think about my ultimate purpose.

"Seven World Championships means the world to me, I can't even describe how much, but there's still another race we've yet to win.

"This year I've been driven not just by my desire to win on the track, but by a desire to help push our sport, and our world to become more diverse and inclusive. I promise you I am not going to stop fighting for change.

"We have a long way to go but I will continue to push for equality within our sport, and within the greater world we live in.

"Equaling Michael Schumacher's record puts a spotlight on me that I know won't be here forever. So, while you're here, paying attention, I want to ask everyone to do their part in helping to create a more equal world.

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"Let's be more accepting and kinder to each other. Let's make it so that opportunity is not something that is dependent on background or skin colour.

"Nothing is impossible. A driving force for me this year has been to set an example for the next generation, to never give up on your dreams.

"I was told by many that my dream was impossible, yet here I am. I want you to know that you can do it too. Never give up, keep fighting, and let's keep rising to the occasion. #S7ILLRISING."

Joining Hamilton on the list for the fist time is Professor Kevin Fenton, the Regional Director of Public Health England for London, who was appointed this year and has been key in how the capital has managed the coronavirus pandemic.

Grime artist Stormzy was placed at number three on the list. The 27-year-old and his company pledged to £10million to organisations fighting for racial equality and social justice over the next 10 years.

Actor Michaela has made it onto the list for the first time

In a statement, the award-winning rapper said: "I'm lucky enough to be in the position I'm in and I've heard people often dismiss the idea of racism existing in Britain by saying 'if the country's so racist how have you become a success?!' and I reject that with this.

"I am not the UK's shining example of what supposedly happens when a black person works hard.

"There are millions of us. We are not far and few. We have to fight against the odds of a racist system stacked against us and designed for us to fail from before we are even born.

"Black people have been playing on an uneven field for far too long and this pledge is a continuation in the fight to finally try and even it."

Actor, screenwriter and director Michaela Coel is placed at number four on the list, appearing for the first time.

Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful

The 33-year-old behind BAFTA-award winning Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You has also starred in Black Mirror and Black Earth Rising.

Coel has already been named in British Vogue's 2020's list of influential women.

Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-chief of British Vogue, appears at number five in the list and has long campaigned for more diversity within the fashion industry.

Earlier this year, Enninful wrote a powerful essay in Vogue after he joined the Black Lives Matters protests in London following the tragic death of George Floyd.

He said: "I really believe that after what happened in Minneapolis, people are not going to be so blasé in the future. I truly think it will be a changed world. And I feel hopeful."

Dame Professor Donna Kinnair, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing

Dame Donna Kinnair, the CEO and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing is number six on the list.

She has specialised in child protection, providing leadership in major hospital trusts in London, teaching, and advising on legal and governmental committees

Dame Kinnair has highlighted the huge contribution immigrant professionals make to the NHS.

She said: "Coronavirus has shone a spotlight on the contributions made by immigrants to our NHS.

"I hope we recognise the contribution healthcare workers make in a material sense. Let’s not just have clapping or words of empty praise. If we value our nurses, let’s pay them properly."

Windrush lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie

Lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie has been named number nine of the list. She is representing the 200 victims of the Windrush scandal and has worked tirelessly for justice.

Historian and joint creative director of Uplands Television, David Olusoga, has been placed at number eight on the list.

Olusoga is responsible for the BBC series Black and British: A Forgotten History, The World's War, A House Through Time and Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners.

He has also penned the award-winning Black and British: A Forgotten History, as well as The World’s War and The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism.

Journalist, author and broadcaster Afua Hirsch has made it onto number nine on the list.

Writer, journalist and broadcaster, Afua Hirsch

A former barrister, specialising in criminal defence and public and international law, Hirsch later became the Guardian's legal correspondent before exapnding her journalism and writing career.

Richard Iferenta, a Partner and Vice Chair at KPMG LLP, has been named number 10 on the influential list.

New Powerlist entrants also include Marcus Rashford who campaigned for free school meals for children during the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Jacqui Dyer President of the Mental Health Foundation and Yemi Edun, CEO of Daniel Ford & Co, only the second person from the real estate industry to make the list.

The Powerlist 2021 is published by Powerful Media. Its sponsors include PwC, Linklaters, Refinitiv, the Executive Leadership Council, Herman Miller and Facebook.

Dr Heather Melville, OBE, PwC, Director of People Networks & Client Relationship Programmes said: “At PwC we're proud to be sponsoring The Powerlist for the second year running, celebrating black excellence across so many diverse fields and industries across the UK. We congratulate all the remarkable people recognised in this year’s awards in these momentous times.”

Film-maker David Olusoga

David Martin, Global Diversity Partner, Linklaters, added: “We want to ensure that we are a firm that celebrates achievement and highlights role models, as we believe they are incredibly important for all of us right now. For these reasons, we are proud again to support The Powerlist and celebrate the success of so many people in the black community”.

Michael Eboda, CEO of Powerful Media, publisher of The Powerlist 2021, said: “The Powerlist continues to be a great showcase, acknowledgement and reminder of the amazing individuals of African, African Caribbean and African American heritage we have in the UK and I would like to congratulate each and every one on the list.

 “Lewis Hamilton is a remarkable sportsman and I applaud the great work he is doing to tackle diversity within the motorsport industry.

"All this, including his stance on Black Lives Matter this year makes his recognition as the UK’s most powerful black Briton on the Powerlist 2021 so very well deserved. He is an inspiration to us all.”

Here is the full Powerlist 2021

Top 10

Richard Iferenta, KPMG Partner

1. Lewis Hamilton MBE – Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion

2. Professor Kevin Fenton – Regional Director, PHE London

3. Stormzy – Grime Artist, Philanthropist                                                               

4. Michaela Coel – Actor, Screenwriter, Director                                                                 

5. Edward Enninful OBE – Editor-in-Chief, British Vogue                                                             

6. Dame Donna Kinnair – CEO & General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing                                                                

7. Jacqueline McKenzie – Director at Centre for Migration Advice and Research and McKenzie, Beute and Pope                                                             

8. David Olusoga – Historian and TV presenter                                                                            

9. Afua Hirsch – Journalist, Author, Broadcaster                                                                            

10. Richard Iferenta – Partner and Vice Chair, KPMG LL

Professor Kevin Fenton

Arts, Fashion and Design (not ranked)

Chi-Chi Nwanoku, OBE –  Founder, Artistic & Exec Director Chineke!;

Duro Olowu – Fashion Designer

Dr Shirley J Thompson, OBE – Composer, Artistic & Music Director, Writer, Educator, University of Westminster

Pat McGrath MBE – Founder, Pat McGrath Cosmetics

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – Artist

Francesca Hayward – Principal Dancer, Royal Ballet

Grace Wales-Bonner – Founder and Creative Director at Wales Bonner

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith – Actor/Founding Member Act for Change

John Boyega – Actor

Idris Elba OBE – Actor, Producer

John Boyega is also on the list
(Image: Getty)

Business, Corporate, Financiers and Entrepreneurs (not ranked)

Alan Smith – Global Head of Risk Strategy and Chief of Staff, Global Risk, HSBC

Camille Drummond – Vice President, Global Business Services, BP

Eric Collins – CEO and Founding Member, Impact X Capital Partners

Jason Black – Co-founder of Crep Protect and Co-Owner of Crepe and Cones

Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu – CEO, AXA Africa Specialty Risks, Lloyd’s of London

Netsai Mangwende – Head of Finance for Great Britain, Willis Towers Watson

Pamela Hutchinson – Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Bloomberg

Sandra Wallace – UK Managing Partner, DLA Piper

Tevin Tobun – Founder and CEO, GV Group (Gate Ventures)

Yvonne Ike – Managing Director and Head of Sub Saharan Africa region, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Paulette Rowe – CEO, Integrated and E-commerce Solutions, Paysafe Group

Nadja Bellan-White – Global Chief Marketing Officer at VICE Media Group, former Executive Partner, WPP Team Leader at Ogilvy

Roni Savage – Managing Director, Founder of Jomas Associates

Dean Forbes – President, The Access Group

Idris Elba is on the list
(Image: Getty)

Dame Sharon White – Chairman, John Lewis Partnership

Tara Lajumoke – Managing Director, Financial Times

Adrian Joseph – Managing Director, Group AI and Data Solutions, BT Group

Femi Bamisaiye – Chief Information Officer, HomeServe UK

Yemi Edun – Founder and CEO, Daniel Ford & Co and Daniel Ford International

Emeka Emembolu – Senior Vice President – North Sea at BP

Tunde Olanrewaju – Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Media, Publishing and Entertainment (not ranked)

Akala – Educator, Rapper, Poet, Activist

Anne Mensah – Vice-president of Content UK, Netflix

Amma Asante MBE – Writer, Director

Charlene White – ITN News Anchor

Femi Oguns MBE – Agent, Founder and CEO of Identity Theatre

School (not ranked)

Gary Younge – Journalist; Author; Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

Lorna Clarke – BBC Controller of Pop Music

Marcus Ryder – Executive Producer of Multimedia, Caixin Global

Paulette Simpson – Executive, Corporate Affairs and Public Policy, Jamaica National Bank; Executive Director, The Voice Media Group

Reggie Yates – Writer;  Director; Broadcaster

Reni Eddo-Lodge – Journalist, Author

Sir Lenny Henry – Actor, Writer, Campaigner

Vanessa Kingori MBE – Publisher, British Vogue

Bernadine Evaristo – Writer, Professor of Creative Writing, Brunel

Hugh Muir – Senior Assistant Editor, The Guardian

Footballer Marcus Rashford is on the list for the first time
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Annette Thomas – CEO Guardian Media Group PLC

Dorothy Koomson – Author

Kamal Ahmed – Editorial Director, BBC News

Politics, Law and Religion (not ranked)

David Lammy – Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Member of Parliament for Tottenham

Dr Sandie Okoro – Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank

Joshua Siaw MBE – Partner, White & Case

Dr Kathryn Nwajiaku – Director, Politics and Governance, Overseas Development Institute

Martin Forde, QC- Barrister

Rose Hudson-Wilkin – Bishop of Dover

Segan Osuntokun – Managing Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Harry Matovu QC – Barrister

Marcia Willis Stewart QC – Director, Birnberg Peirce & Partners

Stephanie Boyce – Deputy Vice-President, Law Society of England and Wales

Patrick Vernon OBE -Political activist and social commentator

Public, Third Sector and Education (not ranked)

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon – MBE CEO and Co-Founder, STEMettes

Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE – Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe; Chancellor, Coventry University; Non-Executive Director, Co-op Group

Marvin Rees – Mayor of Bristol

Dr Nira Chamberlain – President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

Professor Funmi Olonisakin – Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at King's College London; Founding Director of African Leadership Centre

Lord Simon Woolley – Co-founder/Director, Operation Black Vote

Sonita Alleyne OBE – Master, Jesus College, Cambridge

Professor Patricia Daley – Vice Principal at Jesus College Oxford

Science, Medicine and Engineering (not ranked)

Dr Emeka Okaro- Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Dr Ian Nnatu – Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Joy Odili – Consultant Plastic Surgeon

Dr Sylvia Bartley – Senior Global Director, Medtronic Foundation

Samantha Tross – Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Professor Laura Serrant OB – Head of Department and Professor of Community and Public Health Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley Bent OBE – Chief Midwifery Officer, NHS England

Martin Griffiths – Lead trauma surgeon, Royal London & National Clinical Director for Violence Reduction, NHS

Dr Paula Franklin – Chief Medical Officer at Bupa Global and UK

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE – President, Mental Health Foundation           

Sport (not ranked)

Anthony Joshua – World Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Dina Asher-Smith – World champion sprinter

Raheem Sterling – Footballer

Marcus Rashford – Footballer and campaigner

Technology (not ranked)

Ebele Okobi – Public Policy Director Africa, the Middle East & Turkey, Facebook

Ije Nwokorie – Senior Director, Apple

Nneka Abulokwe OBE – Founder and CEO, MicroMax Consulting

Jacky Wright – Chief Digital Officer & Corporate Vice President, Microsoft, US

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