Redefining stereotypes by showcasing positive Black and Ethnic Minorities contributions, and empowering and inspiring the next generation.
EDITION TWO – 2019
I am…determined to make a continual difference by creating inspiring opportunities for our young people within our local and global communities….
Who are you?
I am determined to make a continual difference by creating inspiring opportunities for our young people within our local and global communities…. flourishing through their chosen passions and dedicated support throughout their lives.
What is your present role?
I am the Founder and Director of Mentivity. In a nutshell, I am the Project Manager of the organisation and focus on sustained business development through extensive partnership work with schools, local authorities, funding organisations and the media industry.
Tell us about your life journey so far. What has brought you to your current role?
As a young male growing up on one of Europe’s largest housing estate, the notorious Aylesbury in South East London, I have encountered many obstacles in order to achieve my lifetime goal, to become a professional footballer at the age of nineteen.
In order to accomplish this I had to totally dedicate myself to training, learning and playing to progress my career from the age of fourteen to become a Professional Football Player in the Republic of Ireland and Romania from August 2002 until July 2004. I was also offered a full academic and sporting scholarship by Howard University located in Washington D.C. based on both my academic and footballing ability. I was unable to undertake the scholarship and continue my career in America due to injury, but this then allowed me to focus on a career working with young people, higher education and personal development.
Not many people have had the opportunity to experience what I have so far in life and I want to use this as an example to young people that you can attain if you work hard and put your mind to it. I have still managed to enjoy a career as a semi professional football player in the lower leagues of England and called up to represent Barbados National Football team at international level for the Caribbean Cup in 2012, aged 29.
At the heart of all my achievements is EDUCATION, without formal and informal education you will not achieve anything that you desire.
Family is extremely important to me… I am the eldest of seven children, I try to be a positive role model for my siblings and young people that I currently have contact with in London. I want to give back to my community by showing them that anything is possible regardless of where you reside and to help make London a better place r. I feel it is vital to have people like myself in these positions of responsibility as I can relate to young people and understand the obstacles they face on a daily basis. I want to make a significant difference and better our community throughout my career.
In your field of work, what has been your observation and/or experience of white privilege, discrimination and prejudices?
Within my field of work and beyond it is evident that white privilege, discrimination and prejudice is prevalent in the process we call education and life. Far too often there are situations that young black men encounter in that result in harsher sanctions, life experiences and ultimately permanent exclusion where their white counterparts do not always meet the same fate.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were younger?
The importance of making sound investments in areas such as property or the stock market, instead of wasting money on liabilities such as cars, clothes, footwear and nightclubs.
What song, quote, statement or image do you find most encouraging?
Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold… Bob Marley….
How are you redefining a stereotype?
I am a young black man that grew up on a council estate, who owns and heads up a limited company that ow employs FOURTEEN staff within three years, along with my brother Tyson Holmes-Lewis and Leon Wright, a friend of over twenty years and are both now my business partners. We are showcasing to young people that black men can run a successful organisation whilst making a real difference within the community and equipping our youth to make better decisions the will benefit their life chances and consequent successes in the long run.
What advice or top tip would you give to the next generation of BAME individuals?
To follow your chosen passion, dedicate yourself to your passion and persevere no matter what! Once you put your mind to what it is you truly want and are willing to work for, your life will take you on the most incredible journey you could have ever imagined. Believe in your dreams…