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A special performance of “Retrograde”

Kiln Theatre, London


To celebrate the milestone that is Black Equity Organisation‘s first anniversary, on Saturday 29 April, in partnership with the Kiln Theatre was a special performance of Retrograde by Ryan Calais Cameron, a play based on a particular period in Sidney Poitier’s life. Followed by a post-show Q & A with Jumoké Fashola and David Harewood. 

The event was the first activity to represent BEO’S culture pillar. The purpose of the culture pillar is to focus on the representation of black Britons within cultural activities such as the creative and performing arts, and sports to increase awareness and respect for Black people in Britain. 

As BEO starts its second year, we look to continue to convene with our stakeholders, amplify both issues and solutions and collaborate with our allies. 

Pre-event contributions from:

  • Paul Ntulila, speaker
  • Melissa Walker – pianist  
  • Chauntelle M – spoken word artist 

This event was supported by BSL interpreters Chantel Conway and Debbie Mcleod, photography by Ernest Simons and videography by Paul McKenzie. 


‘Mr Parks, this isn’t just a movie, it’s a whole movement. Whether you like it or not is irrelevant.’

The Golden Age of Hollywood. Behind closed doors, aspiring actor Sidney Poitier is offered a lucrative contract that could make him a superstar. But what is he willing to sacrifice?

From the writer of award-winning, sold-out, For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, Ryan Calais Cameron’s explosive new play explores identity, resilience, and integrity as it examines a true event in 1950’s Hollywood and the reality of a Black actor’s journey to stardom.

Directed by Kiln Associate Director Amit Sharma (The Boy with Two Hearts), this world premiere explores a moment in a career which paved ways and changed perceptions, cementing the legacy of a Hollywood icon.  Retrograde asks the question; how much have we really evolved?


Athian Akec (speaker – BEO Trustee)

Akec is a young historian, writer and speaker. His main areas of focus are climate change, youth violence and racial inequality. He’s written for the Guardian, Independent, Huffpost, Huck magazine and other national newspapers. He’s been profiled by The Times and was a cover star for i-D magazine’s 40th anniversary up and rising profile of Black activists, writers, photographers and actors. Athian has spoken in the House of Commons as a member of the UK Youth Parliament.

Athian previously served on the board of a youth charity and commission in Camden focusing on economic renewal following the pandemic, and was a special advisor to a Parliamentary inquiry into the teaching of Black history in British schools. Athian was published by Penguin in September 2021 as a part of the “Black Joy ” collection with an essay on the Black British cultural renaissance.

Much of Athian’s new work is focused on highlighting forgotten aspects of Black history whether through the parliamentary inquiry, in TV features such as the AlJazeera Generation Change episode or through writing articles such as his 2020 opinion piece published in Esquire Magazine entitled “To Address Systemic Racism, We Need A New History Curriculum or Jordan’s “Black history Month celebrating heritage series” which highlighted the importance of remembering forgotten Black British history.

Melissa Walker, Pianist

Melissa is a young, musician who has achieved incredible things with the piano since she started playing in 2018 at 19 years old she is trained Grade 8 Classical TCL pianist and plays classical,anime,game and writes neoclassical compositions. Melissa is a sixth form student at the Westminster Kingsway college studying Music Performance and Production.

Paul Ntulila

Paul returned to London in March 2023 to seek new opportunities. Paul was the Hub Connect Operations Manager, responsible for Action Deafness’ services to deaf communities in four regions. Paul & his team focused on building on the resources and social activities that each of the communities have, in Herefordshire, Walsall, Worcestershire, and Oxfordshire.

Having previously worked with Zebra Access, as a Community Development Officer until March 2021. Relocating from his hometown of London for the West Midlands. Further experience gained in roles with Black Deaf UK and Global Disability Innovation Hub, London.

Paul brings extensive knowledge and experience of working with charities and not-for-profit organisations, promoting disability and deaf awareness across different communities. With a keen interest in leadership and community engagement to achieve equal access for Deaf people.

He thrives on learning through everyday challenges and opportunities to build a better future for everyone.

Chauntelle M, spoken word artist

Diary of a Poet, aka Chauntelle M, is a spoken word artist from Wolverhampton. She is known for her powerful performances and insightful poetry that addresses social and political issues.
She is a great believer in expressing feelings and thoughts, especially regarding mental health. Post-pandemic, this is more important now more than ever for communities to reconnect and simply talk. She believes there is no better way to explore one’s personal feelings and communicate than using Poetry and Spoken Word as an outlet.

Jumoké Fashola

A British-Nigerian broadcaster, singer, and journalist. She was born in London and grew up in Nigeria, where she developed her love for music and the arts. Jumoké began her broadcasting career in the late 1990s at BBC Radio London, where she presented a variety of programs, including the popular show “Inspirit.”

Jumoké has since become a prominent figure in the British broadcasting industry, with credits including presenting “The Conversation” on BBC Radio 3 and “Sunday Morning with Jumoké Fashola” on BBC Radio London. In addition to her work in radio, Jumoké has also presented television programs, including “The One Show” and “Songs of Praise.”

As a singer, Jumoké has performed on stages all over the world, including the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Her music draws on a variety of influences, including jazz, gospel, and African rhythms.

Jumoké is also a journalist and writer, and has contributed to publications including The Guardian and The Independent. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Women in Film and Television Award for Best Presenter in 2016. Jumoké continues to be a passionate advocate for the arts and for social justice issues, and uses her platform to promote diversity and inclusivity in the media industry.

David Harewood MBE

An actor, director, author and activist. With a career spanning almost 35 years, David has performed on stage with some of the most prestigious theatres and across TV and Film on some of the biggest networks in the world. In 2021 David wrapped the final season of Supergirl, a role that alongside DC Comics and Warner Bros saw him make his directorial debut, adding yet another string to his bow of creativity and talent.

Through his exploration of important and often difficult subjects, David has become a driving force for systematic and cultural change. From his documentary ‘David Harewood: Psychosis and Me’ highlighting his battle with mental health in his twenties, to the influences and injustices that come from simply being born as a person of colour in documentaries such as Black is the New Black, Could Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister and Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour?, in addition to his work with UNICEF to protect children in danger – David is a true change maker in every sense of the word. He has helped raise awareness as well as millions of pounds for so many charities, organisations and individuals across our collective global communities.