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News & Views

Celebrating Black Lives: Dame Floella Benjamin

As part of Rosslyn Hill Chapel's 'Celebrating Black Lives' series, we celebrate the Trinidadian-British broadcaster and campaigner.

Born in Trinidad in 1949, Floella Benjamin moved to the UK at the age of 11. She soon became an actress and a presenter and appeared on various children's TV programmes throughout the 1970s. With her warm presence she became a beloved TV personality best known for her role in "Play School”. Floella was seen as a role model by young vieweres and used her position to advocate for children's rights, cultural diversity and representation of ethnic minorities in the British media and society in general.

She felt it was important to make sure that children from all minorities and backgrounds are represented on our TV screens so that we can all understand each other and foster respect towards one another.

Due to her outstanding contribution to society, she was in 2010 made a life peer in the House of Lords, taking the title of Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham. She continues her advocacy for inclusivity and equal opportunities in parliament to this day.

Floella also received Special Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and her success has shown that talent and resolve can overcome any obstacles.

"Dreams can come true, but there is a secret. They're realised through the magic of persistence, determination, commitment, passion, practice, focus, and hard work. They happen a step at a time, manifested over years, not weeks."

“Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together."

"I've always said that the opportunity for change exists only when there is a crisis. It's then that minds open up, and people begin to question the status quo."

Each month we mark the significant life of a person of colour as a positive statement and a contribution to redressing historical imbalances in our society. More profiles.


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