RARE  RISINGSTARS - The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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photo of Bez Adeosun

As I write this foreword, the half-way point of 2020 is only a few days away. In the past six months, two words have woven themselves into the fabric of our daily experience - “unprecedented times.” Life has simultaneously been put on hold, and thrown into tumult and uncertainty for many. We have been forced to reassess our relationship with time; forced to foreground the immediate and reach to the past whilst a mountain of uncertainty is erected ahead of us. This aligns seamlessly with the thought I would like to underlie this publication as it enters a new decade: reflect and renew.

Initially, COVID-19 was alleged to be a great leveller. The virus was portrayed as an indiscriminately disruptive force. Yet, as its effects unravel across the world, light is being shone on all too familiar patterns of inequality in healthcare, education, and labour. Further, as the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis continues to reignite #BlackLivesMatter protests across the world, it is still more evident that the fight for racial equality has not yet been won.

Despite this year’s inescapable emphasis on the unprecedented, we have not lost sight of our own ongoing mission to champion and fight for racial equality in elite professions and universities in the UK, and across the world. This has been paramount long before inequality yet again re-entered headlines, and will remain so as ‘normality’- whatever that is - is slowly restored.

I am honoured to have been given the task of editing this year’s Rare Rising Stars publication as we enter what could be a pivotal decade for humanity. Over the past decade, we have been privileged enough to watch our stars become best-selling authors, CEOs, Olympic medallists, award-winning podcasters and musicians, influencers, activists and more. Through sharing their stories of resilience, perseverance, and ambition, we hope to have equipped a generation of future young leaders with the belief that their background should not, and cannot, limit their aspirations.

It is entirely apt that in this year’s edition of Rare Rising Stars, we are able to celebrate individuals who, in response to witnessing the injustice suffered by people around them, and across the world, stood up and took action. At a time where the problems of inequality are being brought to the fore, it is refreshing to celebrate the successes of individuals motivated by the necessary task of levelling the playing field for future generations.

I hope through reading the stories of this year’s stars, as well as learning of the progress of some of our stars from the last decade, you are inspired with a sense of momentum, not fatigue, to push on with the fight for justice.

This publication could not have happened without the help and support of many individuals. I would like to thank Naomi Kellman for all the support she provided throughout the entire process. I would also like to thank Maxine Monu, Will Smith and Saffron Jackson for being a reliable source of guidance at times of need. Amidst all the uncertainty, our judges Kem Ihenacho, Sophie Chandauka, Tia Counts and Tom Chigbo still gave their time to help select this year’s stars; for that, I am grateful. Likewise, without the hard work of our designer, Sasha Djukicin, this publication could not have come together in the way in which it has done. I would also like to thank our sponsors, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Oxford for making these awards possible.

Finally, I would like to thank all NHS staff and front-line workers who for too long have not gotten the thanks they deserve for sustaining the foundations our country relies on.


bez signiture

Bez Adeosun
Schools & Universities Co-Ordinator & Editor of Rare
Rising Stars 2020