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5 Black Disability Self-Advocates to Follow

Rangam Aug 1, 2023 7:07:03 AM
A collage featuring 3 women and 2 men, representing advocates for Black disability empowerment

This month, we celebrate Black History Month in the UK! Intersectionality is an integral part of the Disabled experience which unfortunately is still notably underrepresented in mainstream discussions around disability inclusion. This month, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of our favourite Black Disabled activists and content creators and invite you to follow these amazing people who provide such an incredible wealth of knowledge and insight into their lived experiences and the innovative ways in which they are contributing to the progress of disability inclusion across every pillar of life!

Isaac Harvey

Isaac Harvey is a British disability advocate, mentor, and content creator. Born with pelvic hypo aplasia, Harvey has used his personal experience as a wheelchair user to advocate, among many other things, for London’s public transport systems and public spaces to be more accessible. Named one of the Top 100 Disabled Influencers of 2022 by the Shaw Trust, Harvey is also president of Wheels and Wheelchairs, a group of London-based skaters, rollerblades, and wheelchair users who come together to create a sense of community through sport!

Follow Harvey on LinkedIn and learn from his insightful content on all things disability inclusion!

Scarlet May

Scarlet May is a popular Deaf content creator on TikTok. With 6.5 million followers, May shot to social media fame after her hilarious ‘Deaf Kardashians’ TikTok series went viral. In this series, May uses ASL (American Sign Language) and excellent comedic timing to act out some of the most well-known scenes from the reality TV series ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, all with the aim of bringing Deaf content and sign language further into the mainstream.

May also uses her rapidly growing platform to advocate for the importance of closed captioning, urging her fellow TikTok creators to caption their videos by default so the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community can participate and feel more included on the platform. "The Deaf community wants to be involved,”, May explains, “we [just] don’t see many Deaf people on TikTok because they don’t have the access, or they don’t feel comfortable on the app at all. [Changing this for the better] is definitely my main focus."

Check out May’s TikTok content!

Lee Chambers

Lee Chambers is a British entrepreneur and psychologist. Receiving an Autism diagnosis as an adult, Chambers draws upon his own journey as a Black Autistic man to advocate for the inclusivity of under-represented communities and greater recognition of intersectionality in the world of neurodiversity. Chambers’ advocacy work has appeared in a vast array of influential publications, from The Telegraph and the Guardian to Vogue. For his well-being business ‘Essentialise’, Chambers won the British Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2021.

Follow Chambers on LinkedIn and stay up to date with his great content!

Lolo Spencer

Lauren “Lolo” Spencer is a vlogger, actress and ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) activist. Through her YouTube channel ‘Sitting Pretty’, Spencer aims to dispel myths and stereotypes about the Disabled community by shedding light on her lifestyle as a wheelchair user and covers a range of topics, from her own diagnosis journey to navigating fashion, dating, and access to public spaces as a Disabled person.

Her performance as Tracy Holmes in the critically-acclaimed film ‘Give Me Liberty’ earned her widespread praise and recognition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Spencer has also modeled accessible clothing for Tommy Hilfiger and Zappos Adaptive, using her platform to push for greater inclusion and representation for the Disabled community in the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries.

Check out her YouTube channel and her amazing interview with Jameela Jamil.

Stephanie Thomas

Stephanie Thomas is a Disability fashion stylist, public speaker, and author. Noticing the dire lack of options when it comes to accessible clothing, she posed the question: “why are there more in-store clothing options for pets than there are for people with disabilities?” Researching retail trends and drawing upon her degree in fashion journalism, Thomas decided to make it her mission to address this gap and launch Cur8able, a fashion consultancy and innovative website that aims to simplify the shopping experience for people with disabilities by curating both practical and trendy clothing from a wide array of accessible fashion brands into a one-stop shop.

Check out Cur8able’s website and listen to Thomas’ TED Talk on the journey that led her to launch Cur8able.

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