B(L)ackstage Stories: Introducing Emmanuel

Welcome to the second edition of B(l)ackstage Stories. My name is Renée Landell, and after the success of the October Black History Month edition and calls for more stories, I thought it would be great to do a February special (since Black History Month is currently being celebrated in the US and, well, every day is a day to celebrate). So, I asked a few more influential and talented Black RHUL students and alumni to share their stories of ‘becoming’ and overcoming – to inspire you and to celebrate them!

Emmanuel’s Story

(Student, Liberal Arts)

“My journey began ten years ago, fresh from Nigeria, I would sit in my bedroom, speaking out loud feeling compelled to introduce songs before I played them on Spotify. I soon realised that I could do impressions of Peter Dickson's X Factor voice over “It’s time to face the music.”

"I remember the thoughts of becoming a radio presenter popping into my head and Google searching radio presenting jobs. Once I had realised that getting a job on Radio 1 would not be as straightforward as I had initially thought, my search led me to find an online radio platform called Spreaker. From that moment in my bedroom, I began The D-Whyte Show with my only listens probably coming from my mum and a few friends, I started to pursue a dream that would turn into something more than I had imagined. I extended invites to my friends to join the show as guest co-hosts, sharing their experiences, stories and interests. In time the show grew from the few people in my bedroom to the whole secondary school interacting with the show. It had gone from ten listeners a week to over one thousand!

"I watched my friends discover a side of their creative selves that they had not explored until they came on the show. Seeing each of my friends step into their potential in the arts was a special moment. Unbeknown to me, this had sparked a desire to see more young people discover their potential in the creative industry. This desire expanded, even more as many of the young people from my culture and demographic had the notion instilled in them that if they were not pursuing careers in law, engineering or medicine that somehow, they were wasting their potential.

Breaking the stigma

"I really wanted to break that stigma. I wanted to see young people believe in their talent, passions and push for jobs in the creative industry that would be considered equal to their peers. I wanted them to feel that this was feasible for them regardless of their background or the colour of their skin. Whether it be as a musician, producer, presenter, dancer or comedian, it would be something they could do to pay the bills, not just a hobby or an after school/work activity.

"Inspired by the growth that I had seen from the show, I discovered an opportunity from O2 Think Big, that would take me to places that I couldn’t even imagine.

 

 

"From meeting Nile Rodgers at TedXTeen and with funding from O2 ThinkBig I created my own platform called Turn Up Broadcasting. I launched it with the aim to empower young people to provide a platform for young people to share what matters to them. We give talented young people opportunities to broadcast from music/film festivals, red carpets, award shows and more, involving them in all facets of the creative process from pre-production to presenting, filming and publishing. We have trained numerous young people over the past three years and our works have featured the likes of Amanda Seyfried, Naomi Campbell, Jaden Smith, Giggs, Krept & Konan and more.

"I want the world to see itself in a different light to how it currently is and the work we do with schools is a very fulfilling part of that process. Most recently we were given the opportunity to work with a school during Black History Month, bringing in talented BAME singers, rappers and dancers to teach the kids. The moments we spend with the kids are surreal, I can only imagine what seeing someone like me would’ve done for a young me.

 

 

"After years of developing myself and Turn Up Broadcasting after completing my GCSEs and A-Levels, I was led back to radio. The D-Whyte Show found its home on Insanity Radio 103.2FM and continues to champion up and coming talent every Monday at 6pm. We recently had our annual Summer OB where we broadcasted live for four hours with four musical guests, four DJs, a live band, and a live audience from the Village Vanguard in London’s Olympic Village.

 

 

Faith

My faith has been a central part of my journey. There have been countless moments along the way where I've wanted to quit and still do. Having had numerous near-death hospital experiences will have you re-evaluating your goals and priorities in life. In those crazy moments, there has been an unreal sense of peace and stillness within the bustling and craziness. I always feel like God’s not finished with me yet and that this vision is much larger than myself and I cannot just do it by myself. Seeing all that has already been accomplished in my 20 years, I am a firm believer that there is more to come not just from me, but from all the young people who have been impacted by Turn Up Broadcasting, the show and beyond. Believing that each young person that we have come across will amount to greatness in their own way.

 

 

Like Kanye, I'm quite busy on Sundays too. When I’m in Surrey you’ll find me singing and volunteering at a local church called Equippers, they have been such an amazing family that has been a significant part of my university experience. Knowing I have a home to turn to and a great support system around me has been another indispensable part of this journey.

I've got a few other side gigs too, many of you might have seen my power walk cameo in Spider-Man Far From Home or seen me DJing on one of your crazy nights out. But honestly, I haven't let labels, boxes and opinions stop me. That is my B(l)ackstage Story!”

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