Although there are a number of black people in Great Britain who have made tremendous contributions across industries, outside of music and sports their accomplishments go largely unnoticed. It’s why a former lawyer-turned journalist-turned-media executive created the Powerlist, a compilation of 100 black business, political, athletic, and artistic dynamos in Great Britain.
As he is about to release the third edition, publisher Michael Eboda talks about similarities with black America regarding struggles for equality and recognition and how this list could be a first step in Great Britain toward greater diversity. Powerlist 2010 will be available online Sept. 21 at www.powerful-media.com.
In previous Powerlists, there have been a number of black Brits featured from the creative and athletic world. Why do you think there are so few black people in business who get the same recognition?
Actually, the sector with the most representation in the 2010 list is the business/finance sector, so things are changing. We didn’t include many individuals from the sports world even on the last list—unless they were in a very senior managerial position—because although they may be well known, they tend to have only a limited amount of influence as we define it.
The Powerlist is not based on fame or wealth, but on influence. You define influence as “the ability to alter events and change lives.” Why did you choose this definition of influence and how did it shape your search for candidates?
We chose this definition because we wanted to distinguish ‘influence’ from ‘power.’ We wanted to promote the idea that a person who is powerful is only influential when they unleash that power in the right way. Power, in other words, is latent influence.