Voices

Rankin launches a print sale to raise money for the #MentorBlackBusiness project

The old adage reminds us that, while talk is cheap, it’s the action around that talk that is pivotal.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE

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The old adage reminds us that, while talk is cheap, it’s the action around that talk that is pivotal. It’s action that’s vitally needed when it comes to the ethnic representation within businesses, both in their internal make-up but also the companies that are given the space to thrive.

In support of the newly established #MentorBlackBusiness project, the internationally renowned photographer Rankin is launching a print and digital print sale to raise essential funds for the mentoring scheme.

The project was launched by Akil Benjamin, Head of Research and Strategy at COMUZI and Director of M&C Saatchi Saturday School, as a proactive response to the systemic racism Black people face in the workplace.

The print sale consists of a brand new image, shot by Rankin in lockdown entitled Seeds of Change, 2020. The image depicts a dandelion smouldering at the base while a thin wispy smoke escapes from the top. It is a move away from the commercial imagery Rankin has become so known for, something he reveals was as a direct result of the time lockdown has gifted him to notice the world around him.

I hope this partnership with Rankin opens up our programme to new audiences so we can affect more change in communities which may not have heard of us yet. I want the artwork to keep people mindful of dreams and our place in helping or hindering them.

Akil Benjamin, Founder, #MentorBlackBusiness

Rankin’s hope for the imagery is that it “reflects the fire in the belly of protestors and allies fighting for change, and also the seeds of potential, ready to be set free.” Benjamin echoes his belief in the metaphorical power of the flame: “I think the most beautiful thing about the dandelion is that it’s aflame. To me it reminds me of a social dream we only come too close to realising before we find we have more work to do.”

Benjamin’s desire with the sale is that it will open up the project to a wider group of supporters: “I hope this partnership with Rankin opens up our programme to new audiences so we can affect more change in communities which may not have heard of us yet. I want the artwork to keep people mindful of dreams and our place in helping or hindering them.”

The funds raised by the sale will go towards coaching and training mentors, community management and giving mentees access to the tools and resources needed to grow their businesses. The project’s new target is £50,000 which will allow them to mentor 1,000 Black businesses over a 12 month period.

Benjamin’s goal is simple: the more money that can be raised, the more black businesses can be supported. As Benjamin so said when he launched the project, “CEOs, brand managers, people with money to spend, come find me. I’m a nice person.” A nice person with a mission which is far too vital to ignore.

To purchase the print and donate to #MentorBlackBusiness visit the project’s dedicated website.

Related Tags

Representation Mentor