Why Black Ticket Project founder Tobi Kyeremateng is Stylist’s Inspiration of the Year

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Meet the woman improving access to theatre for young black people, kicking ass as a producer, and doing it all with the best smile in the business. 

Ahead of Stylist’s inaugural Remarkable Women Awards, we asked our readers to nominate one woman you thought deserved to be recognised as a true inspiration for 2019.

As predicted, the nominations came flooding in. And we’ll be honest: it was an incredibly difficult process to whittle those names down to a shortlist to be voted on by the public.

But at the Remarkable Women Awards on 5 March, we were able to reveal the winner of our Inspiration of the Year award, as voted by Stylist readers: theatre, poetry and festival producer Tobi Kyeremateng.

Kyeremateng stole the public’s hearts with her inspirational work on the Black Ticket Project, the initiative she founded in 2017 to provide free or discounted theatre tickets for young black people in London after she noticed a severe lack of diversity in audiences.

Since launching, the project has given away over 1,500 tickets to young black people and partnered with venues such as the National Theatre and The Old Vic. Kyeremateng also champions black people working within the performing arts through events such as the Black Creatives Dinner Party. 

Tobi Kyeremateng on the red carpet at Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards

Accepting her award, Kyeremateng explained that Black Ticket Project originated from her desire “to see more people that look like me in [theatre] spaces – people I grew up with, people I live with, my family, my brothers and sisters.”

She continued: “I’m really grateful for how I’ve been supported in this journey to get more black people in to see theatre, the majority of whom have never been to the theatre before.”

Kyeremateng also emphasised that for her, her Inspiration of the Year trophy is a “communal award”.

“Black Ticket Project wouldn’t exist without any of the support people have given it – in terms of time, in terms of money, in terms of people sharing it, in terms of organisations that have given up tickets, in terms of people that are actually taking black people to the theatre,” she said.

“So thank you.”

Kyeremateng was presented with her award by Black Mirror’s Georgina Campbell, whose stand-out BAFTA winning performance in Murdered by My Boyfriend has stuck with us ever since.

“Her mission is to ensure BAME voices are heard, and stories are told, in the hope of widening the artistic palette of black young people and exposing them to new forms of expression that truly represents them,” Campbell said.

The other two shortlisted women in the Inspiration of the Year category were Sonia Meggie, the founder of Inspirational YOU – a social enterprise that delivers classes, workshops and conferences to women, young people and BAME professionals – and Laura Riley, the founder and CEO of Mums in Need, which provides support for mothers who have suffered emotionally abusive relationships.

Huge congratulations to all of the remarkable women nominated in the Inspiration of the Year category.  

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Words: Moya Crockett and Megan Murray. Images: Rex Features / Getty Images 

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