Cephas Williams: Celebrating Black Excellence In Social Enterprise And Activism

by Duke Magazine

Cephas Williams is a UK-based social entrepreneur, photographer, and activist. He is the founder and photographer of the 56 Black Men movement and Drummer Boy Studios. After taking a series of portrait photographs of 56 black men in hoodies, he later launched ’56 Black Men’ as a campaign in the UK focusing on changing the negative portrayal of Black men in the media as an introduction to a much wider conversation. The campaign was a response to the prevalent headline news about Black men which always surrounding knife crime or violence, and challenges these negative stereotypes while spotlighting the positive achievements of the black men in the series.

Cephas started the movement using social media as a platform.  He posts striking headshots of black men in hoodies. These men are politicians, directors, teachers, with all of them having positive life stories that are irrelevant to the attire they choose to wear.

But the media very rarely tells those positive stories, he says, so the campaign “serves as a reminder that for every black man you see represented doing something negative, there are 56 of us that aren’t”.

As a postgraduate student of London South Bank University’s (LSBU), Cephas begun developing Greeate Careers, a social enterprise that aims to inform and inspire young people to make better decisions about their future careers. Also, through various projects, he hopes to encourage students to explore their potentials and their prospects.

Launching his campaign in 2018, he has been featured in The Guardian, The Metro, The Independent, on Channel 5, Sky News, BBC, and Aljazeera amongst others, creating both a local and global impact.

Cephas set out to merge his passion for architecture and his passion for the community in a bid to create physical spaces that cater to those who often suffer the brunt of gentrification. His studio ran as a creative hub, a workspace with creative facilities; conducive for growth, innovation, and collaboration for people interested in the creative sector including industries such as Music, Film, Media, Enterprise, Fashion, and Gaming.

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