Incredible Women. Incredible Fashion. Every Day.

Porter
Incredible Women

6 Incredible Women on the game-changing creatives they are championing now

As Black History Month UK begins, six Black British creatives – actors, artists and writers – share the phenomenal talents they want to raise up and celebrate in their own fields this year

From left: Nathalie Emmanuel; Nia DaCosta

Nathalie Emmanuel, actor

“You can’t call Nia DaCosta an emerging talent anymore, [not] after Candyman and Captain Marvel, but she’s a really exciting voice and filmmaker right now. I first saw her movie Little Woods, with Lily James and Tessa Thompson, and thought it was beautifully directed. Then I went on to watch Top Boy, of which she had directed a couple of episodes, and I again thought she was excellent – a real standout director of that season because of her playfulness with the camera. Her storytelling is intelligent and really pulls you in. Her talent is undeniable, and I would love, love to work with her one day. We have not met (yet), but if we were to, I would hope it would be because we were collaborating – it seems like she has such a great sensibility and gets the very best out of her actors.”

‘Army of Thieves’, starring Nathalie Emmanuel, is on Netflix from October 29, 2021. ‘Candyman’, directed by Nia DaCosta, is out now

Aindrea Emelife (wearing black turtleneck); Sahara Longe; Olivia Sterling (wearing green T-shirt)

Aindrea Emelife, curator and art historian

“I have to choose two artists: I love Sahara Longe, as her soft and luscious contemporary reworkings of Old Master paintings sing to my inner art historian. And Olivia Sterling, whose work is game-changing – her sugar-coated nostalgia with darker undertones confronts race through seemingly innocent caricature. I’d love to see Longe’s Party Scene paired with Sterling’s What A Shame – both works draw you in and ask you to question the world around you. Challenging yet beautiful, they speak of hierarchy, race and the gaze with powerful visual languages for such young talents.”

‘Bold Black British’, curated by Aindrea Emelife, will take place at Christie’s London from October 1–21, 2021

“Both works draw you in and ask you to question the world around you. Challenging yet beautiful, they speak of hierarchy, race and the gaze with powerful visual languages for such young talents”
Aindrea Emelife
Jorja Smith
Enny

Jorja Smith, singer-songwriter

“I first discovered Enny after my manager sent me her song Peng Black Girls along with the remix instrumental during the lockdown in March 2020. She’s the truth: she says it exactly how it is and I wish I’d written some of the bars she spits. I’m so excited for her future and I can’t wait to witness her take over the world. She’s a whole vibe – the last time I saw her, we had a race outside a kebab shop.”

Jorja Smith’s latest EP, ‘Be Right Back’, and Enny’s debut EP, ‘Under Twenty Five’, are both out now

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, actor

“This year, I would like to celebrate Jessica Plummer, who I had the pleasure of working alongside in The Girl Before [JP Delaney’s forthcoming television adaptation of his book of the same name]. The characters of Emma [played by Plummer] and Jane, who I play, are meant to have some physical resemblance in the story and, as I was attached to the project first and in my dual role as associate producer, I was privileged to be involved in the casting process, led by Amy Hubbard. It was a long and challenging search for the role of Emma and we saw many talented women, but Jessica stood out for the role. What struck me instantly was her inner light: she truly seems lit from within. It was this luminous quality and her vivacious energy, coupled with a deep emotional range, that made her perfect for the part.”

‘The Girl Before’, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jessica Plummer, will air on BBC One in the UK and HBO Max in the US this fall

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (wearing white dress); Jessica Plummer
Inspiration and hope – two things we are always in great need of. The need never subsides, and [Amanda Gorman] always delivers
Yrsa Daley-Ward
From left: Mahalia; Hamzaa

Mahalia, singer-songwriter

“Hamzaa is my favorite artist right now. I discovered her through her song Sunday Morning on Spotify and I loved her voice and lyrics so much. I immediately thought she was really special and then I met her and found out just how special she is. She came on tour with me a couple of years ago and we got on so well. She is the sweetest person to travel with and we had a lot of fun. She’s amazing as a person, but also as an artist. Getting to watch her live every night was incredible.”

Mahalia’s new single, ‘Roadside’, featuring AJ Tracey, is out now. Hamzaa’s new EP, ‘Full Circle’, is out now; tickets for her live show on October 22, 2021, at Omeara, London, are on sale now

Yrsa Daley-Ward
Amanda Gorman

Yrsa Daley-Ward, writer

“When I think about an artist I want to celebrate right now, I cannot help but think about poet, writer and speaker Amanda Gorman. I had read and enjoyed her work and words for a few years now, but I was blown away and profoundly moved by her presence and words at the presidential inauguration. When she took to the stage, everything stood still. She is a joy to watch, and I love what she stands for and how she uses her voice to infuse her powerful energy with great meaning. Inspiration and hope – two things we are always in great need of. The need never subsides, and she always delivers.”

‘The How’ by Yrsa Daley-Ward is out in November. ‘Change Sings’ by Amanda Gorman is out now