LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: DJ Spoony and Jess Creighton on stage during the Football Black List Celebration held at Village Underground on November 1, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)
The move follows a call made by Sky Sports News presenter, Jessica Creighton, for the highly respected awards night to specifically pay tribute to the Black LGBT+ community in football. The founders, Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds, responded swiftly by agreeing to the idea and also putting in place an award to recognise the excellence of Black disabled people in the game.
The Football Black List, first published in 2008, highlights black industry professionals who are positive influencers. The initiative is designed to shine a light on role models for the next generation as a way of helping to diversify the industry. Those that make the list are awarded at the annual celebration evening, where a number of other awards are also given to outstanding people from, or helping, the Black community.
Representation at the height of football has always been an issue. However, the issue is worse off in the field of play. The awards aim to demonstrate talent within various areas of the game including media, administration, coaching, commercial and grassroots.
Despite all of this, recent events in the world have highlighted that even within marginalised groups, individuals can still feel unseen and unheard. Black women in football often contend with this by not only being black, but being female in a heavily male dominated industry. The same can be said for members of the LGBT+ community and disabled people who are black.
Creighton recently shared her views on the topic. A member of the LGBT+ community, the presenter discussed how she “doesn’t think it’s an issue spoken about enough, especially within the black community’.
In a call to the Football Black List, the sports presenter called for recognition of the LGBT+ community. A call that was heard by the awards. “We need to recognise those experiences that are different within the black community,” says FBL co-founder Leon Mann. “We will now have an LGBT+ award at the Football Black List. Intersectionality is vital to recognise, to celebrate, to support and show that people within our black community have different experiences.”
The action has been praised by Creighton who on another call with Mann discussed how she thought the awards may be defensive to her request. In response to this, Mann answered, “We can only be judged by our actions. If there is a question that is deemed difficult in probing the work you’re doing as an organisation, there are two ways to respond.
“You can be defensive and talk about the efforts you have made, or you can take a step back, consider what’s been said and ask why that is and should we be changing something, before getting to action”.
The action taken has been well received by many and further aids the celebration evening’s purpose of recognising the incredible talent from across the wide spectrum of people that are integral to the black community and its success in the game and society.