Legally Black UK co-creator Shiden Tekle, 20, of the United Kingdom is one of the five honorees for the 2019 MTV Europe Music Award Generation Change Award, MTV announced on October 29, 2019. His fellow honorees are Lisa Ranran Hu, 20, of China, Kelvin Doe, 22, of Sierra Leone, Jamie Margolin, 17, of the United States and Alfredo “Danger” Martinez, 33, of Mexico.
Tekle was born and raised in Brixton, South London, England. At a young age, he recognized the need for young people to feel represented in media and hear new authentic stories.
From being stopped and searched to being racially profiled as a child, Tekle wanted to take action for racial justice in the UK. He and his three friends created the organization Legally Black UK, which gained media attention for taking over bus ads all over South London with custom images that recreated iconic posters of TV shows and movies like “Doctor Who” and “Harry Potter” by replacing white actors with black people.
These striking visual displays gained global media attention and shed light on the lack of black British characters in entertainment and the issues of racial misrepresentation in media. Legally Black aims to increase awareness surrounding the lack of black representation in British media and create dialogues around the often inaccurate and harmful depictions that marginalize people of the black community.
Including Tekle, the five selected change makers from across the globe will receive their awards from iconic MTV personality Sway Calloway during the 2019 MTV EMAs live red carpet pre-show in Seville, Spain on November 3, 2019. MTV International will make a monetary donation to each honoree’s organization and amplify their transformational work and unique stories across the brand’s social and digital platforms in nearly 180 countries.
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