Black Oxford alumni join forces to inspire the students of tomorrow.
Riaz Phillips is a London-based writer and photographer. Born in Hackney and raised in north London, he studied politics and economics at university in London followed by postgraduate study at Oxford. After this, he founded Tezeta Press – a publishing house dedicated to under-represented ideas and cultures. Its first release, Belly Full: Caribbean Food in the UK, documents Britain's hidden Caribbean history.
Riaz said: 'As long as the path to all manner of storied careers runs through universities like Oxford, it's important that access for black youth – and anyone from under-represented backgrounds – is broadened and made as receptive as possible. Some of the best opportunities often don't arise on jobs boards but at dinners, weekends away and late night conversations, and I think it's important that these conversations are as diverse as possible. This will benefit not only the individuals but countless industries that have previously been dominated by small groups.
'I would say to talented young black people, take pride in the fact that you are different – there's no single way to be a "black student", and you don't have to fit into any stereotype where you can't be yourself. Don't feel that Oxford is a rigid structure that you can't affect. Make it what you want. Start your own parties, start your own supper clubs and magazines. The magnet effect of like-minded people will change your life.'
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Belly Full: Caribbean Food in the UK by Riaz Phillips published by Tezeta Press out now at Tezetapress.com