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Bola Agbaje

Bola Agbaje playwright
Photograph Ibbolya Feher for the Guardian.

Bola Agbaje (born c. 1981) is an award-winning British playwright of Nigerian origin, who is under commission with Paines Plough and Tiata Fahodzi.

Agbaje was born in London. She briefly lived in Nigeria from the age of six to eight but now lives in Greenwich. She has a degree in media communications and was formerly an actress.[1]

Her first play, Gone Too Far!, premièred at the Royal Court Theatre in London in February 2007 and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated theatre (2008). Due to the play’s success it was revived at a number of theatres in 2008: the Royal Court Theatre, Albany Theatre and Hackney Empire. She is currently adapting Gone too Far into a film script and has received development funding from the UK Film Council.

In July 2008 her second play opened the Tiata Delights season at the Almeida Theatre. She was nominated for the 2008 Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award For Most Promising Playwright. This, however, went to Tarell Alvin McCraney. In 2009 Agbaje was commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre alongside Roy Williams and Kwame Kwei-Armah to be a part of the “Not Black and White” season. Her play, Detaining Justice, opened on 25 November 2009 and the show sold out.

Agbaje’s second play for the Royal Court Theatre, Off the Endz, opened on 19 February 2010, directed by Jeremy Herrin.

Fatou Bensouda


Fatou Bensouda
Photo AFP

On 12 December 2011, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia was elected by consensus Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by the Assembly of States Parties. Mrs. Bensouda was sworn in on 15 June 2012.
Mrs. Bensouda had previously held the position of ICC Deputy Prosecutor (Prosecutions), having been elected with an overwhelming majority by the Assembly of States Parties on 8 August 2004 and serving as such until May 2012.
Prior to her work at the International Criminal Court, Mrs. Bensouda worked as Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, rising to the position of Senior Legal Advisor and Head of The Legal Advisory Unit.
Before joining the ICTR, she was General Manager of a leading commercial bank in The Gambia. Between 1987 and 2000, she was successively Senior State Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of the Republic, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which capacity she served as Chief Legal Advisor to the President and Cabinet of The Republic of The Gambia.
Mrs. Bensouda also took part in negotiations on the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Parliament and the ECOWAS Tribunal. She has served as delegate to United Nations conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity’s Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and as delegate of The Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.
Mrs. Bensouda holds a masters degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea and as such is the first international maritime law expert of The Gambia.

Natalie Louise Brown

Natalie Louise Brown

Natalie Louise Brown is a woman on a mission – to motivate, inspire and uplift other women.

Natalie is the creator of the Inspired Dreams (ID – What’s Your ID?) brand which incorporates ID Media, ID Publishing, ID Education, ID Property and ID Fashion. She is currently working on the production of her new Oprah-style TV chat show ‘Time With Natalie’ aimed at educating and inspiring women to succeed in life. She is also stepping into the fashion world by creating her own unique and inspirational T-shirt range.

Natalie was raised by a single mother with four children and very little money. She moved to London aged 18 and worked in finance for 10 years. Being a creative woman with an interest in media/music/fashion she always knew her destiny and path in life would be found in these areas.

It was about seven years ago that her life started to take shape and she moved into her destiny. Using her entrepreneurial skills, she began a career in property and ended up starting her own business (ID Property), which owns a number of houses in the UK and abroad.

Her passion for media began when she started working on a number of well-known British TV shows, ie. Dr Who, Casualty, Doctors, Lewis. This experience landed her the role of presenter for UKCMC (UK Christian Music Charts) – a TV music show aimed at inspiring people through positive music. The third series is currently aired on Sky.

Natalie feels a strong desire to encourage women to find their purpose in life and make a difference in their community. Her new chat show, ‘Time With Natalie’, will focus on topical issues and encourage women to start a business and do more to help others. The show is aimed at women predominantly aged between 25-45 years old and the goal is to have it aired on prime time TV for maximum impact.

Natalie is also associated with Par Excellence magazine, which is aimed at women striving to make something of their lives.

Her dream is to see women achieve their goals and be a positive role model.

Life is not about how you started, it’s how you finish that matters!

Baroness Cécile de Massy

Baroness Cécile de Massy

Baroness Cécile de Massy, born in the Caribbean country of Guadeloupe, is the wife of Christian Louis, Baron de Massy, the nephew of the late Prince Rainier of Monaco.

She is the founder and President of Ladies Lunch Monaco which raises money for children’s charities in Monaco.

Doreen D. Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence
Photograph Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Doreen D. Lawrence, née Graham OBE is a British campaigner and writer who first came to public attention in 1993 as the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a black British teenager who was murdered in a racial attack in South East London.

Following the murder of her son Doreen Lawrence believed that the Metropolitan Police investigation was not being conducted in a professional manner, citing incompetence and racism as prime flaws. She has been praised for her courage during her campaign against racism. Her campaign resulted in the conviction of her son’s murderers this year. She is the winner of a special award at the 2012 Women of the Year ceremony and the 2012 Campaigner of the Year European Diversity Award.

In 2003, she was awarded an OBE for services to community relations and this summer was chosen as a flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Pauline Long

Pauline Long

Pauline Long is a Kenyan born entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer and presenter. She is the founder of Europe’s biggest award ceremony for black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts (BEFFTA).

The award ceremony celebrates and promotes the achievements of a very talented and hard-working community often over looked. As a mother and wife she developed a huge passion for giving back which led her to founding Mr. and Miss East Africa UK, these pageants encourage entrepreneurship amongst East Africans in UK but most importantly they work closely with East African children’s charities.

Through the pageants she started the shout campaign, a campaign aimed at eventually taking children off the streets. At the moment the campaign feeds street children monthly. Pauline also runs their family business East End Studios, which is one of London’s biggest independently owned film and TV studio based in East London and next door to Olympics village.


Photo credit Frank Valter

Loreen’s performance in the Swedish selection to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 was in several aspects dreamlike. Her vocals and stage performance had a celestial quality that made commentators use words like ”otherworldly” after her experiencing contribution ”Euphoria”.

It came as no big surprise when she won the competition and made so with some distance. Loreen first took the votes from the specially invited international expert jury. Before winning the votes from the television viewers with record figures. More than 670 000 of the four million viewers – close to half the population – called in to vote for Loreen, twice the support of last years winner.

Afterwards Loreen was simply overwhelmed. ”A fantastic feeling, I almost started sobbing” she admitted to the television cameras.

“Two months of preparation can do miracles!” Loreen will bring “Euphoria” to Baku, Azerbaijan, where the 2012 Swedish entry will participate in the second of two semi finals for the ESC on May 24.

This attitude tells a lot about Loreen. Raised on the countryside outside Stockholm, in a family of Moroccan-Berber origin, she has a very detailed attitude to her music. She’s for example frustrated of the fact that she’s often tagged as an R&B artist.

”The music I get inspiration from is music that gets you into kind of a trance. Both musically and vocal vice. Artists like Björk, some of Enya’s music, and especially Lisa Gerrard.”

It’s fitting that Loreen learned to play the piano by imitating the very minimalistic Michael Nyman score to the 90’s film ”The Piano”. Loreen continues: ”I want to make music that really connects to my soul. I think that’s when my music affects the most.”

She describes herself: ”Somewhat a loner, a seeker that steers away from the information overload of today. I have no tv set. I have a laptop but I only use it for e-mails and music programs.”

Her general aim? ”To unite people in the thought that there is much more to life than the materialistic aspects. I know that it may sound hippieish and overblown. But is that really a reason to give up on this ambition? I’m certain the answer to that is no!”

Loreen’s third single release “Euphoria” has already spent some two weeks topping the Swedish single and airplay charts with sales quickly surpassing Platinum status. Neighbouring Norway and Finland were quick to discover this uplifting future anthem and are currently also reporting no 1 positions. The highly anticipated debut album is scheduled for a September release. “Euphoria” is written by Peter Boström and Thomas G:son and produced by Peter Boström and SeventyEight. EUPHORIA won “Song of the year” at the yearly Swedish awards SMFF.

Mariam Osman Sherifay

Mariam Osman Sherifay

Sherifay was a member of the Swedish parliament between 2002–2003, as a replacement for the Council of State, Björn von Sydow. She was a member of and Housing kommitee (Bostadsutskottet) and eupties for Committee on Foreign Affairs and the European Union Committee among several other appointments.
In 2009 she was awarded the Swedish Martin Luther King prize, an award founded by Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Swedish Baptist church for her fight against racism and her written call I refuse to be a victim.

Zuzana Tvarůžková

Zuzana Tvarůžková
Photo Alexandr Dobrovodský

“I was raised my mother a Czech and a father who is also a Czech, my biological father is from Cuba, and I know him. It’s a little secret chamber of our family, “says Zuzana . “He worked in northern Bohemia, in Litvinov, were he studied chemical engineering. He lived in a fairly large Cuban community, “she adds, but the whole thing is still a very sensitive issue for her parents.

But children can be cruel. “I was lucky that I had many friends who largely protected me from unpleasant attacks. My fellow students who were Roma were definitely worse of than me, “says Susan Tvarůžková. But she has lost two of her childhood best friends because of the way she looks. In an argument one called her father a nigger and the other one said she was adopted.

About her musical roots she says. “I sang, I had a different voice than all the other children in the choir, I’m addicted to music. My boyfriend makes fun of me, he has never seen anyone like me who does not need the slightest excuse to dance. Dancing in the supermarket and metro, “says Susan, adding with a laugh:” Girls always said at the disco: it’s senseless to dance next to her? ”

Dr. Yvonne Thompson

Yvonne Thompson

A dynamic, entrepreneurial business leader with a proven record for building high performing teams.  Since starting her own PR company 27 years ago Ms Thompson has acquired and exceptional range of transferable skills that can compliment high performing companies and organisations.

Originally from Guyana, South America, Ms Thompson has always shown an entrepreneurial flair. Not taking the usual channel to the small business arena, she evolved from freelance writing for many music industry papers including Music Week the industry bible, and IPC weekly and monthly titles.  She also has been involved in many successful firsts in the UK including, being Music Editor for the UK’s first Black Monthly glossy magazine – Root, and also being a founder and director of the UK’s first Black Music radio station Choice FM.  Other firsts include, starting the first Black Owned PR company (according to PR Week),running the first in depth research of the lifestyle of  the Black community across the UK – The Black Consumer Survey and starting the UK’s first Black Women Business Network – The European Federation of Black Women Business Owners.

Often called upon for media interviews, on issues concerning small business, women and minorities; Ms Thompson is no stranger to engaging with Prime Ministers, Ministers, and high profile personalities in the business arena.  Having made her mark in the UK she was awarded a CBE(Commander Of The British Empire) in the Queens Birthday Honour List  in 2003 for her services to women, small business and minorities. In 2005 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by London Metropolitan University for services to small business, and mass communications.     Ms Thompson has been hailed as a role model in the Black community and for  women in general wanting to start their own business.

Mirel Wagner

Mirel Wagner
Photo Aki Roukala

Mirel Wagner is a 23 year old singer/songwriter, born in Ethiopia and raised
in Espoo, Finland.  Since age 16 she’s writing gloomy Blues and Folk songs,
stripped down to the bone. It’s just about her airy but rough voice and a
minimalistic guitar picking. Avoiding theatrical gestures effortlessly her
music has a unique intensity and emotional weight.


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  1. Each Powerful Woman has her own remarkable story to tell—and what
    interesting stories they are!  BWIE is in a league of its own–keep up the
    good work, Adrianne–you, too, are blessed! 
    Mrs. Luvenia George

  2. Thank you! There is no lack of inspiration for me here with all of the remarkable women I come across.

  3. A Big Well Done to my Sistah Pauline Long Founder of BEFFTA…and a Massive KUDOS to all these other Phenomenal ‘Class Act’ Women…Congrats & God’s Blessings Y’all!

  4. […] November 16, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments 2012 Power List: The award-winning Black Women in Europe blog releases a third “list of our own” most powerful black women in […]

  5. Anna Dell'Era

    Kudos to these incredible inspirational women!  Thank you Adrianne for shining the light on these Sisters!  And bravo to you Adrianne, for all of your achievements!  Blessings!

  6. B.W.I.E (™)


  7. […] The new list includes luminaries such as Doreen Lawrence, the Baroness Cécile de Massy, Bola Agbaj….  Who are they?  Let’s look at the first honorée: Doreen D. Lawrence, née Graham OBE is a British campaigner and writer who first came to public attention in 1993 as the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a black British teenager who was murdered in a racial attack in South East London. […]

  8. Lucie Buissereth

    I’m beyond INSPIRED!

  9. B.W.I.E (™)

    Yay!I get excited just thinking about the 2013 List.

  10. 11 years of friendship and entrepreneurship wowwww Nothing but love

  11. Yaaaas! hugs with love, Dear Ellen. xx

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