Cambridge African-Caribbean Society (CUACS) posted a photo of #BlackMenofCambridgeUniversity on Facebook. Since it was posted on May 1, it has garnered 3,000 likes and 520 shares, in a now highly-celebrated effort to raise awareness of the continuing access issue of under-representation in the University. The picture has since caught the attention of both the BBC and Buzzfeed.
The post reads, “In 2015, only 15 black, male undergraduates were accepted into Cambridge. However, it is important that despite their underrepresentation, we let young black people know that this is something that they can aspire to.”
CUACS also released a statement, saying, "For CUACS, the real purpose of the photograph was to remind young black individuals that Cambridge is for us."
"Young black men don't grow up thinking they'll make it here. They should”, says Dami Adebayo of Robinson College. The post was intended to showcase role models for young black students who do not think they can make it or fit in in the University. Adebayo added that growing up, his role models had been actors, artists and sportsmen such as Lebron James, Will Smith and Jay-Z because "that's how I perceived success”, BBC reports.
He commented, "Barack Obama is probably the first black role model I had who made it 'cool' to be 'book smart', and that was by the time I was 11, that's crazy."
Buzzfeed interviewed three of the students photographed. Folajimi Babasola, an international engineering student from Nigeria told Buzzfeed, ”The aim of the picture was really to encourage more black students to apply to [Cambridge].”
73% of the male admissions come from white men, while black men make up just 0.3%, says Bez Adeosun, a HSPS student who was also photographed.
Babasola added, “Many people get discouraged by a particular image or stereotype of a Cambridge student that they have in their mind, thinking that they won't fit in or be accepted.”
The photograph was meant to challenge precisely the idea that there exists a single type of Cambridge student, and encourage more people to apply, in order to shatter the image even more.
CUACS adds, "We are grateful for the exposure that the post has receiced and we hope that we continue to empower and encourage young black people across the world that Cambridge is within their reach."
The students photographed include (top row L-R): William Gore, Bez Adeosun, Peter Adefioye, Judah Aiyenuro, Joseph Adikwu, Dennis Mubaiwa, Dami Adebayo, Ife Adepegba , Donte Nembhard, Baba Bob-Soile, Daniel Oluboyede. Bottom row: Michael Samuelson-Beulah, Folajimi Babasola, Ade Omisore.