This May, Chelsea Football Club and Chelsea Foundation highlight the journeys of eight talented young journalists who are paving the way in the sports media world for all those to come.

The Making History Everyday campaign, launched during Black History Month 2023, is our commitment to championing Black trailblazers in the Chelsea community all year round.

For this month’s instalment, the campaign celebrates BCOMS alumni from across the Chelsea family. Each year, Chelsea partners with the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS) to offer aspiring journalists from underrepresented backgrounds funding for their NTCJ qualification, alongside media opportunities within the club. Together, both organisations work to diversify the UK sports media landscape – and today, we hear from the rising stars whose journeys began with BCOMS.

Here we ask them some questions to find out more…

Why do you think a campaign like making history every day is important for a club like Chelsea to do?

Chelsea as a club has a rich history. One thing that's really special about Chelsea is the nature of the fans. It's so diverse. There are so many people that have done really influential things that extend beyond football, and being able to celebrate that at any given point is really, really important. Giving the people the platform and connection to a club that appreciates what they do and what they've contributed is a real thing. I feel like football is such a key component of society, so when people do things within society, and it's celebrated by their football club, it's special and I think that's why the campaign really, really works. I've seen previous instalments of this campaign where people that deserve their flowers get their flowers. It really means something when it comes from your football club. So I think it's special that something like that exists.

Black people, Black players, Black culture has really defined Chelsea - it's been a huge part of this club's success. Chelsea wouldn't be Chelsea without the likes of Drogba, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Malouda, Anelka and so many other names both on and off the pitch. So, I think it's really important to celebrate and uplift Black people within the community that are making waves and really making a positive impact.

It’s important because there's a lot of people within the community who are doing big things that deserve to be heard about. Many people don't get to hear about these things, because they don't get the light shone on them often. For the club you support to back something that you do in your day-to-day life, especially when it's something as powerful as some of the people in the community do, that makes you want to go on even more. It makes you feel heard and like you are being respected within your community.

Thinking about all of the history-makers who have paved the way across society from the Black community, who has been your biggest inspiration and why?

For me, when I think about where we are in 2024, in terms of social media, in terms of people's access points to culture, Jamal Edwards is someone that will always be king. There are so many people now who are thriving because of what he brought back then. Often, the people that have knocked down the door don't get the respect it deserves, but I feel like he did while he was alive. He was a pioneer in all senses. If it wasn't for him knocking down doors, I feel like I wouldn't have been able to do what I do.

He was a massive Chelsea fan as well. I'm in a huge Chelsea fan group chat, in which he was one of the key people in starting that for a bunch of creatives. So, not only was he about knocking down doors for creatives, but he was about connecting people and making communities. If there's anyone that sticks out, it's definitely him. His legacy lives on in so many individuals now, so he's still influencing beyond his time on Earth.

For me, it's anyone that's come before us – whether it's in media, education, sport – during a time when it was a lot harder to be successful. They kicked down doors for us and made it a lot easier for us to access the spaces where it's not as common for Black people to be.

You always have to shout out Leon Mann (founder of BCOMS) and Rodney Hinds for what that they're doing within the journalism community for Black people. I also want to shout out Darren Lewis. I think Darren, when it comes to changing the trajectory of what football and sports journalism looks like, and diversifying that space, is a pioneer. He's also heading up the SJA awards, making sure that diversity is shining through in journalism.

Also, a massive shout out to Eni Aluko who, if it wasn't for her, my parents would not be letting me do what I do in football. They see Eni and they say, ‘okay, maybe a young Black girl can thrive in the football space’.

What does it mean, personally, to be chosen as a history-maker? And what would you say your greatest achievement has been so far?

To be spotlighted by the club I've grown up supporting gives me this full-circle feeling. In terms of my biggest achievement, I think God willing my biggest achievements are still ahead of me, but so far, I would say having Black women reach out to me who are trying to make it themselves in the sports media industry. Having them tell me that they see me as someone that they look up to is impactful for me.

First of all, I'm surprised to be chosen as a history-maker! But I'm honoured as well. With the journey I've been on, to be chosen as a history-maker is special. I see myself doing a lot more in the future – really making strides in this industry, really being fearless because I feel like this is the industry that I'm meant to be a part of. I really see myself in the journalism and sports media field.

I would say one of my biggest achievements was actually just taking the leap to go down this career path, because I was in finance before. It's really a big change from accounting to this. Some people are surprised, but more people are happy to be honest. Taking that leap was a big achievement in itself.

Being chosen as a history-maker by the club that I grew up watching and supporting my entire life is a priceless feeling. It's something that really lets you look at everything that you've done and achieved in your career. It's a sign to say that you're going down the right path.

As for my achievements, it’s really hard to make it in this industry as a woman, never mind as a Black woman. There’s always going to be a struggle and hurdles to overcome. I started a podcast, which is now just a nice community of Black and Asian women that like football. This was back in the day when football was dominated by men. Building that community and allowing young women to have that safe space is one of my favourite achievements. Being able to move into the journalism space without an NCTJ or degree in journalism is an achievement that I can attribute to BCOMS. Being able to work on content creation and working with Chelsea is an achievement that is priceless. These things wouldn't have happened if I wasn't allowed to be myself as a young Black woman in journalism.

How do you think journalism can have a positive impact in football and the wider community? And what do you think the role of journalism is in making history?

I think journalism at its core is storytelling. When you have high standards of storytelling and tell the right stories, you can have an impact not just in football, but in society. Football has such a unique force of uniting people and because it's a global language, you can go to any part of the world and converse through the language of football. So, it's an entry point to bring people together. Through the right storytelling, you're able to share lived experiences that people may have together, which has given us some of the best journalism I've seen. The great thing about this is that I can be a Black male from London, and someone can be from the other side of the world, but because the shared story and shared experience is the same, we can relate to it through journalism.

Whilst we have that connection, how can we make sure that we're speaking about things beyond football? An example at Chelsea a few weeks ago was a conversation about mental health in and around the Chelsea v United game, which was really unique. It just comes down to storytelling – I'm using football as a connecting point between loads of people.

Journalism can make history because it's the first point where people can really understand what's going on. We can also build that positive narrative if you have diverse voices within journalism. It's really important to have diverse voices because it allows people to feel represented and it allows their point of view to become relevant and meaningful. We've seen over the last 10 to 15 years platforms like VERSUS and athlete-led platforms becoming more popular because they're seen as more representative and relatable. I think journalism in the future is going towards that way.

Building on what Brian said, because football media is changing so much, we're seeing more non-traditional forms of media. We're seeing that now with athletes and footballers able to showcase their personalities and interests off the pitch. I think that's going to lead to more inclusive storytelling. Journalism in general has the power to give a voice to people that are voiceless by challenging what might be the dominant perspective at any given time.

How would you explain the importance of diversity and Black voices within sports journalism?

I would say that despite the Premier League being diverse on the pitch, topics such as racism are still a big issue within football. Having someone that's Black and has been through that, and speaks on it, adds authenticity. I hope future generations can know that you don't have to be on the pitch to have an opinion, you share a positive opinion through mediums such as TV and social media.

I think data last year showed 43 per cent of players in the Premier League identify as Black, but that same diversity is not reflected in any of the newsrooms I've been in. That is really reflective of how certain narratives and stereotypes might be perpetuated in the media. As Black voices, we have more of a nuanced understanding of certain cultural elements. We're able to bring that to our storytelling, whether it's video or written, so it's really important to have that diversity within the media.

Felicia Pennant often says that we need to see more young, diverse faces within the journalism space. If you keep looking into the press boxes, you just see the same faces over and over again. Given such a large percentage of players are Black, it's important for us to look at the representation in journalism, as that's where the narratives of the Black players in football are told. I think that's why you get a lot more content creators coming in and doing interviews with players, because they are more relatable.

I think that the lack of diversity has contributed to the disconnect between the fans and the players. If you are spinning a narrative, and you are not representing our community, things are going get taken out of context, and things are going to be seen differently. But, if you're from the community, you know exactly what to say and how to spin things in a more positive way. So, I'm really about breeding positivity within the press boxes, bringing in younger, newer faces and making it more diverse. Hopefully that will contribute to a more positive atmosphere in the sporting world.

How have BCOMS and Chelsea impacted the industry as well as your personal journey?

Wow, I don't think my journey within sports media happens without BCOMS. I was on the first cohort ever. There are so many people now that met like-minded people and realised they can access sports media. The Chelsea integration is such a unique thing, because it's one thing for a club to do something, but it's another thing for them to stay because they really care about it.

As far as impact in sports media goes, I don't think there's another club that have had the impact that Chelsea have: whether that is the integration of the masterclass, which some of the people from BCOMS have been a part of, or whether that's giving opportunities for people to come and cover games. Just the fact that some people are able to enter press rooms they would have seen on TV growing up, and be able to cover games in their own unique way because of the access provided by Chelsea, is a really unique thing. It's not only one thing to impact people, but another thing to then empower them to make their own impact. The industry doesn't look like what it did a few years ago because of the impact of those two organisations.

I think a high percentage of people will have been impacted by BCOMS. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but BCOMS helped put me in the right place. Even when I started at my place of work, I knew at least three BCOMS people who were there before me. They paved the way and made it so easy for me to join. I'd like to thank Leon and Andrew at BCOMS for the work that they do, because I think they've changed a lot of lives.

BCOMS and Chelsea have impacted the sports media industry massively through the doors they have been able to for countless young people such as myself. Personally, both have had a huge impact on my career because they have allowed me to see possibilities I didn't always believe were possible. Through some of the experiences and opportunities I have been able to access through Chelsea and BCOMS, I am empowered and now have the self-belief to strive for excellence as I move along in my career.