© Shonay Shote 2019
© Shonay Shote 2019



Black Actress

A Black Actress is a stunning new exhibition of intimate portraits from photographer Shonay Shote, showcasing the powerful beauty and infectious charm of some of Britain’s most promising actresses of West Indian and African heritage, 

With rising stars like Chewing Gum’s Susan Wokoma and BAFTA Breakout Star of 2018 Jade Anouka, A Black Actress has gathered some of the most talented women in Britain into one space to show the range of brilliance that Black actresses are bringing to stages and screens across the nation.



ore about this project

It’s no secret that Black performers are woefully underrepresented and unfairly depicted by the UK media, with household names like Idris Elba and David Oyelowo speaking out publically about the issue. But a crucial part of the conversation that is too often overlooked is the struggle Black women face getting a seat at the table.

 A Black Actress tackles this issue head-on by compiling its own cast of successful women and showing the limitless potential of Black female excellence.

 A Black Actress aims to spark fresh conversation about black female performers. By helping us look closer at the spaces where blackness and womanhood overlap, A Black Actress offers positive and empowering images of black women, and encourages us to take the issue of misrepresentation more seriously.

Tired of seeing unfair representations of black women that she simply did not identify with, photographer Shonay Shote felt the need for a project that would help lift up and celebrate Black women. After discussing her concerns with like-minded women, both online and in person, Shonay created A Black Actressto help empower women to cut out the middle man and find a platform to express who they really are and regain control of their image.

While the series is made for everyone to enjoy, it is especially important to Shonay that she can help inspire young, aspirational Black women and girls by offering examples of women like themselves who making a difference in the creative industry without having to compromise their identity.  A Black Actress offers positive and inspiring role models to help encourage Black women to foster their ambition and reach their full potential.

The portraits in A Black Actress have been shot in a deliberately simple studio setting to help draw attention to the actresses’ own individual choice of outfit, incorporating their own carefully selected look into their portrait. Each sitter has brought their own unique sense of fashion and flair that expresses her personality and identity, and these images of women at their most comfortable are a testament to how much can change when someone is given full control over how they are perceived.


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bringing the idea to life and fulfilling its true potential


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