Chigbo’s Power Play

CUSU President Tom Chigbo named one of the 100 most powerful black people in the UK

black Chigbo CUSU David Lammy elections influential politics power list powerful role model speech Students Thomas Chigbo

Tom Chigbo has been named as one of the 100 most powerful black people in the UK. He is one of 30 students who feature on the prestigious "power list", which is intended to provide positive role models for teenagers.

The editor, Adenike Adeniture believes that "peer pressure is what gets a lot of young people into trouble, so we reasoned that surely it could work the other way round."

The list also includes the Archbishop of York, Attorney General Baroness Scotland, Miss East Africa and Yolanda Brown, the 26-year old Mobo award-winning artist. 

Tom Chigbo, 21, is the first black president of CUSU and has been praised by the media for shattering glass ceilings. The Evening Standard recently described him as "young, black, and with the world at his feet".

One of the judges was higher education minister David Lammy, who recently backtracked after accusing Cambridge University of racial prejudice. In a draft version of a key speech he claimed that it was unacceptable that in 2003 "there were more students at Cambridge with the surname White than black students." The remark was dropped from the final speech and University representatives have so far refused to comment.

Mr Lammy was previously interviewed for the Varsity article that criticised the admissions figures, claiming that only 23 black students were accepted in 2003. In 2008 more than a dozen Colleges didn’t admit a single student who declared their ethnicity to be black.

The current controversy over the minister’s U-turn should not take away from what Tom Chigbo has achieved. He has not only been elected as the first black president, but has also arguably become the first CUSU representative to be described as "powerful".