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OBV Graduate Launches Groundbreaking Youth Project

Marcus - making waves

Marcus Smith, a successful graduate of OBV’s Bristol Councillor shadowing scheme has been awarded £4000 to support a groundbreaking project created from the ground up, geared to inspire young people to become more politically active but with a twist.

Tapping into pop and celebrity culture as a means of engaging young people, the project ‘Political Animal’ launched by Smith 23, will develop a website allowing young people the space to create ideas, while providing them with a platform to communicate. ‘Political Animal’ is a not-for-profit organisation and is non-partisan.

Marcus hopes that the website will assist local young people in seeking funding for projects, whilst enabling them to work in partnership with other organisations at home and internationally.

Speaking about the project and explaining its relevance to young people Smith commented:

“The role models of today, whether you like it or not, are celebrities and reality TV stars. My generation can easily name and recognise Lady Gaga and Wayne Rooney, but would not be able to identify their local MP or the President of China…

Political Animal believes the powerful forces of celebrity, sport and pop culture can be used in a more ethical and educational way.”

Highlighting the popularity of the project prior to securing the initial funding he went on:

“The idea of Political Animal came to me last year, and is already up and running at a grassroots level on Facebook, it has many fans – just search for ‘Political Animal.”

Smith who is also an actor and a recent graduate from Reading University completing a degree in Politics and International Relations, played Stephen Lawrence in the documentary ‘The Boys who killed Stephen Lawrence’ aired on the BBC, and has starred in Blackberry commercials.

Francine Fernandes, head of OBV shadowing schemes said:

“Marcus has a real desire to inform and inspire others about the benefits of democratic and civil participation. He is a creative thinker, and an articulate and passionate speaker. His genuine desire to improve and serve the community where he lives are key qualities which will help him complete the project.”

For more information about ‘Political Animal’ contact Marcus at: mnrsmith@gmail.com, you can join the project on Facebook too.

By Richard Sudan

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5 Responses

  1. Great work Marcus keep it up, keep being an inspiration and a role model to your generation.

  2. It’s very uplifting to read an article about a young black individual making positive contributions to his community at such a young age. If only mainstream news channels would publish empowering articles like this too!

  3. If only they would indeed James! I wonder, do you think if the media did published more articles talking about positive contributions to society made by black people do you think it could have a knock on effect?

    I think if the media gave a fairer representation of the positive achievements made by minority communities, instead of focusing on anything negative minority communities would be inspired to make more positive contributions.

    What do you think James?

  4. I totally agree with you Richard. But like I always say, the onus should be on the individual as it takes one person to make a change – as Marcus Smith has demonstrated. I suppose this is why im trying to get into Broadcast journalism as I believe that the BME community is under represented in this sector.

  5. We are. And the problem is that because there are so few black faces in the media, invariably those few end up being the people talking about equality in the media- and elsewhere.

    And then they get pigeonholed for talking about equality-and to some extend it’s true-they do-and have to because no one else will. I think it’s a cycle that we have to break.

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