World Diabetes Day is 14 November and with that in mind we have chosen Sheku Kanneh-Mason as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.
Sheku is a British cellist who won the 2016 BBC Young Musician award. He was the first Black musician to win the competition since its launch in 1978. He began learning the cello at the age of six. His love for the cello started when he saw his sister perform in ‘Stringwise’, an annual weekend course for young Nottingham string players, run by the local music charity Music for Everyone. At the age of nine, he passed the Grade 8 cello examination with the highest marks in the UK and won the Marguerite Swan Memorial Prize. Also aged nine he won an ABRSM junior scholarship to join the Junior Academy of the Royal Academy of Music, where he was tutored by Ben Davies.
In 2015, he and his siblings were competitors on Britain’s Got Talent as The Kanneh-Masons. Also he was a member of the Chineke! Orchestra, which was founded by Chi-chi Nwanoku for black and minority ethnic classical musicians; his sister Isata Kanneh-Mason and brother Braimah are also members.
In 2017 Sheku performed at the British Academy Film Awards and in February 2018 became the first artist ever to be re-invited to perform a second time playing “Evening of Roses” by Josef Hadar where he was joined on stage by four of his siblings: Isata, Braimah, Konya, and Jeneba.
On 19 May 2018, he performed as part of the musical selections for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
In 2020 he was awarded an MBE for services to music and in March 2020, he won the public vote for Best Classical Artist at the Global Awards.
At the age of 12 Sheku was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. In September 2018, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced that it had appointed him as a global ambassador. He is also an ambassador for the charities Music Masters and Future Talent.
To find out more about Sheku see here https://www.shekukannehmason.com/
To find out more about World Diabetes Day see here https://worlddiabetesday.org/