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Voice columnist honoured

HONOURED: Writer Dotun Adebayo will battle it out with the likes of President Obama and Diane Abbot MP to be named the most inspirational person

DOTUN ADEBAYO says he feels "humbled" to have made the shortlist of the most inspirational black men and women published in today's (Oct 10) Metro newspaper.

The Voice columnist, who will battle it out with the likes of Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela in the contest, which has been organised by the daily newspaper and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said the nomination had made him "proud of myself and what I’ve achieved".

He told The Voice: "I was initially shocked to see my face next to such big icons who have achieved far more that I will ever do like Nelson Mandela, Shirley Bassey and Oprah Winfrey.”

“I was shown the newspaper by my 13-year-old daughter who told me she was immensely proud of me, and that made me proud of myself and what I’ve achieved,” he added.

Dotun, who came to the UK from Nigeria when he was five, has worked as an actor and columnist for nationwide newspapers The Independent, The Guardian and The Times.

He currently presents show Up All Night on BBC Radio 5 Live and was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2009.

Despite boasting such achievements, the father of two said that winning the contest would be a "very humbling experience."

“No one can really prepare for the win, but it would be a very humbling experience because people will be voting and this is their voices,” he said.

Boris Johnson has urged people to vote for their black heroes from the shortlist, which also includes the UK's first black woman MP Diane Abbot, Notting Hill founder Claudia Jones and Reggae Reggae sauce entrepreneur, Levi Roots.

The contest, organised to mark Black History Month, also features a handful of notable international stars such as boxer Muhammad Ali and actress Whoopi Goldberg.

The nominees are spilt into ten categories, ranging from educators, campaigners, politicians, religious leaders, musicians and sports stars.

Johnson said black people have made a big contribution to history and praised the collaborative initiative between the paper and his office.

"Black people have made a massive contribution to history over the centuries and this stunning exhibition showcases the rich variety and reach of their influences in so many different fields," he said.

“It [exhibition] covers well over two hundred years of history and celebrates truly iconic black men and women of all ages, who have inspired so many with their magnificent achievements,” he added.

An exhibition of all nominees goes on show at City Hall today and to vote for your favourite, go to

Polls are open until October 30.

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