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Bullingdon revisited: Ten black Oxford undergraduates recreate famed photo

Bullingdon revisited: Ten black Oxford undergraduates recreate famed David Cameron and Boris Johnson ‘portrayal of white privilege’

  • Ten black Oxford freshers have recreated the infamous Bullingdon Club photo 
  • Photo is intended to inspire others from tough backgrounds to strive for success
  • The original photo featured a young Boris Johnson and David Cameron 

The pose may look familiar, but what these Oxford University freshers hope to convey is a message far removed from the decadence and privilege of the students in the original.

Ten black first-year undergraduates have recreated the infamous Bullingdon Club photo featuring a young Boris Johnson and David Cameron in a bid to inspire others from tough backgrounds to strive for success.

The student who set up what he called the ‘parody’ photo, who is sitting on the steps on the right in the equivalent of Mr Johnson’s spot in the 1987 shot, said he hopes people will ‘take away an overall positive’ from seeing them ’empower themselves’.

The reshoot: Black Oxford students reproduce the pose adopted by Bullingdon Club members in 1987

In a post on business networking website Linkedin, he also wrote: ‘As a working-class black man from south-east London there have been certain structural economic and social pressures unjustly perpetuated upon me by the establishment figures in the original Bullingdon picture, specifically due to the combination of my race and identified gender.’ The man, who asked not to be named, studied for his A-levels at the Harris Academy in Falconwood, south-east London, began a history degree at Oxford this term.

The photo was shared on Twitter by local newspaper the Peckham Peculiar alongside the old photo of Mr Johnson, former prime minister Mr Cameron and other tailcoat-wearing members of the Bullingdon Club, which is as renowned for its bawdy behaviour and drinking as for producing the country’s leaders.

One of those in the new photo, Amgad Salih, who is studying economics and management and attended the Harris Academy in Battersea, south-west London, wrote on Linkedin: ‘Representation is key! #blackhistorymonth #blackexcellence #oxford.’

The original: Bullingdon members including David Cameron, top row, second left, and Boris Johnson, front row, right

The original: Bullingdon members including David Cameron, top row, second left, and Boris Johnson, front row, right

Others in the photo include Joshua Chima, a law student from Bradford, West Yorkshire; Joshua Abioye, a chemistry undergraduate who went to St Thomas the Apostle College in Nunhead, south-east London; Wayne Gouro, an engineering undergraduate who attended St Dominic’s Sixth Form College in Harrow, north-west London; and Joshua Omolegan, from Bristol, who is studying computer science. Another is Myles Alexander-Bryan, a former independent school pupil from Harrow on the Hill. He is studying philosophy, politics and economics – the same degree that Old Etonian Mr Cameron took.

On Twitter, one user commented on the photo: ‘Do I see a future black prime minister standing there?’ Another, referring to the Bullingdon Club’s antics, said: ‘Pretty sure that these young men will have better things to do with their time than trash restaurants and set fire to £50 notes.’

The proportion of black and ethnic minority undergraduates at Oxford rose from 14.5 per cent five years ago to 22.1 per cent last year, figures from the university show.

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