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Star pupil from Homerton hoping to change narrative around young black boys after 10 Downing Street visit

PUBLISHED: 17:18 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 09 October 2019

Aleka and Amari at 10 Downing Street.

Aleka and Amari at 10 Downing Street.

Archant

A star pupil wants to change the narrative around young black boys in the media after being invited to Downing Street to celebrate his GCSE results.

Homerton boy Amari Gutzmore, 16, and his mother Aleka were asked to go to number 10 by Samuel Kasumu, the Prime Minister's special advisor on youth and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME).

He had seen Aleka's viral LinkedIn post about her son's incredible grades after results day.

"One of my biggest life achievements is that of being a mother," she had written. "Yesterday all the hard work was rewarded. My son achieved 10 A's in his GCSEs, 8 of which were at grade 9 one at grade 8 and one at grade 7."

The pair went down last month and chatted about Amari's future, although a certain Mr Johnson wasn't around to meet them.

"I just got an email from 10 Downing Street inviting me to go," Amari said. "I was like: 'Wow, OK'.

"I was quite shocked because the place was really big. We just talked about what I want to do and how I could help."

Aleka, a self-employed financial advisor, added: "He was ecstatic. He was inspired. It was good to know the only reason we were there was because of our achievements. It's had a massive impact. Before he went he would say he was going to do his A-levels and go to uni. Now he's going to Oxford to do philosophy, politics and economics!"

Amari recently sat on a panel in Birmingham talking to his peers, much to Aleka's surprise.

"I didn't expect him to say yes," she said. "He doesn't really like the limelight, it just shows how these results have affected him."

Amari went to Cardinal Pole and is now at Brampton Manor, which he says is more intense. He's studying politics, maths, philosophy and ethics.

"I want to change the stigma and stereotypes," he said of his long-term goals. "My case is treated as exceptional but it shouldn't be. I mean yeah I did well but other people do too. It shouldn't be shocking."

Aleka said: "It's very rare you hear about the success of a young black boy in Hackney. The media and community is celebrating crime more than success. If you're doing really well and trying really hard at school but everything you hear is negative some will think: 'What's the point?'."

Amari says his Aleka helped him to be successful by not putting pressure on him.

"I always told him to aim high," she said. "I just made learning fun, that's all you've got to do."

Black History Month

Aleka has written the following poem for National Poetry Day, inspired by Black History Month:

If I Had a Voice

You may also want to watch:

If I had a voice

You would hear me sing

If I had a voice

Such joy it would bring

If I had a voice

The youth would think

listen to the sound of the silent ring

opportunity so weet you can hear it roar

night after night they would pray they soar

If I had a voice

The boards would bring

And being at the top would not be a thing

If I had a voice

Equality would stop the divides

Unity it would be side by side

If I had a voice

You would know the magnificence

of my race

If I had a voice

And maybe even a face

more would happen at increased speed and pace

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