By now, we’ve all seen the cinematic advert for Nike’s latest campaign, Nothing Beats A Londoner. The London-focused advert was a playful and joyous salute to the spirit of Londoners and some of the internationally-renowned high-achievers that call the capital their home. Almost as soon as the advert went live, social media was awash with chatter as people spotted their ends and tried to name the many, many famous faces inside. While it was certainly an impressive feat—from a logistical point of view—to get everyone from Giggs, Skepta and J Hus to Mo Farah, Gareth Southgate and Rio Ferdinand together in one place, the real success stories came from the ordinary Londoners one-upping each other’s commuting horror stories.

Certainly, some cynics might write this off as ‘just an advert’. More still, might bemoan the London-centric ad for not shining a light on the rest of the country. While we certainly hope an advert following the people of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow and beyond is forthcoming, let’s resist taking the spotlight from LDN for a moment. The sheer, unifying excitement of Londoners online was an intoxicating feeling that had many comparing the campaign to the Olympics—yet another moment of deserved pride, not just for Londoners but everyone up and down the country. You might not care about Stratford Olympic Park or Borough Market, but you’re sure proud of Skepta taking grime internationally, or Mo Farah for bringing us so many medals at those same 2012 Olympics.

The capital is filled with examples of people doing incredible things in their fields—whether it’s music, athletics, film and TV, medicine or even politics. Yes, London can be a tough city to exist in, harder still to thrive there, but that just makes the achievements of young Londoners all the more impressive. There’s a long list of reasons why London youth are so industrious, not least because they live in the capital city. As a capital city, London is naturally a magnet for immigration, bringing with it a cavalcade of just about every culture the world has to offer. With people pouring into the country from all corners of the world, LDN is brimming over with art, cuisine, music, film, fashion and more. Where else can you hear dancheall, Irish folk music, traditional Arabian music and grime all soundtracking the same stretch of road?

Of course, the cost of living in London isn’t exactly cheap, but that may well change. In the meantime, that doesn’t seem to be dampening the spirits of London’s inhabitants. Regardless of means, residents consistently do remarkable things with very little. And that’s not to demean the achievements of Britons from outside the capital—or to deny that life outside the M25 comes with more than its fair share of obstacles—but it’s impossible to deny the energy, vibrancy and ingenuity of every single person that calls London their home, especially the young.

2012 was an unforgettably triumphant year for the city as it hosted the Olympic Games, and there’s no reason why those highs can’t be topped by its inspiring young people. So while there will always be detractors whenever London’s name bubbles to the forefront of the national conversation, this is a moment of opportunity. International politics is in a pretty terrifying place and Brexit has a lot of people very scared, which is why a call to celebrate and encourage the future generations is so essential and so life-affirming. So, for now, let’s focus on the positives; let’s focus on the achievements of London’s youth past, present and future.

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Posted on February 18, 2018