David’s first venture into the arts was running a bookshop (1976) that specialised in black literature and children’s books in Brixton. From running a bookshop, he went on to staging the first black book fair in the UK. Staying with the literature theme, he later developed Black Ink, a community publishing project to record the stories and poems of Black lives in Brixton. After a short break from the arts, training community and social workers, he became one of the first black directors of an art and community centre in 1984, and possibly the youngest. This involved leading a multi-million pound adaptation and renovation of what was also a landmark church in the centre of Brixton into a vibrant community arts centre, re-branded Brixton Village. The arts programming was popular, attracted audiences and led to an award from Time Out for creating audiences for diverse work. One of the programming successes was the development of black comedy and cabaret.
He later developed The Black Comedy Club, touring venues around the country and creating a market for others to develop. On leaving Brixton Village his first arts contract was with the National Theatre. He established the Onyxarts Foundation and produced three successful, sold-out seasons of black contemporary dance in the Purcell Room at the London Southbank Centre. He produced theatre and music festivals at Greenwich Theatre, Commonwealth Institute and elsewhere. He was for several years a consultant to arts organisations, the Arts Council of England and numerous organisations not in the arts. He did a Masters in Business Administration and became a management consultant providing training and consultancy within the arts, not-for-profit and public sector.
He is a member of Arts Council England’s national council.