This is a bit of a different post for me today, but following on from the recent events surrounding the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement across the world, I’ve been reflecting on not only my own experiences as a lighter-skinned black woman but also what I’ve been doing so far in my life, to contribute to racial equality.
I remember all of my friends getting into makeup around the age of 13 or 14 and not being able to join in by getting my first foundation at the same time as them, because there were no brands that catered to my skin tone. I remember taking part in dance events or shows where my mum would have to do my hair before we got there because the ‘stylists’ backstage didn’t know what to do with mine. Until very recently, if I wanted hair products, I would have to travel to specialist stores rather than popping into my high street drug store like everyone else and even now I still have to scour the internet if I want a skin coloured bra that’s actually my skin tone because black, white and nude just don’t cut it for me.
Now I understand these few examples, to some, might seem trivial and insignificant on the racial injustice scale, but I’ve chosen to steer in this direction at the moment for a few reasons. Firstly because, in my life which I don’t consider to actually be that long just yet, I’ve experienced more of these occasions than I can remember; I also think they’re relatable to you, the readers and followers of my posts and lastly, I think we should consider these as just as important as other forms of injustice because to live through examples of this kind of bias day after day changes a persons approach to how they live their life and their perspective on the world that they live in.
Sadly, when I look back through my Instagram and past blog posts, it’s quite clear that my content does not cater to all and I’m ashamed to say this because I absolutely should have been working to diversify the content I produce and share, especially since I’m quite aware that I’m underrepresented in both the media and the blogger world already. We could sit and talk about the reasons behind this for hours, however, the important thing now is to look forward and start to make changes for the good.
So obviously in an offline sense, I will be using my voice more, having conversations with family, friends and colleagues, signing petitions for change where needed and working towards the bigger cause in whatever way possible. I also plan to use my voice online more to discuss the everyday issues that black women face and not only spread awareness but to use my platform and content to change the face of media and diversify this industry as much as I can. I want to begin by sharing this wonderful piece by Victoria Magrath from InTheFrow on reasons we must diversify our social feeds where she shares 39 black content creators to follow now on Instagram.
As a final note, I would urge you to all look at your own feeds and consider the type of content you consume. Does it reflect the diverse culture that we live in today or do you need to make a conscious change as well?