Following on from Black History Month, here are some tips gleaned from the leading lights of the current wave of Black businesswoman entrepreneurs and educators.
Having reached the top of their respective professions, Black women are reaching back down to help up their sisters, creating opportunities where none existed before. The availability of cash is the single most heavily limiting factor for almost every business and venture capitalists have historically been extremely reticent about lending capital to Black people and business women, let alone Black businesswomen. Happily, Black women are now stepping in to fill the gap and provide seed funding for Black-owned SMEs, as well as creating platforms to support networking between Black businesspeople and connecting venture capitalists with business founders. Others are supporting their communities by setting up community interest companies that enrich and develop people from disadvantaged backgrounds, encouraging them to succeed and thrive.
The costmetics industry has historically worshipped an exclusively white image of beauty, as if the sculptures and paintings of the Rennaisance were the sole yardstick by which the diversity of human beauty was to be measured. Black women are only now forcing the question about where there place is in the beauty industry, overturning the exploitative practices of hair straightening and filling gaping holes in the market with products that meet the needs of women with darker skin tones.
Frustrated by the lack of disabled Black women in the media, Kym and Jumoke created a platform that brought together a blog, YouTube channel and podcast for sharing stories and talking about the intersectional discrimination faced by Black, disabled women that led to careers as influencers with a regular circuit of public speaking at festivals, in the press and at universities. They were recently named #Merky Books superheroes.
The creative arts have long given expression to the downtrodden and the oppressed, enabling those with a less formal education to give affective expression to their experience. Still, mainstream media were created as exclusively white spaces and even now the appearance of Black women in key roles is groundbreaking. Still, Black women have spent decades laying claim to their share of the publishing infrastructure and are now taking centre stage in long running television and film franchises. Just take a look at these Black British women taking the creative industries by storm.
The legacy of violent discrimination against Black people sadly continues to this day but it continues to act as a rallying call to powerful Black women who have risen up to help create a fairer Britain for everyone. Today, we salute those Black British women who have taken the political scene by storm and continue challenging the status quo in British politics.
Suffering from the intersectional oppression both as Black people and as women, Black women face communal microaggressions and exclusion in academia, as elsewhere, making an already steep career path even more difficult for them. This is reflected in the challenges …
Bringing an admittedly selective sweep of leading Black ladies up to the late twentieth century, we see how Black women have been instrumental in making up for deficiencies in the welfare state, building self-sufficient communities, neutralising some of the most dangerous periods of interracial strife in British history, while still making waves in popular culture.