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What’s Good: Black Women Talking Back

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Last Friday I attended an event at SOAS university, entitled ‘What’s Good: Black Women Talking Back’hosted by SOAS BME Network, to say it was an eye opener would be an understatement. Leading the discussion was, Lateesha Osbourne the Communications Co-ordinator at Aint I A Woman Collective and Tobi Oredein the Editor of Black Ballad.

Recently a lot of coverage relating to black women has surfaced in the press, and although many media outlets have taken different perspectives, most of the coverage tended to centre on the conflict surrounding black women. For example Nicki Minaj vs Miley Cyrus, Kylie Jenner vs Amandla Stenberg or Effie Brown vs Matt Damon. Each of these scenarios have raised a number of issues relating to representation, diversity and appropriation. But mainstream media, have usually overlooked the important issues raised and instead frame it as petty disputes.

Throughout the conversation, it became clear how important it is for black women (and any marginalised group) to have media outlets which represent them. Although magazines like Essence and Ebony have been catering to black women for years, they do cover a particular demographic of black women who are middle to upper class and in recent times have lacked progressive or representational content.

Another area brought about was the lack of connection between Black British women and African American women, with the later not being knowledgeable of the Black British experience.

Although this is a problem there have been a number of creative people coming together to showcase different angles of the Black women’s experience. Some of these include Strolling by Cecile Emeke, Aint I A Woman Collective, Blavity, Black Ballad, the recently kick starter funded HANNAH Magazine and many more. These outlets are helping to bridge the gap between black women across the globe.

‘What’s Good’ provided an interesting dialogue and a place for people to voice their opinions. One of the terms I was introduced to was ‘Misogynoir’, coined by scholar Moya Bailey, it is a combination of racism and sexism directed at black women, it’s important to understand the meaning because this ideology can sometimes shape the tone of different media outlets. To find out about SOAS BME Network’s next event visit their Facebook page.

 

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