Last week I and my sister had the distinct pleasure of attending an evening with Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené authors of the Black Girl Bible and all round book of wisdom, Slay In Your Lane. Before now, there were very few books that spoke to Black women in Britain, that spoke directly to us, addressed our concerns front and centre at its core, and showed us such solidarity. Being Black in Britain in is not without its challenges, especially as the child of immigrant parents, being an immigrants myself, whose history has been warped to fit a certain narrative in the media. We have little agency and are damn near invisible in society. There was no narrative that we fit into, feminism did not address our place in history or our concerns; it was and is predominantly white and white focused. Black women have literally fought for a seat at the table and still the space is limited, there cannot be more than one Black woman at the table and until she is ready to give up her seat, the rest of us need to wait in line. Slay In Your Lane does not have all the answers, but it does let us know there is a way and a how, in which we can exist in a society that seeks to undermine us and clip our wings. From twerkin’ on tables at Uni, surviving that dreaded Afro-Carribean society, to dealing with daily micro aggression at work, Slay In Your Lane is really a Bible for Black Women in Britain. It helps us navigate society and a system often times rigged against us. It does not solve the race relations in Britain, but guides us on how to survive and most important, thrive in it. Stories from many Black women in prominent positions in Britain, who are dominating in their various fields. It is inspiring and uplifting, and just the thing to let you know, you cannot, must not give up because it gets better. Even when you feel like its bleak.
Including the authors were two women featured in the bible; Dawn Butler Labour MP, and Anne-Marie Imafidon, all round tech genius, who when I eventually grow up, I want to be like, she is everything and the cherry on top. The evening was hosted by Afua Hirsch author of Brit(ish) another solid work on race and identity in Britain. It was candid and uplifting with lots of laughs and nuggets of wisdom. From addressing the subtle forms of overt racism at work to the state of society and the role of Black Women in it today, everything was laid bare. I especially appreciated and related to the stories of surviving university and the conformity and expectation set upon us by institutions that strip us of our identity and ascribe stereotypes that degrade us. They talked about Love and beauty and Blackness, the standard being blonde and blue eyed; even for Black men.
There is very little space in which we can operate and be ourselves, very little places where we can be allowed to simply be. We take on a lot and on top of that racism in every single work of life. Dawn Butler recalls a time when riding up the elevator with White male colleagues who assumed she was the cleaner, and who glibly talked about her in her presence. Who does that? Morons that’s who.
We left the evening feeling inspired. One cannot fix a racist society, this in no way intends to fix that issues but it helps guide us and protects us in a way by showing us the women who have done and are still, doing it. If you read anything this year, read this.