When it comes to Black Lives Matter, these well-known Black British female personalities are eloquent and resolute. Read on for how they are using their voices to challenge and demand for positive change.
The last few weeks have seen racial tensions escalate on both sides of the pond. Protest takes many forms. Everyone has the right to support the cause in ways that they feel comfortable. Last week we talked about John Boyega’s rousing speech at Hyde Park where he drew the line in the ground, saying enough is enough. This week we applaud and celebrate eight Black British female personalities who have shared elevating perspectives on the conversation around Black Lives Matter.
Social commentator and author of Brit(ish), Afua Hirsch is refusing to participate in mainstream broadcast media right now as part of her personal protest against the status quo. Afua used her Guardian column to clearly link the issues in America with its roots in Britain.
In her article, The racism that killed George Floyd was built in Britain, she wrote: “Our reaction to George Floyd’s death as Black British people is our expression of generations of lifelong, profound, unravelling pain. Some of us are speaking about this for the first time, in too many cases that I’m personally aware of, attracting reprimands and sanctions at work.”
As a campaigner and a patron of The Terrence Higgins Trust, Beverly is more than competent when it comes to engaging with issues that matter.
She offered a call to action in a video on Facebook, addressing some classic misconceptions about Black Lives Matter. She said: “When people reply to Black Lives Matter on social media with ‘yeah, well all lives matter’, I often think to myself I wish all lives did matter. Quite obviously, as is evidenced right now in the US, quite visibly, we can see that some lives matter way, way, way less than everybody else’s. And that is – let’s be completely real here – the lives of Black people.”
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu
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Dr Mos-Shogbamimu has been fighting the good fight for what feels like an eternity. A vocal activist and frequent commentator on mainstream media, she recently took on Nigel Farage in a heated TV debate where she told him the only thing he is “expert in is his backside”.
She usually pulls no punches and recently told the Evening Standard: “I would not be surprised if some white people by the end of this week are suffering from fragility fatigue or are already there because they want to get back to the status quo. But what you will find will be other white folks who go ‘oh my god, this is so insidious, I am going to actively be part of the change’. But either way, these protests are going to happen again. Hopefully it starts to seep into people’s consciousness as a whole, that we need to do better. It’s not just about statues, it’s also about how we start to tackle these things together, because that’s where we need to get to.”
Not long ago, Queen of comedy, Gina Yashere went viral for her #StopTheWhiteWash message. She called out the press asking ‘Where are all the doctors and nurses of colour?’. She’s been using her bold voice for good, calling out white women, Black republicans and the British public on social media. Recently, Gina’s Instagram post about Black women being murdered was removed for Hate speech due to a complaint. In response Gina posted a video on Instagram about ‘what an ally looks like’, commenting:
“For whoever complained about my post about the Black women being murdered and got it removed for Hate speech?? Do yourself a favour & UNFOLLOW ME. You don’t belong here. If u still don’t get it, swipe & read what I wrote in 2016!!!! After the murder of #philandocastile. We’re done explaining to you deaf cockwombles.”
“Silence is complicity at times. But for many Black people, silence is complicated. We are “silent” because we are overwhelmed. We are “silent” because we are protecting our mental health. We are “silent” because we don’t know what to say anymore. We are “silent” because we are in mourning. We are “silent”, but only online – offline, we are doing what we are able to change things and will keep doing so once everyone else moves on.”
Dina Asher-Smith is sprinting ahead of the rest through her online #JusticeForGeorgeFlloyd activism, gramming a message to those who have been faithful to the cause:
“Many of us were already doing the work. Publicly, privately and sometimes just by being our fullest, most vibrant selves – unapologetic, uncompromising and taking up space. I hope that many more have been inspired to find their lane.”
Influencer and author of new book, I Am Not Your Baby Mother, Candice Braithwaite, shared a message on Instagram with her fans about how economic equity, or rather the lack of, ties in with Black Lives Matter.
She said: “When we speak about Black Lives Matters or being an ally, the conversation always seems to stop short of finance.” She went on saying, “This week has helped elevate the conversation including the fact that most Black influencers are grossly underpaid (if paid at all)’.
It’s not today that the Queen of the runway has been challenging racism. In a recently unearthed interview that she shared on her Instagram, she eloquently championed the lack of Black models in fashion shows, while the interviewer tried to hang her passion under the tired trope of ‘angry Black woman’!
More recently, in a recent interview, she sent a clear message: “We are not labelled, no one is labelling us, we are Black, and I am proud, and that’s how we are. This is not going to go away like they wish it would, no way. The whole world is looking at it.”