BLACK HISTORY MONTH & BBC INTERVIEW | WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BEING A BLOGGER/INFLUENCER OF COLOUR

Diversity is the "it topic" today! It seems that society is now realizing the importance of skin colour, gender, sexuality, disabilities. It has been my generation, the millennials, to drive the conversation on diversity. I describe myself as a Black British Ghanaian woman, and diversity isn't a fad for me it is my LIFE. I have experienced discrimination throughout my life. Racism being black, Xenophobia due to my British Ghanaian heritage, misogyny by being a woman. It wasn't or isn't an everyday thing, but I remember so clearly being told to go back to my own country at school. Being confused as I was born in South West London. Yes, my skin was different, and yes my mum made banging jollof rice with succulent plantain, instead of a roast every night. But I am still British, as well as Ghanaian. I have become accustomed to the catcalls by thirsty men on the street, thirsty men sending me unsolicited DM's on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn due to my "exotic" shape. I learnt to roll with the punches, I learnt that I was seen as another in society.

JESS D RICHMOND SHOOT


When I started blogging, I loved that we are all different and celebrated for that.  However, as brands started to recognise the impact influencers have, they have now started to control the narrative. In short, the opportunities for black and POC's (people of colour) influencers are slim, compared to our white counterparts. As sad as this sounds, I wasn't surprised about it at all.

JESS D RICHMOND SHOOT

A few months, ago, I was contacted by the BBC and was interviewed on their podcast #TheNextEpisode to discuss the Black influencer pay gap. You can listen here: The Black influencer pay gap.   It was sad, yet not surprising that other Black influencers are having issues with working with brands nowadays. It now seems that if you don't have lighter skin, a particular hair texture, sound a particular way then you aren't marketable to the wider public. Therefore, you can't or don't deserve to work with brands. To me, that is a damn shame...

A lot of people ask, why are Black influencers struggling to get the same opportunities that White influencers get?  Some have speculated it to, lack of following, lack of network, wrong content for a particular brand etc. Now if we were to dissect this in detail, there are times when an influencer may not be right for a brand, alright cool, it's calm. However, when I see influencers who have huge followings, with strong networks, great and innovative content. I wonder why they aren't chosen?

I have broken it down to a few reasons:
  • The people choosing probably don't want influencers of colour in their campaigns.
  • The people choosing aren't aware of popular influencers of colour or those particular networks and then just choose what they know. 
  • The people choosing, choose people that reflect their reality. 

If some of you don't know, as well as being an influencer, I actually work in social media, I have done for the last 10 years.. As a freelance and working on numerous contracts with huge B2CC and B2B brands, I am in these conversations with brands choosing influencers. I network with a lot of other professionals in the industry and that is why I came up with the three reasons above. There is a lot that can be done to equal the playing field.

  1. First, we need to speak about it. Surprisingly, a lot of people are not aware or play ignorant to the fact that Black and POC influencers aren't getting the same opportunities. Now you know boo. 
  2. We need more POC and Black professionals, there are a lot with amazing talent. They just need to be hired and involved in the decision making, it is 2019, there is no excuse. 
  3. We need to work with brands that recognise and want to work with us, not because they are being told to. 
So that is just my input, say what you will.. but it is 2019 and I think playing field needs to be evened. There is no excuse for some influencers getting more opportunities than others.. it's silly. What are your thoughts on this topic?

JESS D RICHMOND SHOOT

9 comments

  1. It's a very good thing that diversity is the "it topic" today!!! Unfortunately here in the United States we have an unrepentant racist, homophobe and all around bigot squatting in the White House, a political party and television stations that enable and spread his hate, a lot of ignorant racists and haters supporting him, and a lot of billionaires and unethical corporations eager to make more profit by assisting in the demonisation victimisation of minorities and the poor.
    I suspect that the same dynamic plays a part in the disadvantaging of Black influencers.

    You are undisputedly right about the things you listed that need to be done to equal the playing field. More needs to be done to promote equality, opportunity and wealth sharing globally as well. Here in the United States we need to get rid of bigot in chief Trump and educate those who supported him.

    You look regally stunning in all three of the photos of you above - absolutely gorgeous!!!!!! You really rock that pretty dress, and your makeup looks very pretty. You are a very beautiful woman - and that is certainly not any excuse whatsoever for the misogynistic and rude catcalls and unsolicited DMs you have experienced / received.
    All my best wishes for your happiness and success as an influencer, blogger and in all of your endeavours. xxoxx <3

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