On 20th December 2016 we held our first panel discussion event, we were as nervous as heck as this is new to us. When we started this blog were thought we were going to be online… we did not imagine that we would host two events in real life with real live humans within six months! We did it and I am proud of us for not procrastinating and just doing the damn thing, I am even more proud of our panel of down to earth real tangibly inspirational women. I respect each of them even more that I did previously (gosh I actually have glassy eyes as I type).
I am going to try to sum up what a caught (amongst anxiety, nerves, excitement, dealing with a Channel 4 TV crew… more about that in another post) in one small paragraph. If you attended the event or know me in person you will know that one small paragraph will be a CHALLENGE! Here goes.
Sharmaine talked about loving and owning her strength as a black woman. She talked about her duty to share this strength and the knowledge she has acquired with black women that want to get in to literature (Sharmaine is developing something really cool in Jamaica with Jamaican writers, prepare to be amazed). She also talked about being strong enough to know that she can manage four things well so she sticks to this and does not pressure herself into taking on more. I came away thinking knowing my limits will set me free.
Sonia talked about the strength that comes with knowing that there is enough for everyone and empowering yourself by only being in competition with yourself. She also talked about giving black children the opportunity to experience a variety so that they feel like they have choices but also the responsibility that comes with this, for example discussions she has had with younger relatives when they have experienced uncomfortable and in some cases highly distressing situations because of their melaninated skin. Take aways, 1) focus on you, its hard but find tools to help you do this, 2) our privilege comes with responsibility but that responsibility does not have to be burdensome.
On strength Jendella’s strength is hers, she owns it. It’s not about what is expected but what she expects and not being influenced. She also talked about taking her one year old son to places such as art galleries and museums and allowing him to run around/ be free to encourage him to feel entitled to claim his place in these spaces. The thought of a young black boy from South London enjoying as sense of entitlement that is not ordinarily associated with young black boys from South London brought me joy. My thought… strength comes from within therefore forcing it to fit into the expectation of others is to woefully disregard your own humanity. Sounds like a lot but think about it…
Jessica talked about drawing strength from her lineage, from her father that came to England prior to the Windrush era and faced the most dehumanising hatred, but also finding love in a woman who must have been incredibly strong to embark on an interracial relationship back then. Jessica also talked about sacrifice because a lot of our ideas on strength come from what we do, its great that there are black women running multi national companies but are you prepared to sacrifice what they do to have that type of success and what does success even mean. She shared that a number of her PR clients are women that could not longer take the ferris wheel of corporate life and are now doing their own thing on their own terms and are happier for it.
An audience member posed a question about top CEO’s still being overwhelmingly male and white. My heart sang when all four women said something along the lines of so what! Followed up with Sharmaine saying who cares about Forbes magazine, we can make our own!
I am not even doing these women any justice, you had to be there they were phenomenal, literally speaking life. We will have some video clips shortly so that you can get a snapshot of the dopeness!
A huge thank you to The Library your venue was a gorgeous back drop for our event.
Oh yeah… parts of our event were filmed and will be aired on a Channel 4 programme about the lady behind our AWESOME cake installation, yes cake installation! Thank you so much to The Indulgent Sugar Plum for a masterpiece of a cake! I think this was the best cake EVER! Check out her instagram page to see for yourself!
We will be back with more events in 2017. Keep an eye on our events page.
Wishing you a fabulous 2017 xx3