Just under 2 weeks ago, BYP (Black Young Professionals) Network held the first ever BYP Conference. A leadership conference dedicated to black professionals. The first of its kind, in the UK at least. Panel discussions, workshops and keynote speakers were just a few of the highlights. AJ Odudu was the host in the morning and panellists/speakers included the likes of George the Poet, Tolu Ogunmefun, Gillian Joseph, Lord Michael Hastings and many many more. Attending the BYP conference made me realise that there’s a change coming and it’s a change in the right direction.
As I get older, I realise more and more things about people, places and life in general. One of such realisations is the fact that many black Londoners are unaware of the existence of black communities outside of London. In all fairness to them, the percentage of black people in London is by far the highest in comparison to other parts of the UK. As of the 2011 census, London is the region with the highest percentage of the black population (13.3%) versus the North East which is the region with the lowest percentage of the black population (0.5%). In addition to this, the black British culture that is portrayed on TV and across social media is very London centric. So, who can really blame these Londoners for not realising there is black life outside of London?
From 1st – 4th August 2019, in Praia da Rocha, Portugal the first ever Afro Nation took place. A festival dedicated to all things Afrobeats. When I first saw an ad promoting Afro Nation, I was instantly interested because I’ve always been a fan of Afrobeats. I’m talking way back to Styl Plus ‘Imagine that’, Dbanj ‘Why me’ kind of days. I feel like it’s only recently, since being back, suffering from holiday blues and having time to reflect, that I’ve realised the true magnitude of what Afro Nation signifies for us.
The thing with racism and insecurities is that they’re learned behaviours. So, if you get ‘em young, you’re on to a winner.
This week, I was merrily scrolling through my Instagram timeline when I came across a post shared by someone I follow https://www.instagram.com/p/B0TF_Q5lJ5W/. The post essentially expresses her anger with a cartoon she came across. To give a quick overview, in the cartoon a young angel is cursed, she’s not allowed to speak to her husband otherwise she loses her youth and beauty. Long story short, she does speak to her husband, which means she does lose her beauty. You may be thinking so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that when the angel is turned “ugly”, she’s turned into a black woman. Exhibit A below: