While you were growing up who did you see in the media that looked like you?
I’m not really sure if it was as common to see other girls rocking natural hair when I was younger. Some examples of black women I can think of now include: Lauryn Hill, Raven Baxter in That’s So raven (before she became the Raven she is now) and Alicia Keys?
In school who did you learn about that looked like you or had similar experiences to you?
In school, we learnt about Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman in brief. I read the Noughts & Crosses series by Malorie Blackman around year 8, which was particularly eye opening for me. Not sure about similar experiences to me though, as growing up I didn’t really know of any African & Caribbean spaces.
Why do you think diversity and representation is important?
I think diversity and representation is extremely important, because it teaches us how to be comfortable with ourselves and embrace our features and not associate them with “other”, not beautiful, different or abnormal. Mediums such as blackoutday have created a space where I can see other black people, embracing their features and their idiosyncrasies and quirkiness with no regrets. Particularly in England where I feel like we try to conform a lot and don’t really like the race conversation, it’s refreshing to see people with waist length braids and purple Afros and extravagant makeup all flying the same banner — black and proud. I don’t really know but that’s the vibe I get from just blackoutday, so imagine children actually growing up and seeing more people looking like them and coming from the same places? It just makes your goals and dreams seem just that bit more attainable. In the school curriculum particularly, a lot needs to be done with regards to representation. It’s sad, but a lot of the time you either stumble upon this type of exposure or have to go out looking for yourself.