22 Sep Representation Matters
I recently launched my website and I’m so proud of her. I’m proud to finally be occupying some virtual space. More importantly, I’m proud of the subliminal messaging in my website. My drive from the very start was clear. I wanted my website to be an extension of the brand I have established thus far and I wanted people to see themselves in the brand. Representation matters. We’ve seen significant events happen this year birthed out of pain and frustration where people feel that they don’t belong or are not seen as equally as others. Racism. Let’s call it what it is. And I was not going to have any of it. Not on my site. Everything I did drove an agenda of representation. From the behind the scenes stuff you don’t see (who I worked with) to the content produced you do see, spoke to representation and Black excellence.
We can no longer hide behind the notion that we don’t know what our actions mean, didn’t intend to be racist or don’t have a racist bone in your body. The truth is, the legacy of our past Apartheid system is still very much alive. It was a deeply evil system in that it ensured its practices would outlive it, well beyond the system being scraped from our legislation. It has bred a very dangerous culture of aspiring to Whiteness and by doing so, seeing every other culture and identity as second best or not good enough. And so, each of us must begin a very deliberate process to decolonize our minds.
What is the link between that and my website? Everything! I wanted people who look like me to see themselves when they look at the site. Do you know how numbing it is to grow up and only see yourself in one narrative – the gangster who has extracted their teeth and is used for your comical relief but nothing more than that? My website shows Black excellence loud and proud. It shows the women leading, it shows inclusion. I want the next consultant who looks like me to go onto my site and say “if she could do it, so can I. I too am going to aspire to her level of professionalism – an authentic professionalism where she remains true to herself but is slaying for the gods”.
Representation matters and as a storyteller, I’m very deliberate about the narrative I create with others. Someone said this recently – “you can’t change the story if you don’t change the storyteller”. Boom! Drop the mic right there. I’m changing the view of the storyteller through my own leadership and in my work, I’m helping to shape and grow more storytellers. That’s such a privilege for me.
- How can you, in your capacity as the storyteller, change the story?
- What can you do to break the vicious cycle of racism?