Sunday, December 17, 2017

Thank God for Social Media, We Now Have a Voice!

I grew up in the 90s when TV was reasonably good for black people in the UK. Although black and brown faces were few and far between, we were at least treated to strong matriarchs imported from America, such as Aunt Viv and Claire Huxtable. They were educated, homely women holding their families together with grace, love and discipline. We also had our sense of humour tickled with comedies such as Desmond’s and The Real McCoy. Who remembers those shows?

If TV could pass for reasonable back then, it really is a lot to be desired now. Today when I switch on the box, I see almost no black women on our everyday popular TV shows. It seems that with the turn of the century when one should expect more diversity on the TV, the British black woman is left wanting.
But where mainstream media has failed, social media has stepped in and has filled the racial equality gap. I am sure that when YouTube launched back in 2005, little did its founders know that it was doing something unique for the lives and public image of black women. It has given us a much-needed gift, which is a voice. A voice that can reach anyone with an internet connection – uncensored and uninterrupted. Take my blog and this post as an example!

What social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat have offered are images of black women living content lives, having healthy relationships, chasing degrees, writing books, giving great advice, buying houses and starting businesses. These new images are challenging the status quo. Pictures of the frustrated black woman, mouthy and angry, lonely and single-handedly bringing up her children have had their day, and this is all thanks to what we are seeing online.

I first started watching YouTube seriously back in 2014. I was searching for old music videos when a thumbnail of Chanel Boateng (now Chanel Ambrose) appeared on the right hand of my screen. I clicked on it out of curiosity, and immediately fell in love with the bubbly, funny persona I was watching. What’s more, she was a black Londoner like myself, beautiful, and living an ordinary life. My foray into the online world introduced me to other very popular, and much-loved YouTube personalities such as Patricia Bright and Breeny Lee.
For me, seeing these wonderful women is doing wonders to lift the esteem of back girls because for once, we have the choice of skipping what BBC One and Two have largely offered us for years: white, male and middle class. We are seeing women such as Nissy Tee and Courtney Daniella (who both attended Cambridge!) present us with a life of achievement and optimism. What makes it even more beautiful is that they are relatable. Their videos and pictures have removed the glitz and glam from success. They are teaching us that you don’t need to be Oprah Winfrey, or The Real Housewives of Atlanta to be deemed successful!
In ten years, this is what social media has achieved for the average black woman living in the UK. We are being represented. We are being inspired.
That would be a two finger salute to traditional TV!

A more refined version of this post can be found on the Huffington Post




  1. You're very right and you hit the nail on the head! We don't want to think of what would happen if there was no social media till now. Eh!

  2. I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work

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