In the wake of the Black Uprising, it has taken me a while to conjure up the words for my fellow readers. I wanted to only communicate once I had moved through all the phases of grief, yet I am now learning to accept that this may or may not happen, there will always be moments of anger, even denial but also moments of acceptance. I do however feel like I can channel this emotional turmoil into writing something of substance to you all.
I am proud of us – I am proud of how we have answered the call to ACTION, while I am saddened at the constant and recent events that have brought us to this point, I understand that this is how change is activated and will not rest until it is resolute. One thing I’ve always admired about black people is our ability to communicate. In the past week we have sent shockwaves through the world and united under an unmistakable common theme.
Whether its through education, rioting, structural changes, or awareness creation we have harnessed our strengths to be the change we want to see. A lot of us have faced up to the cold hard fact that due to systemic oppression and racial injustice, we are not seen, we are not valued, we are not equal. So rather than reiterate that truth, its imperative to speak on what our future could look like with that in mind.
I was recently asked what have I done for Black Lives and to be honest I had a list of things to say, I realized that throughout my life I had made conscious decisions to promote black people, whether it be through Vandalway which features a wealth of black owned brands, or my conscious decision to use black models in the cover photos I display, or my consultancy work with black owned brands, or supporting black peers in getting into the corporate world. It has always been clear that I wanted to advance us as a people in my own sphere using my talents.
But now that this uprising has started, it has pointed me to the one area I have largely overlooked which is the economic independence of Black people. Knowing that money is power, I have made a conscious decision to habitually invest in black businesses, across all industries in such a way that it becomes the norm. The only true way to get the attention of any organisation is to decrease its profits or share price; now we know our interests aren’t being served we must build our own. I realised that up till now, everything I had done was to allow black people (myself included) to assimilate into the world around us; but perhaps we must build our own world, some are called to make change from within and others from outside.
I believe we each have a role to play as we move from individualistic gain to collective capital. We must hold ourselves accountable to this new manifesto and ask ourselves every day, what are YOU doing for Black Lives? because the full benefits of this will outlive every current generation. It is vital that we move away from negative characteristics and use this time to uplift our own, create infrastructures in which we can thrive, and elevate ourselves to positions of influence for the benefit of all.
I could spend all day delving deeper in to what we can do, but I’ll save that for instagram live. There is much learning and unlearning to be done, but I believe in the ability of each and everyone of you, we are a resilient nation of people and it really is time to focus, be kind to one another, and reclaim the spaces, cultures, and wealth that is rightfully ours.