Black Ballad Cocktails & Conversations
Finally attended my first Black Ballad event. I have been a member for a while and hadn't attended one of their events, until now. Mainly because of work commitments, now that my hours are better I have more time to enjoy going to more events.
"Black Ballad is a UK based lifestyle platform that seeks to tell the human experience through eyes of black British women."
I went to Black Ballad's second Cocktails & Conversations.
There was five amazing speakers, all bringing something different to the evening.
Tobi, the Co-Founder of Black Ballad wanted to focus on wisdom for this event. Instead of the common strength and struggle themes that are normally attached to black women. The focus was on knowledge, what can be shared, digested and put into action in our own lives.
The unspoken theme of honesty ran right through to the very end of the event. Nobody had to prompt the speakers to be honest. When black women are in a safe space, you can just feel how comfortable everyone gets. Comfortable enough to be honest without hesitation. It's a beautiful thing.
The panelists spoke about being the only or one of few black women in their professions. The positives to being the only black women? Has diversity in the workplace changed, is there a difference? Getting the balance between work and their personal lives.
Initially I couldn't think of any positives to being the only black women in the workplace. Then Karen Tippett explained one of the benefits to being a woman of colour in a space that is typically dominated by white males.
Karen highlighted the responsibility we all have as black women, a responsibility we did not all choose. Black women understand the obstacles that we face in order to get into certain professions. So it makes sense that it is with the help of other black women who have that understanding to use their position to bring another black or brown woman into the work place. It's the lack of understanding that causes difficulties in the work place when working with non-black people. Without understanding it's easy to dismiss someone, whereas as a black person you can understand and relate.
When the ladies were asked if there was more diversity in their workplaces now, it was interesting to hear that the difference hasn't been huge. However this is due to the areas the women are in. Generally there tends to be more women in certain spaces, but still very little black women.
I was relieved to hear Nike Faloyan say that a personal life and work balance is unrealistic, in terms of it being completely 50/50. Sometimes work demands more time than the home does and visa versa. I sometimes wonder how any man can slip into my current scatty lifestyle. I would like to think that my life would have more structure and routine by the time anyone comes into my life.
Bake Off Legand
"I'm rooting for everyone black" - Yup, that's the exact words to explain what goes through my head whenever I'm watching something. It was no different with The Great British Bake Off. I remember watching Season 7 excited to see two black bakers. I just love seeing black on my TV screen doing what they love with so much passion.
Benjamina gave us all a little insight into the food industry as a black woman. It was interesting to hear that people will have ideas for your brand and your next steps, without really considering what it is that you want to do.
Benjamina's story just confirmed how important it is to know what you want. It's easy to get lost in all the opportunities, but you have to remember your why. Why are you doing what you do? That answer is the motivation that keeps you going.
|Cocktails were so good!!|
Ifeyinwa, the co-owner of Chukus London's first Nigerian Tapas restaurant. She gave an empowering and important talk on mental health and being an entrepreneur.
Ifeyinwa had five main focus points. The one point that stood out to me was - "Exercise. Exercise out of love for your body, not hate for who you are". Sometimes it takes for someone else to say something important in order for it to stick. Ifeyinwa affirmed the significance of self love. Doing anything out of hate is destructive, even those things that are positive.
Exercise whether it's my mind or body is necessary, I know the importance of it. However I still find myself talking myself out of doing just that.
Ifeyinwa talk was powerful and effective. It gave me a lot to think about, the way I practise self love is constantly changing. The one thing I have tried to be consistent with is paying attention to the good and speaking on it.
Some Kind of Superstar
Jamelia, the Queen herself gave me all the feels with her talk. Highlighting the need for Black Ballad and safe spaces for black women. She had the whole room nodding and agreeing to her every word. She spoke with such passion, she's goals.
Find Your Why
Jamelia has been very vocal about race, and it got me thinking... Where are the other Black British Women? The lack of representation of black women is one of the many reasons why women like Jamelia, Diane Abbott and Munroe get so much stick in the media. If there were more black women in the public eye, then there would be more voices, which in turn would shut down the notion that black women are just angry.
The birth of Jamelia's daughters and the realisation that a change is needed, was Jamelia's why.
Pregnant With Ideas
Jamelia shared the intimate details of her pregnancy, which led to the point where she said "everyone in this room is pregnant". I was just as confused as everyone else in the room, we had only just met Jamelia and she was already wishing a whole pregnancy upon us.
Once everyone had realised that it was all a false alarm, Jamelia revealed that we were all pregnant with ideas. Focusing on keeping our ideas alive and well, in order to give birth to our beautiful healthy ideas; a new business venture maybe.
There were two stalls; Dorcas Creates & ONUA
I have been meaning to get some prints from Dorcas Creates for ages. I finally got a few prints and wrapping paper. I don't even want to use the wrapping paper it's too pretty.
I also bought two coasters from ONUA. Again I don't want to place my common tea on these beauties.
I can't wait to attend more Black Ballad events. They are so well organised and I really appreciate the thought that goes into the events that Black Ballad run. I was a proud member before, but after seeing the numbers and what our memberships have contributed makes me feel even more horned to be part of such a great organisation. I will always support those who support black women. Honestly the work Black Ballad put it in is amazing.
A perfect end to my Black History Month series. I will be speaking about this series, Black Girl Festival and Youtube Black in my October post. Thank you to everyone who has be following the series and sharing my work. The support has been humbling, I wasn't ready for all the love.
Black History Month may be over but Black Excellence never ends so continue to shine bright Kings & Queens!
All the posts featured in my BHM series; #BHMWithSaabirah
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Email me: Saabirahlawrencexo@gmail.com