This is a blog post that is both glorious and uncomfortable to write at the same time.
Earlier in the year a wonderful lady approached me about coaching. She had a business idea that was close to her heart and had an incredible story and social mission behind it.
The year before, her daughter had come home from school and was visibly upset. She wanted to know why her hair wasn’t straight and blonde like the other little girls in school. As a teacher, Charlotte had seen this issue time and time again and she wanted to not only bring attention to this issue…but also scratch her entrepreneurial itch at the same time.
Feeling overwhelmed and lacking in confidence, she reached out to me.
Of course I was over the moon and eager to work with Charlotte. Coaching women who have a socially-conscious or mission-driven business idea is my jam, but I also had a conflict.
As one half of a mixed-race couple, my awareness around black issues has grown but of course it is extremely limited. I wanted to get behind this incredibly important topic whilst also respecting those involved and acknowledging that I had no personal experience with it.
However, I did reach to my experience as a woman. As women, we are grossly under-represented and mis-represented. However, for black and minority women it is so much worse.
Tomorrow, as you go about your day, notice who you see represented in the media. On billboards, advertisements, magazines, television etc. Predominantly it’s the white man of course, but for women…only the slim, blonde, young woman seems to be acceptable.
Representation matters. As children we are exposed to millions of images that play a part in how we see and interpret the world. As a young black girl, when you are shown only images of white women, it builds a negative and destructive narrative within your mind. The princesses, successful women, women with boyfriends, women with happy lives…if all these women are white…then that means those stories aren’t for you.
I speak of misrepresentation because all over the media the black woman is portrayed in a negative light. The cleaner, the prostitute, the criminal. So if those are your role models, it makes fighting for a brighter future that much more difficult.
That is why Charlotte’s business and mission are so important.
Charlotte has developed a beautiful range of black dolls designed to empower young black and mixed race girls.
Each doll comes with an empowering message that teaches young girls their heritage (NB most young black and mixed race girls learn only of slavery when in fact they come from kings, queens & powerful empires).
The company aims to empower these girls to know that they can do anything they want to and to increase positive representation of black women to act as role models for these young girls.
It has been an absolute pleasure to coach and mentor Charlotte from the early stages of business development to her launch.
It’s so rewarding to see someone’s idea come to life in front of their eyes. I know that this business will change her and her daughter’s lives in so many positive ways.