Authors of Slay In Your Lane Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene Are Back With A New Book & Podcast.
Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene are the dynamic duo behind Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, an inspirational guide that gives the next generation of Black British women a voice and a sense of place and identity in this country. I had the opportunity to e-meet the girls whilst in quarantine. We spoke about the importance of positive representation and the release of their brand new book Loud Black Girls and podcast Slay In Your Lane: The Podcast.
Can you tell us a little about Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, how it came together and the aim of the book?
Elizabeth: Slay In Your Lane was essentially created to help Black women navigate all areas of their lives. At only 22 years old, we were having conversations about the workplace and found that it wasn’t a place where Black women were receiving enough information on how to navigate themselves. So, we decided to interview Black British women who were thriving in certain areas and asked them what it was to be a Black woman in those spaces and how to help towards representation.
The basis of our first book came from a place of exasperation. Knowing that there wasn’t enough tools for black women out there, we wanted to create something to fill that void. We knew there was a new dawn of black women and a generation of black girls coming through that needed to be inspired about what they could do with their lives.
In your first book Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, you featured a lot of successful Black British women. I often feel like in media and literature the Black female experience is incredible Americanised. But you decided to focus on the Black British Experience of Women. How come?
Yomi: I think for us it was important to speak specifically to the Black British experience because that is our experience and we wanted it to be as authentic and genuine as possible. There’s a real issue where we conflate the African-American experience to the Black British one, when it is quite distinct. There are so many amazing African-American women doing their thing but we wanted to find the British equivalents and represent the amazing Black British women who are doing phenomenal work but aren’t necessarily getting the credit that they deserve.
It’s been a few years since you released Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible. We are now living in more turbulent times than ever with Brexit and now Covid:19. In your upcoming book Loud Black Girls how do you address what is next for Black British women?
Elizabeth: We’ve been working on this book for a year now so it’s incredibly timely. When we were writing the book we were thinking of an Post-Brexit and Post-Trump world. We wanted to write about what was next for black women and what’s beautiful about the essays in Loud Black Girls is that you have the next generation of black writers who all come from different backgrounds. Some of them are journalists, poets and activists in the community. The book really highlights the amazing talent that exists in Black British women.
Why did you decide on the name Loud Black Girls for your upcoming book?
Yomi: So the name came about as a subversion of what is often used to silence black women. There are so many labels that black girls have to steer away from for fear of how it will be perceived. For us it was about turning it on its head and ending a term that has been weaponised against us. We also thought it was interesting that black women are often referred to as too loud when in reality, the world that we live in is often trying to silence us. And with this book, we amplify the voices of the women who have written in it and in turn hope to amplify the voices of the black women who read it.
In the black community, we are incredibly celebratory of excellence. Black excellence and black girl magic are statements that have been sprinkled all over Black media. Do you think there is a pressure for a black women to always be excellent?
Yomi: As we know black women have to work twice as hard to get as half as much, we all grew up hearing this and we have spoken about it extensively. There is definitely a pressure of perfection. There is a lot less room for risk taking and mistake making with us. The reason we feel this as black women is because more than most other groups, we’re penalised harsher for mistakes made, so mediocrity is not much of an option.
So because of social pressure, a lot of us feel we have to reach these incredibly high standards in order to be taken seriously. It’s also a pressure that we have taken upon ourselves and it is partly why Elizabeth and I wanted to start our own podcast because we wanted to make it clear that we are are still growing ourselves and we don’t have everything figured out. It’s also why we have interviewed so many women since our first book because we’re ALL still learning.
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