Inspiring Q&A session with ‘Slay in your lane’ authors
Wednesday 17 October saw a fascinating lunchtime question and answer session with Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, authors of ‘Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible‘, led by a panel of our sixth form students. It brought together pupils from across the school, of many different backgrounds, to discuss not only the process of producing the book but also the topic of prejudice and discrimination faced by black women, as told by the two south London born authors and the thirty nine trailblazing women interviewed for the book.
The book contains a rich mix of voices and is the first of its kind, which added a layer of pressure to ensure that it was not merely stereotypical anecdotes but filled with statistics and historical facts to validate the experiences of black women. They are passionate in their conviction that the book is for everyone, even though it is written about, and by, black women – it is key for other members of society to read about their experiences in an attempt to understand more than simply their own lived experience, especially decision-makers in positions of power.
Yomi and Elizabeth state that their book is designed to educate and empower rather than to depress with the sometimes startling statistics listed. They were adamant that it should start the conversation, rather than be a full stop, and allow other BAME voices to be able to share their experiences – especially as these are often different, sometimes opposite, to their own. They explained how hard it was to produce the book, whilst working full time, versus the high of being interviewed on television and in magazines once the book was finally published. They spoke about the challenges of initiating conversations with their list of inspirational women and how they took every opportunity to approach the women with whom they wanted to collaborate – from direct messaging on instagram to finding Diane Abbott MP in Parliament and June Sarpong at Afro Hair & Beauty Live. It was important to them to be authentic and tell their own story and they feel very fortunate that they were able to select a publisher who allowed this, without compromising their vision, and let them be hands-on even down to the cover and internal photoshoot.
The discussions over representations of black women in the media and how to respond to racism or microaggressions could have continued all afternoon but the session had to draw to a close. The authors signed dozens of books and we are sure that every girl will enjoy reading this powerful book of rare insights and destigmatisation.
Slay In Your Lane is available from all good bookstores.