Slay in Your Lane authors: 'We wanted to reflect everything black women can be' | Fresh Voices

Elizabeth Luther banana and yummy ad ago Keys recent book slaying your lane aims to shed a light on the experience of black women in Britain labeled as the black girls Bible the book aims to give advice through interviews with a successful black women about how to navigate everything from relationships to professional life I went to speak to them about how they came to write it and what the process has meant for them thank you so much for coming to talk to me about your books lay in your lane you've had quite an amazing year off the back of this book you've been nominated for awards you're in Nigeria last week at a Book Festival how are you guys feeling we just haven't I don't think we've sat down like processed anything but it's been so back-to-back they're like notice the real things have happened that it's like one minute you're at city hall with Sadiq Khan being like and he's holding up the book going this is so important the next minute you're the maryclaire Awards the next minute like Nigeria at Google like doing an event so we haven't like sat down and processed anything so yeah I think we just need like a month to sleep and then like talk about what's been going on yeah what happens next yeah exactly so could you talk to me a bit about the process of writing the book and also a bit about the women who you interviewed how did you decide who you're going to go to him to talk about being a black woman oh so when we I guess had initial idea um one of the key reasons why we wanted to kind of speak to different types of women or speak to the women full-stop was because we didn't essentially have the answers like we were Mike 21/22 we came up the idea it was important for the kind of like make sure that we've got different types of women as well to make sure that we reflect the different versions of what black women can be um so we're from different industries and different backgrounds and growing up had different role models so I think when we see when we first sat down we had like a long list of different Mike almost like 200 women that we kind of pulled together a sigh oh my god we should interview these type of women I think if we're going to ever call it the black or Bible we I think was important for us to kind of make sure that we went above and beyond to kind of like show the different ranges of black women in this country doing obviously amazing things the thing I kind of took from this book was it was very British and black British women being focused on it was it's not something that happens a lot but were there any women in particular who you were particularly excited to interview or who you know you met and you were a bit starstruck by I mean you've got this Sean Bean really there's I heard Clara ANFO was only favorites that you had in terms of like people that I guess from when I was growing up that like really kind of maybe even late to me like shaped basically I've got to where I am so people like Mallory Backman like I remember when I saw that book pick up way that she wrote and I remember reading it and being so like blown away by the fact that it was about this like black boy who wanted to like open his heart I call it trying to pawn or something and it was like they used to pick up but I was like waiting for the like you know how the story line like became about race and how it kind of became this like racism like sort of allegory or whatever and it just never came and I remember being like wow so you can write stories about black people but don't you know they're not about slavery they're not about colored like colonialism little about like you know police brutality or racism it's just about like their lives like just going about their day to day kind of thing so meeting her and just being able to kind of relay that like weird anecdote about how much that made meant to me to her like really was like amazing on the front of stay in your lane it says the black girl Bible right and you dress so many things in it from work to dating what for you is your favorite chapter your favorite kind of section where you wrote about any thought like this is really what I want to sink my teeth into um I think for me it was definitely the dating chapter I knew they'd be really sort of controversial topics and things that like yeah I only generally felt comfortable speaking words people like Elizabeth because I knew I wouldn't essentially be dragged well I think like writing about it and being able to kind of like so I guess that a lot of the things that black women felt when there weren't apps like tinder ass off wasn't because they were like crazy it's backed up by like statistical data it's backed up by like census data it's just kind of showing that like you know I think it was Patricia Hill Collins that spoke about the idea of the other ring of black women so like for blue eyes and like a big sort of slim nose and blond hair to be considered attractive you need somebody with like a big nose and like um dark eyes and my big hair to be considered like unattractive essentially all those kind of ideas which I think are really kind of difficult to speak about without feeling like I don't know bitter or like sounding bitter just being able to kind of give black women a space to talk about those things without feeling like they're ashamed or feel like they're gonna be like made so embarrassed about I guess wanting to be like desirable and stuff yeah so it's definite my favorite chapter but definitely like the most difficult to write I'd say when you're writing stuff like this you've kind of find it difficult to be putting down personal examples did you feel like a little bit exposed in doing that or did you find that a liberating thing to do I'm our agent when we first have a manuscript initial criticism was that oh it's good but it's a bit dry so she was like what dry like so offended by but then she definitely on a point because um we worked completely like we don't want this to be about us at all you want this to be about the amazing women we've interviewed we're just like you know a conduit to their stories like we don't want it to focus on us but then when we did start trying to make it less dry and putting ourselves into it it got better but then it got way more personal so yeah definitely like it's liberating because you feel like you know one person can read your story and feel like it resonates with them and form powered by that and that they're that kind of empowers you as well and when you know the validation are the women apart from it's been amazing and then it definitely does make you feel a bit more like wow you know people actually know about things that happen like I don't know when I was in year six movies like suppressed memories of like we had racist incidents like completely gone about at the moment in the past year they've been several books has been a for her she wrote British and then there's a venire do Lodge why I'm no longer talking to white people are raised we've got this gal damn the Garden magazine has been doing a lot so there's been a lot more visibility of black women talking about identity and problems that they've caught what are the main issues that you think haven't really fully been addressed the progress that still needs to be made for black women yes diversity is and I think it's really important to go out for face slowly increasing increasing because the changes are very visible yes it may be easier in terms of like employability and getting your foot through the door but I think what the conversation is now is behind that door what lies there are you actually being like a valued member of staff are you some are you in a position that means you can actually effect real change because when it comes down to it you look at the breakdown of the people that are on top and it's all the exact same people I think yeah I think structurally we are not where we need to be um as much as diversity and things looking representative is it looks a lot better and is increasing there is no point you know looking amazing on the outside and you know fall into bits on the inside and I think that's how I feel especially working from the city and seeing that background and experiencing you know work in Canary Wharf and looking at and one of the reasons why I pitched the idea of this book to me is because I looked at my boss he was wired look to his boss he was wild over his boss he was why and it just was like I wasn't sure exactly where I would essentially fit in in this with this environment allow me to thrive so what is it that you want to move onto afterwards with all of the stuff you've learned I think I've always had a plan in terms of like since I was you know in college and you do this and you do a levels and you're go to university and you get all the grad job and you get past the grad job you get your first promotion so I feel like it's the first time in my life that I essentially don't have a plan or that plan is actually changed and obviously it's it's amazing that being able to change in such a wonderful way but I would be lying to say that I know exactly what I want to do next I think that's what has been really great about meeting all these amazing women what I need to do more is taking advice that we've essentially written this book in terms of version success and making sure that you know they're external to expectations of you know other people and really work out exactly what your version of success and what your version of good is what this book has really shown me essentially is like I can essentially do anything if I really really want to and that sounds like so like airy-fairy but I think ultimately and everyone has amazing talents is essentially giving opportunity to kind of showcase them

2 thoughts on “Slay in Your Lane authors: 'We wanted to reflect everything black women can be' | Fresh Voices

  1. Imagine a book about what it means to be a white, Male londoner. Their would be outrage 😂

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