The Grapevine, a YouTube channel that platforms black millennials, came across the pond to do an episode here in the UK - and Bootcamp graduate Ade Lamuye took part!
The United States always seems to dominate mainstream conversations about race, gender, and identity, even though we experience the same oppressions here in the UK. This means that again and again, Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people living in the UK struggle to find conversations and analysis that centre and connect with our experience.
This is why I was so excited when I heard that a YouTube channel that platforms black millennials called The Grapevine was coming across the pond to do an episode here in the UK. And better yet, that Bootcamp 10 graduate Ade Lamuye was going to take part.
‘The Grapevine gives a platform to black millennials where mainstream media fails to do so,’ Ade explained. ‘Each episode focuses on a trending topic that’s relevant to black people’s lives. This ranges from news stories about politics and wider society, to trending topics in black popular culture on social media.’
‘The conversation about colourism came about following the revelation that telivision presenter Maya James had shown prejudice against dark-skinned black women in a series of several tweets. Colourism is a constant struggle and nothing new to black women, so the Grapevine felt it was relevant to talk about it.’
Colourism: Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.
The episode starts with a group of black people in a studio. They have an honest conversation about colourism within the black community. Many of them talk about how they also perpetrated colourism in the past. They talk about their journey to realising that by doing this, we as black people can also strengthen white supremacy.
Working in the media, Ade knows all too well how damaging the lack of representation for minoritised groups can be, with the real voices of young black Britons cast aside, leaving a media landscape littered only with racist stereotypes. ‘The whole experience in itself was amazing,’ she told me. ‘I wanted to be involved to hear the different opinions within the black British community, and I got that!’
Ade says that the main barrier facing people trying to tackle colourism is the myth that it doesn’t exist – ‘that it is an issue black women created. [There is a] disconnect within the black community, between black women and black men, and between dark skin black women and dark skin black men.’
But what about people who recognise colourism and are now trying to talk about it within their communities and social circles? I asked Ade if she has any advice. ‘Speak out and call it out. This is an issue ingrained not only in the Black community, but in our history,’ she said. ‘Before we can even address it in white spaces, we need to address it and realise its existence and damage within the Black community.’
Watch the video below: