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Platforming Black voices beyond Black History Month

31 October 2022

by Benjah Pozi-Quansah

Creative and Production Manager for Social and Digital at Warner Bros. Discovery.

Article

Article

Benjah Pozi-Quansah - Creative and Production Manager for Social and Digital at Warner Bros. Discovery shares his tips for platforming Black voices beyond Black History Month.

October marks Black History Month in the UK, a time to reflect on the history, achievements, and contributions of Black people in Britain. Whilst it’s an important time to stop and reflect on Black history and celebrate Black culture, it’s vital that we platform Black perspectives beyond Black History Month. We believe that real commitment to strengthening marginalised voices must be sustained and strategic, so we asked Benjah Pozi-Quansah – Creative and Production Manager for Social and Digital at Warner Bros. Discovery – to share his tips for platforming Black voices beyond Black History Month.

  1. Be a real ally

As much as Black History Month is needed and it’s great to spotlight the Black experience, it’s also important to recognise that we’re Black all year round and being supportive of the Black community and understanding racial inequality should not just be taken seriously because it’s ‘trending’.

Do you have any internal Black groups or societies set up within your organisation? If so, lean on them for sense checking and make sure that there is enough budget allocated to them for events that happen outside of October. If you don’t have these groups, then ask yourself why? Is it because you don’t have enough Black people in your organisation? If so, that needs to change.

Whatever your organisation does, think of some creative ways to really help create change. Partnering with multicultural industry specific organisations to set up schemes aimed to benefit Black people could be a route. Do what you can to promote Black people’s successes, educate your staff about different identities and Black experiences and take action to create meaningful change.

  1. Celebrate uniqueness

When you’re a minority in a space, it can sometimes make you feel like the differences you have compared to the majority can set you apart negatively from your counterparts. Being Black and growing up in the UK without true representation of yourself in the mainstream media or in positions of power does something to you.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s easy to not want to celebrate your uniqueness within majority white spaces. Being Black can feel like it takes up a lot of energy; being followed by security in the supermarket, people clutching their bags as you walk past them, the fear of being judged by people because of your skin and family name or accent are things that we have to consider on a daily basis.

Black people may have different ways of expressing ourselves verbally. Regardless of your type of organisation, it’s important to realise that the best creativity comes from a multitude of different perspectives, so, you should be actively seeking insights from diverse viewpoints consistently to inform your content, whether this be from staff, volunteers, or supporters. All those aspects of the Black experience that are different to the majority should be looked at as enriching, insightful and fresh rather than an obstacle.

  1. Understand the role that privilege plays in recruitment

As a starting point for diverse comms and platforming Black voices, you need to make sure you are recruiting from multicultural backgrounds. As a Black person I’m so used to seeing that the people hiring me don’t look like me, I understand that this might be discouraging for certain Black people especially when applying for jobs.

I’ve often found that when I personally send out new job posts at Warner Bros. Discovery, we tend to get a lot more people of colour and especially from Black people. Unconscious Bias is something that Black people in the workplace have faced for most of their professional career. If organisations can actively try to hire more Black people and have more Black people in senior and communications roles it could play such a big role in encouraging more Black voices.

 

In 2022 Warner Bros. Discovery partnered with Media Trust to run Black Britain Unspoken, an exciting filmmaking initiative aimed at giving Black British storytellers, filmmakers, and creatives space to share perspectives and experiences of being Black and British. All three short films are now available for streaming on discovery+.

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