The underrepresentation​ of black women in the UK media Exhibit A: GlamourMag YouTuber awards 2017

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Looking at the 2017 UK Glamour magazine bloggers nominees what do you notice about the list?

They are all incredible YouTubers. They are all UK bloggers. They all have a strong fan base and something unique about their blog. They all have beauty, fashion and lifestyle channels. I personally follow most of them for years and love them. They are all incredibly talented. They are also all white British middle-class white women.

I only really noticed the lack of diversity when Laura Jane Williams, blogger and writer for Grazia and Marie Claire mentioned it on twitter that none of the nominees were women of colour (including eastern Asians, western Asians, native Americans, etc) disabled or members of the LGBT community.

Glamour selected a list of YouTubers that even though talented don’t have nearly as much following as other black British YouTubers that are veterans in this business, with the same kind of content

Let’s look at the list of nominees one by one and their Youtuber subscribers

Carly Rowena– 333K

Lily Pebbles– 379K

Louise Pentland- Sprinkle of glitter  – 2, 586,819

Pixiwoo – 2,095,054

The Anna Edit– 405K

Zoella – 11,556,616

Estée Lalonde  – 1,176,939

Lisa Potter-Dixon– 9k

Olivia Purvis– 37K

Tanya burr – 3,658,059

Victoria Magrath- In the Frow – 542k

As you can see we have the powerhouses name’s Zoella, Tanya Burr and Louise Pentland that are incredibly nice, talented and successful but then we also have up and coming YouTubers such as Lisa Potter-Dixon and Olivia Purvis one with 9k and other with 37K subscribers.

I mentioned the number of subscribers that they have not necessarily because the numbers of subscribers equal talent. They are all worth it in their own right. I mention the number of subscribers to make a statement that even someone with 9k or 37k makes headline other British black bloggers just didn’t make the cut.

Bloggers such as Patricia Bright that has more than 1 million followers, was featured in2016 on Youtube’s top 18 creators and is a brand ambassador for L’oreal and Samantha Maria with over 1,800,000 followers are both missing from this list.

These two bloggers deserve to be on this list not just because they are both black  successful bloggers but because of their talent, their consistency over the years ( I have watched both of them on and off since my uni days, for touching issues such as body and mind positivity, domestic violence, mental health, their dedication even after having children and still creating content and for making into more than 1 million in an industry that is difficult for black bloggers to reach that number.

The list was a selection by the Glamour panel and there is also a section called Other for the viewers to choose their favourite bloggers. However, I wonder why more black bloggers are not headliners.

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“other” does feel like “Other”. Feels like the women that are underrepresented in this category, that nominating women of colour, LGBT and disabled is just an option.

Reminds me of a Segment of the TV series Scandal where Olivia Pope is arguing with her Dad, rowan Pope because she runs into trouble again and he reminds her that to be considered good and have a seat at the table “you have to be twice as good as them to have half of what they have“. Any black person in this world, can relate to that segment. THEM, being white middle-class people.

It is known that Black bloggers from any country struggle more to reach the 1 million mark, Jackie Ania one of the most famous American black bloggers is just over 1,200,000 subscribers. So surely the fact that these bloggers reached over 1 million is reason enough to recognise their talent and make them headliners.

After watching youtube videos for years and speaking to countless women that also watch the same youtube videos, I believe that one of the reasons why black bloggers don’t reach the same amount of subscribers and success is because black bloggers don’t cross over as easily.

Not many white viewers will watch black beauty bloggers because it doesn’t relate to them, it doesn’t affect them but many black viewers will watch both white and non-white bloggers regardless if their beauty tips, for example, doesn’t apply to them.

Countless times I watched makeup videos from white beauty bloggers recommending a foundation, lipstick or highlighter even though I know for certain, that they don’t do that foundation in my shade or any darker skin (Bourjois) and that highlighter will simply not suit me. I still watch because is fun, its entertainment and some beauty bloggers like Tanya Burr are just incredibly nice.

I believe that the main reason why Patricia Bright and Samantha Maria did not make the main list was simply because they are not part of Glamour’s collective mind. If something is not part of your day to day life and it does not affect you, simply you wouldn’t know.

If it is not part of their collective mind, it is not part of their reality. Members of the LGBT community and disabled YouTubers that are also nowhere to be seen in this headline list.

Growing up I always thought that the Glamour magazine awards were about celebrating women’s achievement and successes in different fields including business, sports, music.

The issue still remains that the media is not as diverse and tends not to look outside of their own bubble if it is not forced to, like in the #oscarssowhite 20016 scandal where none of the nominees in all of the categories where people of colour.

How do we change this? How do we make British awards more diverse?

  1. We could start by making sure that any award panel has a diverse judge and is represented by people from all walks of life. if you only have white people on the panel you only have white nominees, simply because they might not be aware of what else is out there, because it is simply not part of their reality
  2. we could follow the example of the BAFTA  and BFI that now as part of their requirements  for future awards starting in 2019  they will have to

In order to meet the standards, productions will need to demonstrate that they have worked to increase the representation of under-represented groups in two of the four following areas:

• On screen representation, themes and narratives
• Project leadership and creative practitioners
• Industry access and opportunities
• Opportunities for diversity in audience development.

BAFTA gave enough warning in advance so that all of the productions companies that would like to qualify for the 2019 awards, can start making changes and include a more diverse quota in their productions.

3. we could include more women of colour, LGBT and disabled across all media, so that diversity becomes a norm and not just a requirement to fulfil quotas.

Who is ready to make a change?

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