Five months ago I received an email about a book called Slay In Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene and two things struck me. The first, was that despite the book being labelled the “Black Girl Bible”, it wasn’t a black woman bringing it to my attention. It gave me hope that maybe conversations about race and privilege are finally happening in more than the homes of those at a disadvantage. This is something I deem necessary. The second thing was that this is a book that I didn’t know I needed. I am not one for self-help or advice books, and it occurred to me for the first time, that I don’t see myself represented in these type of books..
Since then, I have watched the book gain nothing but positive momentum and made a note to grab myself a copy! On the 24th of July, I attended their talk on the book at Impact Hub Birmingham, where I was inspired by their journey into the publishing world. Here are some nuggets of wisdom from the women themselves, and ways to use them to drive your own success.
“A call about a bad day at work turned into a business plan.” – Adegoke
It is so easy to have a moan as a means of release from the stresses of life, but change is more productive in the long run. It’s all good moaning about it but what can you do about it? When these friends were having a moan about the stresses of work they decided that something needed to be done about it. With Adegoke’s journalist know how and Uviebinene’s business mind they used the skills they have and thus Slay In Your Lane was born. Now, women across the UK are reading about shared experiences, which once made them feel isolated.
“Diversity may fall out of fashion, but Black women will never fall off the face of the earth.” – Adegoke.
It’s no secret that diversity is trendy at the moment, and I know that this can cause conflict for marginalised people seeking success in any given field. We can often wonder, “Was I hired because I’m good or because they needed to hit their diversity quota?” The reality is that yes, sometimes the only reason we’re chosen is because it looks good on paper, and it can be disheartening, but here’s the thing, tokenism doesn’t devalue your work. Uviebinene and Adegoke, do not deny that the success of the book is due in part to the current trends, but also stand by the fact that the book would’ve have been equally necessary if they had pitched it 5 or 10 years ago. It’s up to you to make the most of opportunities regardless of the reasons people are offering them.
“We want it to be a relic, not something that is still needed.” – Adegoke
“We’re writing to empower not demoralise.” – Uviebinene
Never lose focus. I think it’s easy to lose focus when you are measuring your success by markers that other people have set for you. When these women set out to write the book, the ultimate aim was that in highlighting the issues covered in the book they can start conversations that prompt social change. So, when a member of the audience asked whether they wanted their books to still be as important in years to come, their answer was no. If their work does what they want it to do, then the book itself should become defunct. These women are now in a position where people are coming to them with proposals for the future of the book, which do not have anything to do with sustaining the sale of the book for years to come. Remember, sometimes your end result will look completely different from what you had imagined because success is a journey. There is more than one way to reach the same destination.
I left the event feeling inspired and pleasantly surprised by these women’s journey and potential. I was taken aback by how much this audience resembled me, my friends and family and, for a few hours I experienced what I hope is the future for Black British women in the safe space that this book created. The book is now available at all good book stores, so get your hands on it for more brilliant and inspirational advice from influential Black British women!
Written by Amara Lawrence