How Can Brands Move Forward From #blackouttuesday and Avoid Hollow Instagram Posts?

On Tuesday 2nd June, big players in the music industry such as Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, along with other major labels and artists reacted to the unjust death of American civilian George Floyd by participating with the #theshowmustbepaused movement. The movement forced music brands to disrupt their services on Tuesday to take a moment of reflection and hopefully pave way for more actionable change within people’s mindset as well as business practices. It’s important to highlights that this isnt the first time even this year, with further investigations needed to Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery

It didn’t just stop with the music industry.  We saw brands such as L’Oreal make post in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement. Their past actions, however, show very little genuine action and have shown the exact internal issues within their company that the movement is trying to address. In 2017, transsexual model Munroe Bergdorf spoke out against racism in Charlottesville through facebook, only later to find out she was being fired because of her support (read the full story here).  It’s incidents like this, which made me question the gravity behind every brand who seemingly have shown support through Instagram and jumped on the trend without considering what is happening in their own companies.

It’s not enough to make hollow Instagram posts without actively taking steps towards an inclusive environment within your business, which reflect your audience and employees. That can come from two things; educating yourself on issues of race and discrimination and application of that understanding towards action.  Employees are the engine of your company and it’s important that your audience attitudes are reflected through your employees. Secondly, action towards applying that understanding is not just employing BAME people to fulfill a quota, but working with a recruitment network who cater for that and will be able to give you advice on how to nurture those employees.

The list below is by no means exhaustive, but provides some BAME recruitment networks you can work with to put that post into action:

  • Socialfixt – Led my digital marketeer, Mercedes Benson, who has been using her experiences in major corporations and the music industry to connect the BAME community to job opportunities and knowledge of how to maneuver within the workplace. Contact
  • BYP Network – Founded by Kike Oniwinde is a platform that connects black professionals with each other & corporations. We have over 40,000 members & work with organisations to help place candidates. We have worked with the likes of Accenture. Contact
  • The Other Box – Founded by Leyya and Roshni, is an organisation focused on empowering and educating people to work and live more inclusively. Supporting a community of nearly 3,000, the pair have worked to host training and workshops for employees, as well as, partnering with brands. Contact
  • WeAreStripes – Founded by Nene Parsotam, Akuna Davis, Hayden Corridus, the three working in partnership to offer brands to offer three core services, from consultation, event planning and public speaking and recruitment. Their focus is to work with brands to create a more inclusive environment. In addition to their services for brands, they operate a training mentorship scheme. Contact – info@wearestripes.org.uk
  • Women Connect – Women Connect are a female forward collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women and non- binary folk in the creative industry. The collective was birthed from a place of passion and the undeniable need for women in the creative industry to come together organically. Contact
  • WCAN – Made up of a team of 12 experienced black women, WCAN are a young social enterprise dedicated to the personal and professional development of black women. With support  of corporate sponsors, they have been able to create a marketplace offering diverse talent for the largest global firms and offering services to our members including mentorship, CV / Cover Letter / Interview training and support. Contact
  • YSYS – Founded by Deborah Okenla, YSYS is a start up tech recruitment company aimed at connecting people from diverse backgrounds to opportunities in tech. Since 2017, we’ve helped over 10,000 diverse people to advance in tech, and we’re just getting started. Contact
  • Hustle Crew – Founded by Abadesi Osunsade, the author of ‘Hustle Hard, Dream Big’. Abadesi book offers readers insight on how to navigate and succeed in the world of tech. With her community of BAME people, her website offers tech companies to post opportunities. The page allows tech companies to post job opportunities as well as, job seekers to gain insight from her tech focused podcast and content. Contact

This list of BAME recruitment networks services operating in the UK which are open to working with corporations who trying to create a more inclusive environment in the workplace. This list is by no means complete! Please share and add to the list in the comments. 

If you feel strongly about the unjust event leading to George Floyd, you can help by supporting the Minnesota Freedom Fund, who are providing legal aid to those being prosecuted for exercising their right to protest. In addition you can learn more about the senseless killing of Breonna Taylor here and ways you can help her cause.

Author: Kofi Yeboah

I'm a Music & Culture Journalist, and DJ from London. I worked in radio, events promotions, and content production. .

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