Yesterday was a busy day for me on social media. I was tagged many times in this article featured on The Pool exploring why women of colour feel excluded from the wedding industry and are turning to social media and away from traditional wedding magazines and websites.
There is an element of me that is elated when I see articles like this, the shared experience, the passion and desire not to be silenced and to not accept inequality as “the norm” and then there is a part of me that gets immensely frustrated, that these articles are still being written. About the myriad of comments on social media from people experiencing the same exclusion. It makes me sad so many people continue to feel excluded simply because they are not represented. Take the words in the article, rewind and put them into the very first blog post I wrote when I founded Nu Bride to bridge this gap on the 2nd January 2012, to this letter I wrote to the bridal industry two years later and this article on Huffington Post a few months ago. Although expressed differently, our experiences are almost identical. 5 years later I feel frustrated at the snail’s pace the industry is moving with diversity and inclusion.
Whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, the barriers are there. To some magazine editors and publishers black is still seen as ‘risk’. Suggesting that the mainstream media still feel the general public hold prejudice and will reject diversity. Some designers feel they have to use certain body shapes and skin tones to better their chances of getting featured in magazines. To some, that black or people of ethnic minorities are a minority so that means they should not ‘expect’ to be represented in the same way. That there should just be wedding publications for solely for black people. Well it’s 2017 – so why do we still have the mentality of segregating?
The article got me thinking… Nu Bride a platform dedicated solely to bridge this gap and encourage diversity and inclusion in weddings has been around for 5 years and as a professional platform for 3. So why has such little seemingly changed? If more awareness has been raised, which it has and don’t get me wrong there are definitely more businesses open to having conversations about diversifying their business and taking bold and consistent action to do so, but why are the majority, the big wigs still so slow at catching on?
I spoke candidly in one of my recent talks at unconvention London, on race representation in the wedding industry, even if brands and businesses do not care, or understand the humanitarian aspect around bias, stereotypes and exclusion, it makes NO business sense not to market to and present to a wider demographic of clients, beyond the one-dimensional view.
It’s been statistically proven, if your business is not diverse you are 35% more likely to be outperformed by your peers and that number is rising with the introduction of millennial couples who are our most diverse generation to date.
So with this being fact – with our society evolving, why is there still this reluctance to evolve and move forward?
Are we afraid of equality?
If so why? Because equality for one set of people, does not mean inequality for another, it means levelling the playing field.
Are we afraid of being politically incorrect. Causing offence?
Diversity in business was even spoken about at length at the Women of the World Festival this year. Frustrations around why we are still having conversations about diversity and why diversity is important.
It was a topical issue when I worked as a professional actress over a decade ago and it still is today. Why?
- Simply put because people are either genuinely not aware
- They don’t have the desire to make change or take intentional action
I’m doing more and more diversity consulting with media and brands this year, who recognise the importance of diversity in their business, but aren’t sure how to approach the issue sensitively and with cultural appropriation. If you want to up your game and be better educated about diversity and inclusion in wedding business, media and beyond, I look forward to having an open and honest conversation with you about how to be a leader, a progressive and inclusive business that is more representative of the people who live in the UK and readily want to engage with and buy your products and services.
Ready to up your game? http://novareid.com/services/consultancy/