Volume 7: Access
By Marcia Degia
Oscar-winning actress Regina King is making history. Her directorial debut, One Night in Miami, became the first movie by a Black woman ever to be included at the prestigious Venice Film Festival and, at the time we go to press, is being widely tipped to scoop a coveted Best Picture nomination at this year’s Oscars.
Regina certainly deserves all the acclaim she’s receiving and it was fantastic to see her on countless magazine covers – until I came across the one with the word “Badass” splashed across her image. Badass? Our Hollywood queen, reduced to the tired trope of Black women that’s so often used in mainstream publications.
That being said, buzzwords like “diversity” and “inclusion” being ping-ponged against the walls of corporations and mainstream media are of course no bad thing. These days people of colour are finally getting some of the platform they deserve.
So where does that leave Black, Asian and ethnic minority media? When it comes to editorial content, it basically means doing what we’ve always done. Giving a voice to the unheard, maintaining our authenticity, not blindly jumping on a bandwagon to tick boxes or coldly gain sales, not employing those with the highest Instagram followers instead of seasoned journalists just to gain more clout. There is more to relating to our readers than merely sticking a Black or brown face on the cover.
KOL Social remains committed to promoting access for equal opportunity. As you probably know, KOL stands for key opinion leaders. But in this case it’s a nod to those of you in our communities who are modestly achieving great things, rather than a reference to society’s more visible industry leaders. Everyday people with a story to tell, such as amputee dancer Musa Motha (page 30), artist Emeka Ogboh and his fight to have stolen Nigerian artefacts returned (page 16) and historian Apeike Umolo’s quest to teach people to free themselves from a colonised mindset.
Another unsung hero is Voice4Change England, the advocacy for British BAME charities, which works tirelessly to campaign for a more civil society for all. This month’s V4CE supplement focuses on social investment and on how to make this revenue source more accessible for people of colour. Seasoned actor Adrian Lester, a founding member of the Impact X group, also talks about how he and his colleagues are helping start-ups, on page 60.
I’d like to think that we at KOL Social, and those who we platform, are making waves too. Just don’t call us Badass!
Publishing Editor: Marcia Degia