The important message these five mums want us to know about Black History Month

The important message these five mums want us to know about Black History Month

Dope Black Mums was born out of the need to create digital safe spaces for black women, who also happen to be mothers.

Nina Malone, Carina White, Nana-Adwoa Mbeutcha, Endy McKay, and Natalie Duvall are all multi-hyphenates in their own right, and give voice to what it means to be a modern-day Black mother.

From their blog to their podcast, the Mums aren't hesitant to take on any subject, whether it be that of child loss, or what it means to be responsible for raising the next generation of black children.

Credit: Abi Oshodi

Four Nine spoke to Dope Black Mums about their experience of Black History Month this year...

Four Nine: What do you feel is different about Black History Month this October, following the death of George Floyd, and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement?

Carina White: ''I definitely think the content has increased, especially after the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"A lot of brands and organisations seem to have just realized that Black people exist, and that we've been experiencing these microaggressions and discrimination all along."

"I have noticed that brands and organisations have been putting in more effort into celebrating Black History Month, and what I have seen previously is that they tried to make Black History Month BAME History Month and wanted to include other ethnicities into the celebrations, and that in itself is quite discriminatory.

"It's called Black History Month for a reason - it's a celebration of Black History and black culture - and to try and hijack it and celebrate other ethnicities should not happen in October."

Credit: Abi Oshodi

"There has been a shift, whether it's lip-service or they actually want to do it, we'll see, but I've definitely seen a difference compared to last year.

Endy McKay: "I think the approach has been more thoughtful, but there's probably a bit of fear and anxiety as well."

Four Nine: Do you think Black people are being correctly compensated for the educational work they're doing in Black History Month?

Nana-Adwoa Mbeutcha: "It's a no-brainer. I don't understand why people would ask for someone to do a job and not pay them.

"Of course a discussion could be had, but especially if it takes time away from your family, the person in question should always be compensated."

Carina White: "What I hear all the time is 'Exposure'. I think a lot of organisations and brands need to value contributions."

Endy McKay: "It also depends whether the company views diversity and inclusion as an external add on or something that's intrinsic to their company practice and values. So if you were going to have a health and safety talk or something else that was considered essential, you'd budget for that.

"So if companies haven't budgeted for Black History Month, we need to look at the reason why."

Credit: Abi Oshodi

Carina White: "A lot of companies have recently been called out on social media by black talent and speakers because they've been asked to do stuff for say International women's day, but when it comes to Black History Month, there's no budget.

"It's unacceptable that there's not enough thought put into a month designed to celebrate black history, talent, and culture. Really, budgets should be allocated to Black History Month when companies go through their financial strategy at the beginning of the year."

Four Nine: What do you think about the programming during Black History Month? 

Nana-Adwoa Mbeutcha: "I would love to speak to a non-black person and see what they think of Black History Month, because when I see it play out on television, I do think there are great programmes and documentaries, but at the same time, it's a bit cringey that everyone's trying to do the most just because it's Black History Month."

Carina White: "There's an assumption that black people don't have jobs and can stay up all night to watch television programmes and documentaries during October.

"The time that they're putting out these programmes tends to be quite late at night. It seems like they're not putting enough thought into getting as many people as possible to watch these shows."

Endy McKay: "I don't think any other history just focuses on the most traumatic parts, there's so much more to Black history, and it's shown in a very limited way. It can massively affect children's self-esteem to just see slave ships and slave masters, and it worries me that that's all they're learning."

Credit: Abi Oshodi

Nana-Adwoa Mbeutcha: "As an African, I'd love to see more stuff about Africa during Black History Month. I struggle to find any positive programming - apart from wildlife - about the continent and its rich history."

"It is nice as Black people to enjoy some of the celebrations as well. I enjoy seeing certain bits and pieces on the TV or on social media, but I don't feel like it's aimed at me, I don't feel like the target audience as a Black person."

Four Nine: What's next for Dope Black Mums?

Nina Malone: "Being Black keeps us very busy in this day and age."

Endy McKay: Not to mention being mums and being dope as well [laughs]"

Carina White: "We don't want to be a trend, we still want to be doing the work we're doing, and speaking about things that need to be spoken about. We've been trying to amplify the voices of Black mothers, not since Black Lives Matter started, as Dope Black Mums we've been doing this for a year and a half now, and individually for years."

"We want to use our platform to raise awareness about issues that affect the Black community, and to affect change and improve positive outcomes for Black mothers."

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.