Black British Girlhood

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Art by Pearl Ivy
Some of BlkGrrrl’s favorite voices on the African Diaspora are from the United Kingdom. While their size compared to the white population in the UK is smaller than in the United States, their perspective offers a diverse look of the Black experience outside the continent of Africa. In many ways it seems that the Black British Grrrl experience is more diverse in the UK than in the US.

Today we’re looking at the summer London exhibit Black British Girlhood. The curator of the event is Bekke Popoola who in an article in IC3 magazine describes herself as, “Almost British, almost Nigerian.”  Popoola is a graphic artist who was born-and-raised in East London.

Bekke Popoola: What inspired the name of the exhibit Black British Girlhood?

#BlkGrrrl: It was inspired by a friend called Deborah aka DJ Pepper-Coast posting her diary on Tumblr from when she was 8-years-old. Sparked a lot of nostalgia and I came up with the name Black British Girlhood. Me, Olivia and Kariima curated an idea to become the exhibition that is now Black British Girlhood.

Bekke Popoola: Do you feel that there are voices missing in the Diaspora conversation?

#BlkGrrrl: I can say that we have diverse stories and that it’s up to us to share them.

Bekke Popoola: What is Black in the UK?
#BlkGrrrl:I think it’s different experience for the individual. It’s very culturally diverse.

Bekke Popoola: Do you feel as if Black girls are ignored in British culture?

Art by Samantha Almon
Art by Samantha Almon
#BlkGrrrl:Yes I do and I’m not surprised by it anymore.

Bekke Popoola: Are they ignored in British Black Culture?
#BlkGrrrl:There is a lot of male dominance. Black British Women, especially in music, are highly overlooked.

Bekke Popoola: What do people of the Diaspora call themselves in the UK i.e. Black, African, Afro British….?

#BlkGrrrl: I think it varies and depends on the person to be honest

Bekke Popoola: Why does Black British Girlhood need to be affirmed?
#BlkGrrrl: It needs to be affirmed, because Black British is not monolithic. It is something that sparks off something sustainable. Also to connect stories too.

What are the challenges of growing up a Black girl in the UK?
#BlkGrrrl: Feeling like I’m not part of here and racism and sexism, but I’m black where ever I go.

What do you hope to convey to the public with this exhibit?
#BlkGrrrl: I hope that people have connection with the artwork in show and connect with [the artists.]

The exhibit took place July 27-31 the summer  of 2015 at the Centre for Better Health in London.

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