Media Diversified

Tackling the lack of diversity in UK media and the ubiquity of whiteness
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A Human Zoo For The ‘Post Racial’ 21st Century

Brett Bailey and the new white supremacy

by Simon Woolley

I guess it’s one way to get international fame, lauded by liberals, and thanked by Black actors for getting some miserly short term employment.

But in the real world for the vast majority of Black Britons, and other Africans on main land Europe -where this exhibition has been equally controversial- Brett Bailey’s human installation that mimics the nineteenth century Victorian ‘human zoo’, which exhibited Africans in cages, is but a modern day facet of white supremacy.

Back then the Victorians viewed Africans less than humans, and therefore put our ancestors in cages to prove it. Thousands came to ogle at the human ‘spectacle’ that fed into the European psyche that Africans had been fair game to have been enslaved or colonised, and controlled as they still were back then.

The new more subtle white supremist such as Brett Bailey will tell Black people and anyone who will listen that he’s on our side.

Speaking about his work he said:

'This exhibition is about humanity; about a system of dehumanization that affects everybody within society, regardless of skin colour, ethnic or cultural background, that scours the humanity from the ‘looker’ and the ‘looked at’.

Sign the petition asking the Barbican to withdraw the exhibition


Please keep the embassy phone lines clear and go to @RainbowNoirMCR for updates. Thank you

PLEASE SHARE THIS ON ALL YOUR NETWORKS. CALL, EMAIL, TWEET @UKinDRC & @ukhomeoffice on behalf of Christina Fonthes


Urgent - Please Spotlight:

I regret to tell you that Christina Fonthes - a dear friend and organiser of Rainbow Noir has been held against her will in The Congo - she was on a family holiday with her mother who has decided to have Christina ‘cured’ of her sexuality. 

Christina has managed to escape from her aunt’s house and is currently hiding out with a friend. She has access to internet and has been communicating with us via email. The next available flight is 2nd September - 5 days away! Chris needs help and protection from the British Embassy in Congo but her mother has reported her missing and therefore we need to get in contact with both the UK Home Office and UK embassy in Congo to let them know that she is in danger and that her mother is lying/the one endangering her life!!

PLEASE SHARE THIS ON ALL YOUR NETWORKS. CALL, EMAIL, TWEET the British embassy on behalf of Christina - the more we call, the more attention it will bring to her case and hopefully they will act quicker in getting Christina to a safe place. 



If you can help please contact @RainbowNoirMCR or @WritersofColour on twitter.

UK EMBASSY: 0871 050 5840


Please do your best to contact the British Embassy in DRC, RT using the hashtag #ChrisFontes, tweet at all the media outlets and amazing people you can find.

This is a personal plea too because I consider Christina a friend and someone I would trust with my life. She has been incredibly generous and supportive and a real inspiration, an example of how one can actively work to improve the lives of others. I have gained so much knowing her and wish I could be as passionate, open and clear sighted as I find her to be.

I am scared for her, not going to lie. I really pray this all turns out for the best but I am scared. This is the stuff of nightmares, being trapped in a hostile land when your own family have turned against you.

Please Holy Mother, St Aelred, St Mary Magdalene, St Joseph of Cupertino, St Teresa of Avila, holy martyrs and anyone out there who is willing to intercede, please intercede for my friend and her safe return and the reformation of her family. Amen.

(via biscuitnapper)

Browse the biographies of the nominees 

The Background
In September 2013 we were sent this article: 8 African-American Women Who Changed the World with the question “Which 8 women of colour do you think have changed the UK?” We posed the question to our social media followers and the #EightWomen awards were born.Thw awards are  one of those rare chances to celebrate women of colour in the UK and to spread awareness of the work they do..

The Awards
The #EightWomen with the most votes from the public will be revealed at the “Complicit No More” panel event, highlighting themes and challenges of black feminism and intersectionality on the 15th September at the Khalili Lecture Theatre (lower ground floor) School of Oriental and African Studies.

Click here for further information and to book your ticket, limited spaces available

To read about 2013’s nominees and winners click here

Your vote counts!



"Complicit No More"

A first of its kind anthology on feminism and intersectionality

Monday 15th Sept - 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Khalili Lecture Theatre (lower ground floor)

School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H 0XG

In creating a forum to discuss gendered racisms, ‘Complicit No More’ aims to encourage more generous and ‘conscientious’ feminist inspired dialogue.

Click here to book your ticket, limited spaces available
To obtain your ticket we ask for a donation of £4.00 or more. This will  include a “Complicit No More” e-book which will be emailed to you

The panel event chaired by Yasmin Gunaratnam with Minna Salami, Sunny SinghDésirée Wariaro and Sukhwant Dhaliwal will highlight themes and challenges for black feminism and intersectionality, tackling topics that have been framed by Eurocentrism but which are also a part of intra-oppressions: how we relate to ourselves, to each other and our communities.

Use the hashtag #ComplictNoMore on twitter to send in questions for the panellists before the event

The winners of the #EíghtWomen Awards for Women of Colour will be announced before the panel event


This event is brought to you by Media Diversified and Ain’t I A Woman collective

*Refreshments will be provided after the panel discussion

Trailer “I wasn’t always dressed like this”

The veil is an object that tends to instigate profound and diverse feelings. Its practice and meaning have been greatly abused throughout history. Within the context of the West the question one might ask: “In a free country, why are women choosing to veil?”

In a very intimate and meditative mode, three Muslim women reflect around issues of cultural memory, identity, self-censorship, feminism, politics and media. By appreciating the personal and experiential quality of veiling, this documentary is able to articulate critically and reflexively while challenging its popular perception.

Produced and Directed by: Betty Martins

Edited by: Elle Sillanpaa

Music By: Noura Sanatian



The Media Diversified team are taking a short site break over the summer to concentrate on building and launching the experts directory which, thanks to your support, we successfully fundraised for earlier this year. 

We’ll be back from the second week in September with lots more great content, but in the meantime we hope you’ll catch up on articles like Teaching English in China While Black and The Racial Pecking Order in British Theatre and TV. We will still be on twitter for debates, so hopefully you won’t miss us too much!

Calling experts and professionals!

The Media Diversified Directory is at the heart of our movement to change the face of the UK media landscape. We’re looking for great people working across a number of fields: are you a science researcher? a social care practitioner? a lawyer? If have had some media experience: whether in radio, TV, or on filmed panel debates then get in touch with us via this quick form. If your application is successful then you’ll be accessible to corporate members.

Please contact us at with any question

"Complicit No More": A Panel Discussion  

On the 15th September we are hosting* a panel event to further discuss the series "Complicit No More" a first of its kind anthology on feminism and intersectionality, tickets and event details will be released next week so check back here!
*In association with Ain’t I A Woman collective

Nominations for #EightWomen open now!

2 weeks ago we launched the 2014 #EightWomen awards for notable women of colour in the UK. Nominations are open until midnight on Friday, August 15. Bios will be available to read from then at

Voting will commence in the last week of August and the eight women with the most votes from the public will be announced at the “Complicit No More” panel event in September.

Have a great summer!

Africa Fashion Remixed

by Angela Inniss

As a fashion enthusiast, not even a long day at work or the rain was going to stop me from attending Europe’s biggest event for African fashion: Africa Fashion Week London! #AFWL.

AFWL provides a platform for established, and up and coming African/African inspired designers, models and industry entrepreneurs to showcase their work. For 3 days the Olympia London Exhibition Centre, Kensington played host to this major event, welcoming hundreds of press, media and fashion-conscious individuals.


“No, I meant where are you really from?” on being black and German


by Ella Achola

“No, I meant where are you really from?” is a micro-aggression I am all too familiar with when my simple answer of “Berlin” is perceived as insufficient to a query that blatantly illustrates how my brown self is read as out of reach of possible German citizenship. It is usually asked with a slight sense of exasperation, perhaps a hint of irritation, at the fact that I had oh-so-obviously not caught on to what I was really being asked. That I may not want to answer such a question within the first three minutes of a conversation with someone I have never met before does not come to mind.

In 1986, May Ayim and Katharina Oguntoye engaged in a conversation that was long overdue. They opened up the debate about being black and German, two characteristics, which were and still are often read as inherently oppositional.[1] Be it a question about our fluency in the German language or someone yelling “N****rs out!” micro-aggressions and racism are still very much reality for the 500,000 black Germans today. One example involves a pub in the Berlin borough of Kreuzberg where the owner recently banned all black people from his premises in a supposed effort to curb the dealing of drugs.

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SketchFactor App

SketchFactor App

by Zishad Lak

his year we saw SketchFactor, an app which rates the ‘sketchiness’ of a neighbourhood to help individuals avoid ‘undesirable’ areas, reach the finals of New York’s Big Apps competition. Unsurprisingly, when we start to unpack what ‘sketchy’ actually means, the race implications become evident.
The 47-second preview of Obama’s interview with the New York Times took me to my first trip to a big American city, San Francisco, a few years back. The area where my hotel was situated was in ruins. My first observation was that this extremely poor neighbourhood seemed to be only populated by non-white residents, but eradicating racism is a long project, right? It is when I took a tour around the city the next day before my conference and saw the solid line (it is literally one linear road) that separates the neighbourhood I was staying at from the financial district, occupied by white America, that I realised this is not America fighting its racist past, this is the complete reign of white supremacy.

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The Rules of Sapology


by Angela Inniss

Bold, Bright and Brilliant; just a few words to describe the stunning prints and fabrics used in creating Congolese fashion.

Unlike Western trends, Congolese styles are created to stand out from the crowd, making use of both vibrant hues and striking prints, reflecting African culture.

Traditionally,Congolese clothing is centred on the wearing of colourful materials referred to as ‘Liputa’. These types of fabrics are worn by both men and women, and can more often than not be found at the local market.  They are usually cut into strips from two to six yards in length, and to complete the look are typically worn with a complementing headscarf.

‘Liputa’ are sometimes also designed for different purposes, and aimed at certain audiences, for example paying tribute to a leader, marking a special occasion or at a sporting event.


Moving away from the wearing of the more traditional Liputa, the 1970’s witnessed a new sub-culture emerging on the streets of Kinshasa known as ‘Les Sapeurs’. ‘Les Sapeurs’ or ‘Sapologists’ refer to a group of dapper looking Congolese gentlemen who dedicate their time and money to dressing strikingly, yet elegantly well.

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“That’s how we troll” The Great Marvel Diversity Backlash

By Yomi Adegoke

The comic book Gods have been doing some serious redecorating this year. After colouring an entirely alabaster comic book canvas with a mixed race Spiderman and Muslim Ms. Marvel, they took it to new heights, administering makeovers even Gok Wan would gawp at. With a strike of lightning, roar of thunder and heaps of derision from brooding fans, out from the bellowing froth of character creation stormed a new Thor; a new Thor with a very new vagina.

And they didn’t stop there. Out of the same comic primordial goop sprung the formerly known Falcon as a black Captain America.

he Internet trolls cracked their fingers.

“Why mess with already established characters?” Red-faced pseudo fans huffed.

But surely even the most oblivious of comic book enthusiasts must know that aside from a penchant for wearing undies outside of outfits, superheroes love a good ol’ switcheroo. The Turk to the Captain’s JD, Falcon was the most logical choice for the next wielder of the star spangled shield, so why have these alleged superhero super-fans taken such offense?

“Well, because what’s next?” They cried in droves, “A transgender, Muslim, wheelchair-bound Hulk?”

Well, why not? If Hulk’s going to be that angry, I can’t see anything better to rile him up than the everyday microaggresions Muslims, transgender and disabled people face on a daily basis.

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6 reasons why Africa need not care what the world thinks


by Atane Ofiaja

Earlier this year, an African magazine reached out to me for some input on a forthcoming article about African creatives (writers, artists, photographers, clothing designers, poets). The editor asked me a few questions regarding what Africans should do to change the perception of Africa to outsiders and what Africans have to offer. Basically, how should Africans promote Africa as having rich cultures, and how do we as Africans show that Africa is not just a continent of poverty in order to change the perceptions of outsiders?

Mindsets like this are fairly common and I find it disappointing. I know they mean well, but this is the wrong mindset to have in my opinion. Here’s why:

1. Africans shouldn’t bother themselves with trying to change the perceptions of outsiders. It isn’t our job. Should erasing the ignorant opinions of non-Africans be an African’s burden? We’re expected to be lecturers to the world in order to be viewed decently. You’d never hear a Western creative bothering with changing the perceptions of Africans towards them. It’s not something they have to consider, yet some think it’s completely normal for Africans to be saddled with the baggage of reforming those who are ignorant towards Africa and Africans. An earnest and objective person will recognize the multifaceted nature of societies. People that refuse to recognize this about the continent of Africa and its people are not worth your time. Your time is valuable.

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There’s a mosquito net maker in Africa. He manufactures around 500 nets a week. He employs ten people, who (as with many African countries) each have to support upwards of fifteen relatives. However hard they work, they can’t make enough nets to combat malaria-carrying mosquito.
Enter vociferous Hollywood movie star who rallies the masses, and goads Western governments to collect and send 100,000 mosquito nets to the afflicted region, at a cost of a million dollars. The nets arrive, the nets are distributed, and the ‘good deed’ is done.
With the market flooded with foreign nets, however, our mosquito net maker is promptly put out of business. His ten workers can no longer support their 150 dependents (who are now forced to depend on handouts), and one mustn’t forget that in a maximum of five years the majority of the imported nets will be torn, damaged and of no further use.
This is the micro-marco paradox…
Dambisa Moyo, and excerpt from Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (via seetheworldanew)