Tuesday, 8 April 2014


For one of my categories within the exhibition I wanted to use the propaganda technique of personal testimonials to empower black women. 

I decided to create a questionnaire to ask a range of women about their experiences as a black woman and some advice they could give to the future generation. I decided to go out into the public and ask some people that I know to get a range of ideas. From the questionaire I wanted to ask a multitude of women from different e

  1. Have you ever experienced prejudice as a women of colour, if so what did you experience? 
  2. Do you often compare yourselves to other women or felt unpretty as a black woman? 
  3. Do you have any black british female role models, if so who are they? 
  4. Do you feel like black british women are portrayed in the media enough? 
  5. What do you feel is the biggest thing you have achieved as a black woman? 
  6. What advice could you give to future generations of black women to empower them? 

I took down peoples ages, ethnicity and occupation to get a wide range of views and opinions for the content of my work.

Jade Stedford: Age 24 Race: mixed white and black caribbean Occupation: customer services advisor/boutique owner

1. To be honest i don't think i've ever experienced prejudice being a woman of colour, if anything i think being mixed race and having unusual features has helped me get noticed and made me stand out.

2. With the way social media has taken over everyones lives in recent years i think its hard not to compare yourself to other women when its in your face constantly, with this selfie game everyones in competition with each other for 'likes'. I have found myself comparing myself to other black women and feeling down about my looks but as i'm getting older its proving to be an irrelevance in my life theres bigger things to worry about. Theres always going to be someone prettier than you so i just get on with it.

3. A female black british role model would have to be Jourdan Dunn, she didn't let being a young mum stop her achieving her goals and thats something i can relate to.

4. I don't think black british women are portrayed in the media enough the focus is more on american black women.

6. I think as black women we're always going to have to fight that bit harder to get recognised for our talents and accomplishments but as long as you stay true to who you are and focus on what you want then your colour won't even come into the equation.

Ruby-Ann Patterson: Age: 21 Ethnicity: Black Jamaican british and White British Occupation: singer/songwriter

1. I used to during my younger years an awful lot due to the incredible influence of british young womens magazines. Now i only compare my experiences, my intellect and my morals with other black women.

2. Janelle monae, sister souljah and maya angelou are three black women i look up to, janelle is the only one of the who is british

3. I dont feel i am represented, being mixed race, i dont feel many women are at all black or not. Models tend to be hangers for clothes and i see why this is helpful from a sales perspective as curves can make clothes look different but the colour of your skin dosent change a fabric, how can it?

4. Not being enslaved by drugs and alcohol.being strong and determined always to look beyond what is thought of me and achieve regardless of stereotypes.

5. Dont read magazines, wear sunscreen, live for you through you and just be.

Leah Mennadie: Age: 22, Ethnicity: Jamaican and White, Occupation: Sales Associate at Victoria Secrets

1. yes. I remember walking through Leeds town and a guy shouted to me saying "you are fit, but it's a shame your not from Leeds seen as you black"

2. Not really, I do sometimes compare curly hair...lol

3. Jessica ennis is amazing.

4. I think black people could be portrayed more in the magazines and newspapers. I don't think you hear much about how well they do compared to other cultures.

5. My advice would be. Be yourself, don't feel uncomfortable with the colour of your skin just because other people may not like it. Embrace life just like anyone else in the world. Be proud of your colour, be proud of your background & be proud of who you are.

Mali Campbell: Age: 19, Ethnicity: Black Caribbean and White, Musician

1. Prejudice isn't something I've come across in my lifetime. I've always been accepted into friendship groups who are of different ethnic backgrounds and have never been discriminated against.

2. I am extremely proud of my nationality. Being of black and white ethnicity is just as beautiful as being any other race. As many women do, I do naturally compare myself to other women but I feel, very cliché, but every woman is beautiful in their own way and should feel blessed with what they have!

3. If I had to chose one, I would say Lianne La Havas. She is not only an extremely humble human being but an amazing singer/songwriter and this is hugely inspiring as I am also a singer/songwriter. She has done many photoshoots, gigs and videos with minimal make up and is not afraid to make mistakes on stage, which to me is really refreshing.

4. This is a tough question. I would say not as much in Britain, but across the world I would answer yes. I don't automatically focus on someones race when I see them in the media anyway personally.

6. Educate yourself on your history. It's not only interesting to know but inspiring also

Tina Beaumont:
Age: 49, Ethnicity: Black Caribbean. (Father: Barbados /Mother: Jamaican), Occupation:Team Manager

1. This is a difficult question to answer I have experienced direct and undeniable racism because of my colour but experiencing Prejudice because of my gender and the colour of my skin has been very subtle is hard to evidence.

2. As a woman i compare myself to other woman and of course there are areas I would love to change, but I have never felt unattractive because of my Colour!

3. Unfortunately not Black British!

4. No, hence my inability to refer to any

5. My Children are my biggest achievement, they are my inspiration, my courage, and make me the proud, positive and strong woman I need to be!

6. Except yourself for who you are, be proud of what you are……

Hazel Haze:
Age: 30, Ethnicity: Mixed race (Irish , Spanish , Jamaican, Ghanian) Occupation: Pyscologist and Sales Rep

1. Yes I experience a lot of it growing up as a child as I lived in stockport and there wasn't many black people. I would get called racist names and I even once got chased by a group of boys for being black

2. I used to feel unpretty growing up in a white area and in a family where the majority where white or light skinned

3. I like operah Winfrey as she is a strong black woman who has come from nothing an made history. I like Beyoncé as she made the media appreciate the black woman's thick physique and made it ok to have a big bum.

4. No I don't I don't think black women are what the media wants us to appreciate. And when they do that make them look like white woman by straightening their hair and thinning their noses . They don't embrace the beauty of a black woman

5. Probably being the first black girl in the northwest to win the northwest championships for gymnastics in the 90's

6. Erm be proud of who you are. There's no point in competing or comparing because every body has their own unique beauty and beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Georgina Williams: Age: 23, Ethnicity: Mixed black and White, Occupation: Student

1. No
2. Yes
3. Emile sande
4. No
5. Finishing college, getting a place at uni and working whilst being a mum
6. To try and be comfortable in the skin you are in

Heather Allen: Age:41, Ethnicity: Black American of African Decent, Occupation: English/TESOL Professor

1. As a 41 year old professional Black British Woman, I have experienced prejudice all my life. From primary school to college, from blue collar to corporate employment positions, to the college student I have taught in South Korea, I have experienced the ignorance of racism & prejudice. What makes it even worse, their opinions of black people didn't come from their own personal experience, but the derogatory false stereotypes portrayed on television & in movies.

2. When I was younger I was caught up in how beauty was defined by mass media, but as I grew older and matured, I felt more comfortable in my skin. My self esteem grew more and more as I sought out the beauty in the world and not on TV or in magazines. I love myself and know I'm beautiful as well as all the woman in this world that look like me!

3. I am inspired Dianne Abbott, she was the first black woman to get voted to work in parliament

4. Not often enough, and that is very sad! I know there are some amazing British Sisters out there that should be seen & heard by the world!!!

5. Living & working abroad as an English Professor has been my greatest achievement, as well as assisting in saving a village orphanage from closing down in Malawi.

6. Love yourself First & Best! Always fight for your rights! Never ever give up on your dreams!!!

Yasmin Mensah: Age: 20, Ethnicity: Black British, Events Management Student.

1.Not very obviously, but in some situations there can be a barrier/ prejudice.

2. Not so much anymore, But in our community we are unconsciously taught to discriminate by different shades of black. Lighter black women can be seen as more beautiful than dark skinned black women, this is widely represented in the media e.g. in music videos etc. The infamous Beyoncé for L’Oreal advertisement raised loads of eyebrows, as her skin appeared to be significantly lighter, this as a teenager was disheartening as it raised doubts about my beauty. I would walk into beauty shops such as Boots or Superdrug and most ranges would not cover my skin tone, this has changed tremendously in the last 5 years but there are still a lot of brands that I cant use because of this. People discriminating dark skinned black women can deeply effect self-esteem, and its is disheartening that it only really happens within the community. Young boys are also taught this philosophy at a young age, this is apparent with popular phrases such as ‘If it’s not light it aint right’. With all of this said, it is understandable that some black girls/women do not feel ‘pretty’.

3. There are not a lot of ‘British’ black female role models, maybe American but not in British.

4. Not at all, there are hardly any black British women role models that are portrayed positively. With so many reality TV shows, I am yet to come across even one black cast member. I remember when Kelly Rowland was an official judge on the X Factor, this may seem like a small thing to the outside community but within the black community it was a big thing. On a programme such as X Factor one of Britain’s biggest television programmes it was amazing to see a beautiful darker skinned women with authority. Even if she was not British.

5. This may seem extremely shallow, but becoming one of the only black club hostesses I have seen in Leeds. To be able to represent an ethnicity and be perceived as ‘beautiful’ is an achievement.

6. Do not compare your beauty; we are all the same, from the same background. Discriminating within our race is destroying our unity and culture.

Esperenza Dube: Age:22 Ethnicity:African Black Occupation: Global Headhunter

1. Not that I can recall as I have always been in environments where there were other women of colour so there isn't a situation that I can think of.

2. I think as a female it is natural to compare yourself to other females, however I've never felt insecure because of my race. But I have felt insecure about certain features that I did not like about myself

3. Jourdan Dunn and Leomie Anderson as they are successful models who have overcome hurdles. Leomie for instance has openly spoken about prejudice in some of the European markets but she is still making it big. And Jourdan didn't let having a baby stop her modelling career.

4. I definitely think there is room for improvement as a lot of the times you just have that one token black girl in a campaign for instance. On television programmes it's always a stereotype of black woman that is portrayed. I think that we need more positive portrayals of black women.

5. I'd definitely say graduating and starting a career straight away has been my greatest achievement.

6. Always aim high, pay no mind to what others are saying, remain positive and resilient as every thing you go through is a lesson and it makes you stronger. Never compare yourself to your peers as you don't know their struggle, all the hard work you put in will always pay off even if you don't see it straight away. Find true happiness within yourself, and most of all love yourself.

Rhianne Leacock: Age:21, Ethnicity:Black, Occupation: Dentist Technician

1. On a bus where drunken men issued insults to me and another black female because of our race.

2. I compare myself to queen bey lol kidding. I wouldnt say i felt unpretty just noticed i looked a lot different to others when i was younger. But learned to embrace my looks.

3. I dont feel like i have any black british female role models, not that i know of. Aside from family members.

4. I dont feel like black british females are represented enough, however the likes of lupita nyongo are coming up on the scene

5. As a young black female i would say getting onto a medical course at university so far.

6. Embrace your beauty and learn to love your natural self. Work outside of the stereotypes.

Lauren Fairweather: Age: 19, Ethnicity: Black Caribbean/British, Occupation: Student

1. Personally I can't say I have, or that I am aware of. Largely because of the area I was brought up in and the institutions I attended were all very ethnically diverse.

2. Yes I have often compared myself to other women, as a female I feel we are taught to compete with each other. The prettier you are, the more people will like you. However, I have never felt unpretty as a black woman specifically. I have always loved being black and forever I will.

3. Not sure if this is supposed to be a celebrity or well known person if so I can't say I do. I look up to my mother (very cliche) but she has molded me into being the young woman I am today. I also look up to a youth mentor founder of reclaim project, that taught me English in my earlier years.

4. I can't say the last time I seen something about a black british woman on the headlines of anything. We see the likes of Alisha Dixon on BGT, Christine Ohuruogo when the athletics is on and then I mean that's about it. Nothing about young black women, doing well or ...

5. Being a young black woman, from an underprivileged background and studying a law degree at one of the top universities is definitely an achievement worth being proud of. Even more so, when the other handful of black women on the course except you and maybe 2 others are international students.

6. Realise your beauty, realise your talents, realise your worthiness. Don't measure yourself against the unrealistic views of other people around you. Realise that you yourself are enough and more, we are not competing.

Yasmin Williams: Age: 20 Ethnicity: Caribbean & English, Occupation: Student/cocktail waitress

1.Erm, I have at a younger age, my school teacher grouped all the black kids together and admitted it when confronted but that doesn't directly link to my femininity.

2. I've never felt unpretty as a black women, ever

3. Erm, not particularly, I don't have many role models, the ones I do are black female poets but they're American!

4. Definitely not portrayed in the media enough, I struggled to even think of black British females who are 'role model' material

5. Biggest thing I have achieved as a black woman is nothing really, none of my achievements have had me break through racial barriers! I'm quite proud to be at uni and I intend to go into the politics of education as a black woman however

6. Advice to all black women would be to keep going and follow your instinct, not the masses! & self confidence is key!

Tanya Stewart: Age: 18, Ethnicity: Black Caribbean, Occupation: Sale Associate

1. no

2. someone's I feel that I have to make more of an effort compare to other

3. my mum because even though she's didn't go uni and git 5 children she's doing very well

4. no

5. achieved my a level and getting into Manchester university

6.never forget your self worth or be ashamed of your colour black Is beautiful

Vita Price: Age: 50, Ethnicity: Mixed Caribbean, Occupation: Local government officer

1.I worked for Oldham Council for the first 9 years of my working life. The first time I experienced racism was when I left to work for Trafford. I was a deputy manager in a day centre where WRVS was a voluntary group providing meals in the community. The manager of this group had to come to my office daily and ask for keys or any equipment that they needed to borrow. For over 12 months this lady never asked me or spoke to me and always sent one of my staff to ask. At this time I had no knowledge my colour was a problem to her. Until one day she had nobody around to ask on her behalf. When I left the office, she helped herself to my keys from the desk and removed equipment from the centre that clients were using that day. I went to her office, I said I’m sorry you can’t use the tables you have taken clients need them today. The next week the senior manager asked to see me about a complaint she has received by a councillor’s wife. It Stated I was very abrupt with her and she couldn’t say anything to me because she felt I may think she was racist because of my colour. That’s exactly what she was and I hadn’t see it. This is my experience of prejudice.

2. No the only woman I compare myself with is my mother and always feel good about myself.

3. No


5. Achieving a management position at a young age and becoming a Town councillor

6.Never think somebody is better then you as a black woman and always push yourself forward and not stand at the back.

Jasmine Brown: Age 25, Ethnicity: Black African American and White British, Occupation: Marketing Assistant.

1. Yes I have experienced prejudice, most of it happened at school and when I lived in more country areas. A lot of racial slurs, people accusing me of stealing in shops and saying its cause someone like me couldn't afford them things. My mum being asked if I was adopted and if so, why would she chose to adopt a black child, more recently, I was asked to straighten my hair for a job I was working, as my natural hair was too messy, firzzy,and unprofessional and didn't match the look of the company. they also asked me to wear tan colour tights that didn't match my skin tone and said I would receive a disciplinary if I wore a darker colour.

2. I do compare myself sometimes I guess. though, modelling gave me tough skin so I don't really feel too insecure about myself. it is what it is. I know im in control of how I look and how I choose to feel about it. the worst time for me was when I was at school and was one of 4 black girls in the school. I was named the 'unpretty' one. that was tough cause I was so young, gave me a few issues during teen hood but nothing that stuck really!

3. Thandi Newton is awesome, shes done so well and is very beautiful. Jordann Dun has also done well for herself and seems very grounded for her age. I think shes inspiring for younger black british women. My dads wife is quite inspirational, shes is one of the youngest black british women barristers in the uk and is very successful.

4. No not at all. I think the previous question made me realize that. its hard to think of specific black british women as role models, I think that is mainly because they aren't prrotrayed in the media enough, or hardily at all.

5. I think the graft I have been doing for the past 2 years to obtain the position I have in my company now. I had to do a lot of over time and work experience, a lot of research and networking to get this role. it felt like an achievement when I got it in the end. Prejudice is very alive in the work place and it can be difficult to get places. The other from when I was younger was probably doing a show at London fashion week.

6. Its important above anything else to focus on your education and focus on the positive. the things people say and the things people think about you are only relevant if you allow them to be. You have to remember that people will be themselves you cant change their mindsets and not everyone you come across will have a positive thing to say about you. its about turning their negativity into something that motivates you and push you past any doubt you have in yourself.

Jessica Ogunyemi: Age 20, Ethnicity: white and black African, Occupation boutique owner

1: Yes I have, I travelled with my partner to London, on our journey back to Manchester we bought hot food at the coach station to take on the 5 hour coach, when the driver seen our food he told us that we could not take hot food on the coach, only cold food is acceptable. I still however, attempted to take the hot food on the coach by hiding it in my luggage. The coach driver was aware of this and told us we could not board the coach. My partner was agitated by this and a conflict arised between the driver and my partner. 4 other uniformed drivers came into the situation and stated 'We do not lie in this country' this racial remark suggested that this is not my country even though I was born here.

2: When I was younger in high school I was confident however, sometimes I would feel insecure about my looks. As a women of black decent, some of us tend to have a larger nose compared to people of white decent. I would often look through magazines to keep up with fashion affairs but I did not notice that unconsciously I was looking at the models smaller noses. Unfortunately I did not think my nose was pretty enough and wanted a nose job as soon as I was legally allowed. Fortunately I got over my insecurity and now I LOVE my nose and will never change it. I have learnt that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and there isn't 'one perception' of beauty.

3: Unfortunately I do not have any black British role models, all of my black role models are in the USA.

4: Black women are definitely not portrayed in the media enough. If you go to a local newsagents and look for the popular gossip magazines all the women on the cover are of white descent. But you will see that the magazines with black people on the covers are not in the main section. To me, this is very sad. Britain is filled with diversity; Black, white and Asian. As a country we should celebrate this diversity but unfortunately the majority of times that you hear or see about black people in the media is crime. Its only negative, in my opinion society has tarnished our name. In other countries worldwide the one city that they know about and remember is Moss Side and how black people shoot and stab each other. This era ended a long time ago and Moss Side is a now a safe place, but the media will never show the growth of Moss Side and celebrate how great it has become.

5: The biggest thing I have achieved as a black women is my education. Although I am still studying (Well.... going back in September!) I feel that this empowers me. When I finish my studies I want to become a CEO for my own business that is successful OR work for an established company. Its only education that can provide me with these tools to achieve these great goals.

6: My advice would be educate yourself because with good qualifications you can achieve whatever you want. Do not let prejudice be a barrier in your life. If you want to be a lawyer go to law school and become a lawyer. If you want to be a teacher go to university and become a teacher. Whatever you want to do, DO it.

Ireene Amagee:  Age 42, Ethnicity African, Occupation social worker.

1. No
2 .No
3. I do have black female role models but unfortunately they are not British.
4. No. I don’t think so.
5. The biggest thing I have achieved as a black woman is to be able to live a life of contentment i.e. not believing the lie that as a black woman I need to do something to “meet up”.
6. Walk in your true identity and never see yourself as inferior to others because the truth is, you are not.
Felicia Vasey: Age 49, Ethnicity Black African, Occupation social worker.
1.Yes as a black social worker, there are time that client would say they do not want me a their social worker because of my colour.
2. No in my eyes, black is beautiful.

3. Leona Lewis –even though she is much younger and I could be her mother. Adele, Duffy, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,Lorraine Pascale and Kerry Washington.

4. No

5. Becoming a mother of 2 beautiful children and at present completing my qualification as a social worker and practicing successfully.

6. Work hard, do not give up and always follow your dream. Do all these giving thanks and trust in God always.

Anna Okieimen: Age 49, Ethnicity British/Nigeria, Occupation Social Worker.


2. Claire Ighodaro, who is the first woman to lead CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants),
 Angela Le Mac: Actor, Writer, Comedian and Presenter, Barbara Kasumu - co-founder of Elevation Network, Erinma Bell: MBE

4. No

5. Masters in Social Work, whilst looking after a husband and 5 children.

6. Anything is possible with God, commitment and dedication

Dinah Saunders:  Age 46,  Ethnicity Black American and White British, Occupation Social Worker.

1. Most of my experience of prejudice has been at school as a child as I went to an “all white” school. The negative labels that I was given as a child affected me as a young woman. I felt that I was dirty because of my colour and ugly. As a young woman I worked in a recruitment office and my manager ( who had not employed me) would always talk down to me and not my white colleagues. I felt that this was due to prejudice relating to my skin colour. I have always felt that I have had to work harder than my white counterparts to secure job opportunities. When thinking about the career I wanted to go into black women seemed to be represented in the caring sector such as nursing and the entertainment industry such as singers/dancers. There were no visible role models in banking, management and law industries.

2. When I was a younger black woman, I did compare myself to white women and felt inferior to them and less attractive. I had really issues with my hair and wanted it to be like my white friends. As I have got older this has not been an issue and I feel very attractive as a black woman.

3. Sade the singer was always a role model for me as she was represented in the media in my late teens and early twenties which was an influential time in relation to my identity. I felt that she was someone I could identify with. I cannot think of any black british female role models which highlights to me that they may be invisible in the media.

4. As stated above I do not think there are enough. Black women tend to be represented as children presenters, singers/dancers. There are limited black british actresses that are portrayed and they are lacking on news channels

5. My biggest achievement as a black woman is raising a black female child to be a positive, secure, independent and proud black woman. Who loves the colour of her skin and does not let this affect her opportunities in life. “Sometimes the labels we are given affect how we approach opportunities. The way forward is for the labels to be positive and the media has a big role in this area”.

6. You can achieve anything in life if your put in the work and you remain positive. Do not let negative stereotypes or labels affect you from achieving your dream.


I also casted some online responses for the questionnaire and the results can be found here: link

Result Findings / Statistics

From the results I started to create some statistics from the findings, I found that by asking people directly and online I got a mix of responses and outcomes which was really interesting to reflect on.

Have you ever experienced prejudice as a women of colour, if so what did you experience: 75% of women were affected by this.

Do you often compare yourselves to other women or felt unattractive as a black woman?  50% of women didn't feel unattractive due to their colour but did compare themselves to other women.

Do you have any black british female role models, if so who are they? 95% of women didn't have a black british role models.

Do you feel like black british women are portrayed in the media enough?  98% of women said there were not enough black women portrayed in the media.

What do you feel is the biggest thing you have achieved as a black woman? 100% of women had a testimonial on their achievements.

What advice could you give to future generations of black women to empower them? 100% of women had something positive to state to future generations

From this questionnaire and the results that I got, I had a lot of really interesting personal testimonies that I think could be used further in the exhibition. The main depth of the exhibition manual can have these testimonies in them which will be really interesting to hear stories from real women.

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