Words By Mayran Osman
On the 27th October 2018, BlackGirlFest opened the doors to their second year of the festival at Shoreditch town hall. The festival was founded by the trailblazers, Paula Akpan and Nicole Krystal Crentsil to give black women a safe space to learn, network and collaborate.
This year BlackGirlFest teamed up with exciting organisations such as Microsoft, Penguin, Vine Creatives, Walking Brand UK and many others to deliver engaging and informative talks. The day consisted of workshops, industry panels and masterclasses run by industry professionals. In addition, there was a marketplace which allowed attendees to browse and buy products made by black owned companies, which was a win win.
The plethora of workshops and masterclasses running allowed everyone to learn something new, brush up on skills which they already possessed and improve their networking skills. Some of the workshops I attended consisted of black girls in media, black girls in books, finance 101 and introduction to coding. Each workshop and masterclass was thoroughly informative and fun. The professionals presenting were so enthusiastic and excited about the topics they talked about. The attendees were just as excited, as they were bursting with energy and soaking in all the information provided to them like sponges.
An industry panel which stood out to me was the black women in media panel with Charlie Cuff, Funmi Fetto and Tolani Shoneye. During the Q&A segment Tolani was asked what her and her friends did to ensure their podcast show ‘The Reciepts’ would gain such a huge audience and be the success that it is today, she stated:
“I was audaciously me and it took a lot of growth for me to be like okay this is me and I am putting it on a platform … I think if you are authentic in what you do, it will help.”
Highlighting how one will be able to reach higher positions quicker if they channel their true self.
I also really enjoyed the finance 101 session with Bola Sol. I really liked her enthusiasm and how she created a safe space for individuals to discuss any financial issues, which they had and wanted to overcome. Additionally, she gave us websites and apps we could incorporate into our daily routine to save money such as Monzo, Yolt as well as apps which allow you to invest such as Nutmeg and Wealthify.
It was my first year attending BlackGirlFest and it truly exceeded my expectations. I learnt so much in one day and made amazing connections. Bring on next year!