At the start of this month, dating app, Bumble had commissioned Metallic Inc to create a socially-led campaign about Black British Love, highlighting the lack of representation in mainstream images of love and relationships.
Named #MyLoveIsBlackLove, the campaign aims to open a conversation about love in the UK within the Black community. A topic that is now more important than ever, perhaps one of the most shocking statistics is that more than 3 in 4 Black people in the UK (79%) think there is a lack of relatable images and stories about dating in the UK.
Exploring the many voices that make up the Black Love, we caught up with rapper, singer and songwriter, Ms Banks, to discuss her own experiences of love as well as the portrayal, accessibility and representation of Black Love around the world.
Hey! Thanks for joining me! How have you been?
I’m good thanks! Thank you for having me.
How has life in Lockdown been treating you?
It’s been good, at the start I did struggle and find it hard to adjust. But now, I’m taking time to reflect and prep myself for future plans.
What have you learnt from the process?
I’m a loner, I’m not going to lie. I have been living by myself for a long time; for me, it taught me that I have to really look at things and heal from things that I have experienced. Before Lockdown, I was always on the go and I wasn’t really sitting down to take things in and really realising how far I’d come. Due to the Lockdown, I had to really sit and reflect — it allowed me to heal and I needed that rest to get back on track.
Nice! Let me also congratulate you on Novikov! I watched you on Don’t Hate the Playaz and was obsessed!
Thank-you! It was so fun to perform, I love it! I always love going on Don’t Hate the Playaz, everyone is really welcoming – I enjoyed it, it was fun.
So we’re here to talk about Bumbles Black Love campaign. What does Black Love mean to you?
Black love is community, Black love is respect and Black love is unity.
When did you first notice the underrepresentation of minorities in the media?
It has always been there. But one time when it really stood out was about four years ago. I went to Atlanta and I was watching the TV; one of the things that really caught me was a car advert. It had a black family in there. That was something that I’d never seen before. It made me realise that actually “I’m twenty-two and I’d never seen this ever in my life” and it then dawned on me that there is definitely an underrepresentation of Black people globally.
I bet in America it is so different from being in the UK. But even now, I think you take everything as the norm.
You come across very confident! But when it comes to dating, have you ever experienced discrimination yourself?
Not discrimination per se. But a lot of men from my own race have always made me feel like an acceptance. “Oh, you’re nice for a black girl,” or “you’re nice for a dark skin girl.”
What would you say the main things people are discriminated for?
People having their own assumptions of how we are and how we act. My counterpart can stand up for herself and no-one would look at her in any way, but if I do then I’m going to come across as the “angry black woman”. Not even being respected, but being paid the same as our counterparts. That’s another thing; even doing music, sometimes big corporations might not really see my style and see that I have an international appeal because I’m a Black girl.
What sort of advice would you have for those that have experienced it?
Just to stay confident and know there is a place for you in this world. Even if people don’t see you or understand it or people don’t want to see your worth or value – you’ve got to believe it, know it and stand for it — because it will come. People love Black culture in general, so I don’t understand why sometimes it is frowned upon or why we are treated less than others. You just have to stay confident, keep your head up and know your worth; everything else will follow.
I love that! Do you believe there has been a change in recent years? When did you notice it?
There’s been a change. Things are getting better, with people having access to social media, the world can communicate. People are using their voice and we’re being heard. Things are changing and we’re not accepting things that we may have just taken lightly before – know we know we have a voice and can use it.
What do you hope the Bumble campaign can achieve?
Just more representation of Black love. And hopefully, more people finding love. The campaign has done well and people are loving it; it’s nice to see us represented in a good light. We’re just match-making right now, people are linking up and that’s nice to see.
Lastly, what does the future hold for Ms Banks? Anything exciting?
I’ve got a project coming up – a mixtape – probably early next year and just more singles, you lot gotta lookout we’ve got some amazing visuals coming up!