Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

I felt compelled to write this article as the black founder of Hey Saturday. No, it’s not a bullshit corporate statement on the Black Lives Matter movement, but rather a personal response to this pivotal moment in history.

I have not long come back from a socially distant, peaceful demonstration for George Floyd and the wider Black Lives Matter movement outside the US Embassy in London. It’s the first time I’ve felt positive and purposeful in quite a few weeks.

The reason I’ve been struggling so much is something I haven’t been able to articulate as well as my matchmaking colleague and sister, Jasmine Diaz, did recently on her Facebook page.

“There is something about being black that when you see another black person, really anywhere in the world, that we feel connected to them; their pain, their struggle, and their success.

It’s like seeing a long-lost cousin. 

So when violence happens like what was done to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, and so many others, it’s like a family member has been taken away from us.

The tears that flow from seeing their *potential* snuffed away is such a strong emotional feeling. It’s unspeakable. And when you keep seeing brother after brother, sister after sister, being killed for nothing… The psychological damage from watching that… It’s more than most can bear”.

Thank you, Jasmine, you’ve just summed up exactly what I’ve been feeling.

And to be honest, I don’t just feel that pain, when I see black people dying on the streets. It’s there every time I read about #Karens on Twitter calling the police on black people for simply existing near them (birding in Central Park, sitting on a park bench, waiting for a friend in Starbucks, heading into their own building, swimming in a public pool etc etc). It’s there every time I go into a space that feels like a white only space eg. visiting a nice restaurant or hotel, watching films or TV shows, attending board meetings, gigs, seminars etc etc. and I notice that white people are still the norm, black representation the exception.

We are living in a ghettoised world. If you don’t see it, it’s either because you’re choosing not to see it or you’ve just been conditioned not to think about it or see it. Wherever I go, one of the first things I do is check the space to see how many black people are there too. You can ask my boyfriend, I do it every time without fail. He now does it too. I’m pretty sure all black people do this – it’s a habit. Sometimes we may do it idly, just out of mild curiosity. Other times we do it to figure out how accepted we are going to be. And yet other times, we do it to figure out how ‘safe’ we are going to be. I imagine white people rarely think this way. It’s second nature to me.

White dominated board rooms, white dominated hotels and posh restaurants, museums, mainly white universities and private schools. It’s our normal.  When you do find black people in these ‘white spaces’, more often than not they’re working – as cleaners, bar staff, waiting staff etc. The disparity in our situations is caused by the interconnecting systems under which we live. Systems designed to keep black people down and lift up non-Black people. They start more or less from birth and carry right though to death. The education system, the health system, the policing system, the penal system, politics, the world of work.  Black people have been thinking about these things for a long time now. And without white allies, it’s very difficult to address these disparities and bring about change. We, on our own, don’t seem to have the power to enact any long-term systemic change without white allies helping us. The system makes sure of that.

I am in therapy and this is something I explore every week, trying to figure out what it is I’m seeing, why I feel bad about what I’m seeing. How my past has impacted my present. How I can move on.

This last week has been particularly traumatic and I don’t use that word lightly. Make no mistake, black people are traumatised right now. Watching George Floyd get murdered on screen by a police officer flanked by other police officers  – people who are paid to protect and serve the public – is traumatising. I am hurting and tired and traumatised. And I’m not alone. Every other black person feels it. I know they do. I see it on their faces, I hear it in their words and I can see it in their actions.

We’ve seen too many of these deaths on our screens. We’re forced into a situation where we have to record and release film footage of our people being murdered because it’s the only way to show the world (who keep turning a blind eye) the reality of what is going on. But while we’re trying to save ourselves, we’re also traumatising ourselves. Watching our people die. Slowly. Almost 9 minutes and no one steps in to help.

There are many reasons why I started Hey Saturday. But what drove me to start a business on my own was the desire for freedom to be myself, a desire to stop having to fit into spaces where I didn’t feel comfortable or had to repeatedly prove that I deserved to be there. That is tiring and gives your self-esteem a real bashing.

I’m of white British and Jamaican heritage and was born right at the tail end of the 60s. I spent much of my early years in the home counties during the 70s and 80s until I went to Manchester University at end of the 80s (great for music, not so much for black people). I’m now almost three years into my therapy. Much of what we focus on is the unpacking, unlearning and undoing of years of self-loathing, shame and self-doubt, a result of being brought up brown in a society that favours white skin at every level and doesn’t value black or brown lives.

Once we enter the education system, we all become racist. I’m including myself in this. I’m not anti-racist just because I was born brown or have a black dad. I have to consciously work at it too. I occasionally catch myself, even now, having thoughts that I recognise as coming from being fed a life-time of anti-black propaganda.  I was brought up under the same discriminatory system as you. I’ve had the same education as you. I’ve read the same newspapers, watched the same news channels. We’ve all been brought up under a system which favours white people. It starts as soon as we enter the school system, if not earlier, and continues throughout every stage of our life. But because I’m brown and because I’ve invested in therapy, I’ve had a head start at questioning my thoughts, challenging my beliefs and learning new ways of being.

Not only does it favour white people, our system tells us white people are good (look at what the white man has invented, created, won over the years), brown people are OK. Black people, however, are inherently not OK. It starts in the education system and is perpetuated by the media. Black people aren’t as smart as us. They are lazy. They tend to be criminals. They live in the poor neighbourhoods. They don’t get the good jobs therefore they tend to be poorer than us. While we’re being told that, our white-favouring systems ensure that this is exactly how it plays out for black people. And that is racism in action. Racism comes from living under a system of white supremacy. So while we may not be actively taking a racist stance, we are living under a racist system so we are benefitting immensely from it (or being held back by it, depending on our skin tone).

So, what I’m saying is, even though you may think you’re not racist, you actually are if you continue to deny that you benefit from a system that favours you or you just choose to ignore it. Being pleasant to the black people you meet and having black friends and/or relatives doesn’t give you automatic immunity to racism. This may be why black people roll their eyes when you use the excuse of having black friends as an example to demonstrate you’re not racist.

In fact, if you have black friends and/or family members, it’s even more critical you figure this shit out. If you don’t recognise and acknowledge the existing system of white supremacy that we live under, your behaviour and words will probably be (unintentionally) damaging to them. They may not say anything to you about it – we’re taught to keep our own anger under wraps more often than not, for many reasons but particularly because of the fear of being labelled ‘angry black woman’ or ‘scary black man’. And some people have buried their pain so deep, they don’t know it’s there. But trust me, if you don’t stop and consider what you’re saying, you may well be triggering us.

For example, if you insist that racism is getting better or that we live in a post-racial society, you’re triggering them. If you moan that your white friend didn’t get that job because the BBC was using affirmative action and only hiring black or brown people for that role – this will ignite an inner rage in black people (hello, we’ve been living with this kind of discrimination for years – God forbid, companies should try and rectify this every now and again). Or if you casually reach out to touch your colleague’s afro hair or fist bump another colleague after the board meeting. When you talk about how ‘good/cool/safe’ Brixton is these days as opposed to in the 90s (when I lived there), what we hear is ‘it’s OK now as there are lots of white people moving in’. When you say you wouldn’t date someone black and insist it’s just down to preference, yup, that’s also racism because of your conditioning. These are all examples of what we call micro-aggressions and they have the potential to be triggering. Black people will often be navigating numerous micro-aggressions daily, all while trying to manage their job, family life etc. It’s stressful.

Maybe you’re one of those people who love to talk about the ‘PC police’ or the importance of freedom of speech, when you hear black people pushing back on racist talk. Really not helpful. Often triggering. And if you’re thinking, well that all sounds like a big fuss about nothing, imagine experiencing this all the time from all angles. They’re all basically small (or sometimes not so small) ways for people to say you’re other, you’re less, you’re worth less.

But we are where we are. We need to use this historical moment to move this critical human rights movement forward. Much further forward. For white people, knowing your success, your wealth, your health even, comes at the expense of black people, well that can’t feel good.

What can we do next? How can we move forwards? I don’t have the answers. I’ve been thinking about this stuff for years and it’s exhausting, trying to figure out a way forwards. We need white allies. I know that.

Waiting for the racist systems to be dismantled is going to take a long-ass time. So in the meantime, one way we can help is to support and empower black people to become financially independent from white people.

The black community has a collective spending power of £300 billion (according to the Black Pound Report). Now imagine,  being able to invest a lot of that back into our own community, that would be a brilliant start.

Giles and I are pooling our knowledge of setting up and running Hey Saturday and looking at how we can share our learning in a meaningful, lasting way with young black people to help them become more entrepreneurial. If you know any charities or social enterprises that might benefit, please let us know.

Once the protests are over, we need to come together to rebuild a future based on equality of opportunities for all. I don’t have the answers, I’m learning right along with you.

Updated: Hey Saturday has signed the Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge. Read about our commitment here. If you run a small business, I urge you to do the same.

Some ways you could get involved in creating change include:

– signing petitions

– donating to organisations recommended by Black Lives Matter

– buying from and raising awareness of black-owned businesses

– reading books on race, learning about how racism came about and the systems employed to keep it in check globally

– following and supporting black platforms like gal-dem, Black Girl Fest, Check Your Privilege, Black Exchange, Blavity

– extending your empathy and validating the feelings of black and brown people

– confronting your own biases

– broadening your friendship circle with people from other races and be willing to open up, have conversations and listen, that way if you do say something that inadvertently triggers them, they’ll be able to tell you why

– having conversations at work about any lack of representation you may notice and how your company might address it

– standing up against injustice, discrimination and inaction

– keep reading

But for even better advice, Jeffrey Boakye, author of Black Listed, has pulled together a list of next steps, see below. And thank you for taking the time to read my rant. It means a lot, especially if you reached this far. I feel a lot better for getting that out.

 

 

Words and photos by Saskia.

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dating app profile

Great online dating photographers are focused on human experience, rather than the size of our lenses.

Yeah… I’d go as far to say, we view our photoshoots as an emotional journey with a physical output more than anything else.

We want to help you let people in and get a better sense of who you are… the real you, of course, (in reply to a comment I got yesterday), if your photos are going to be meaningful, in any way.

When you can bring your whole self to the shoot, it’s kind of magic, really. When you can craft images that tell stories about who you are, it’s powerful and empowering, because when stories are told, meaning is made.

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How you show up for your profile pictures matters. The energy you show up with for your photoshoot, is the same energy that online daters can see and feel when they look at your profile pictures.

And yes, you can absolutely see and feel energy in pictures. You can see if someone is happy, dejected or confident, for example.

Confidence is energy. It’s not a ‘trait’ that you either are or aren’t, it’s a state. Like happiness, sadness & joy, it’s an energy you can tap into.

To create the most attractive and magnetic profile pictures, tap into the energy you want to see in your photos.

But how?

Get excited about how these profile pictures are going to open up doors, connect you to all kinds of interesting people, potentially lead to something so good, it’s life-changing.

Harness these positive kind of thoughts and embody them through your breathing, through smiling and laughing, through your body language. You know how smiling makes you feel happy and standing in a power pose makes you feel more confident? Yes 🙌🏽 that.

Your body language in your pictures communicates a lot about your energy and vibe.

Include things you really love in your photoshoot. You might wear something you love, go somewhere you love, hold something you love or, even better, get in flow and do something you love.

Including things that spark joy will impact your body language and your whole vibe.

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Hey go-getters, thrill-seekers, online daters... have you checked out the podcast Dates & Mates yet? If you’re single and craving connection in a digitally-driven world, then head to Apple podcasts and hit subscribe.

This show is seriously guaranteed to give you more fun than your ex. And boy, what a show. The host Damona Hoffman, already one of the coolest humans on the planet, is now also the Official Love Expert of the Drew Barrymore Show ✨ as well an advice columnist for The Washington Post & much more.

I’ll admit I was a bit of a hot mess as a guest on her show but it was ace to be included on her latest episode. I share how to do online dating photos right and magnetise the best matches to you.

And don’t forget to hit subscribe, there are soooo many good episodes you’re going to wanna work your way through.

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You are as hot as you think you are.

I love this.

When I was told this, back when I was online dating, I have to say it was a bit of a game changer. Your first instinct is to think, ‘Wait, what?’.

But then I thought back to people I’d met in my (very) long and varied dating life... and how my first impressions of their attractiveness could wildly change as soon as I started engaging with them.

That’s because I was seeing them as they see themselves.

Self-love levels the playing field. You don’t have to be the hottest person in the room to be the hottest person in the room... you just have to THINK you are.

Wow, I love that. It means being attractive, magnetic, desired is within all of us. We just gotta dig deep and love ourselves. No way round it.

Your vibe reflects the way you see yourself and cues others to respond accordingly.

I’m just getting into the Law of Attraction and figuring out how to raise my vibrations, which builds on this. And it’s so relevant to dating, I’ve got a feeling I’m gonna be sharing my learnings on here soon.

Anyone got any recommendations of people I can follow who are talking about vibrating higher? Please share 🙏🏽

I’m ready to vibe higher. Are you?

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Your dating app profile ain’t the place to blend in. I know we all want to belong and fit in. But... this isn’t the time.

So many profiles are literally copy cats of each other. It’s sooo boring. Especially given the fact we’re all so different & amazing once you get to know us.

Take a risk. Reveal something meaningful about yourself in your profile. Write down all the things that make you stand out from others and then choose a couple of those to reveal in your profile photos.

People are gonna stare.
Make it worth their while.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

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This message makes my heart do little backflips. I love that this client felt seen by Nicole and was able to express her best self.

And I love that she took the time to share her gratitude with me and Nicole.

I have a strong feeling that when this client finds love, it’s going to be pretty special.

💛 Very exciting 💛

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I’m sharing my face because we have a bunch of new followers, yay hi there, and also because my jumper is very on brand and that’s kind of what I wanted to talk about today.

In your profile pics, your clothes are saying a lot more about you than you might think.

Our clothes are telling people a lot about our lifestyle, our social status, our personality and our vibe ... oh yeah and in my case, my job!

So what do you want your clothes to say about you? That you’re cool, confident, nerdish, feminine, comfortable, stylish, independent, fashionable, glam, extrovert, etc?

By choosing your clothes with intention, you can reveal elements of your personality that might otherwise not come across easily in your pictures.

And our clothes choices actually have more power than we think.

The psychologist, Dr Jennifer Baumgartner (a total expert on this stuff), says,

‘You can use your wardrobe to change how other people perceive you, and even more importantly - how you see yourself’.

I’ve shared that before but I love it so much. This is that moment when the outfit you put on makes you feel invincible & unstoppable. Perfect for a photoshoot or some first date action.

Lots of photoshoots coming up this bank holiday weekend, so this is your reminder to prep your outfits with intention.

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This is big-ass Hey Saturday energy right here...

‘Shoot your shot’ is:

🎯 to let go of your pride & pursue someone you’re into;

🎯 to be brave & have the audacity to do something that might be embarrassing;

🎯 to do, say or claim a thing that is potentially outside of your range of abilities.

This is the kinda energy that works so well on dating photoshoots & online dating.

People out there, living their best lives, willing to shoot their shot.

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42 9

Nah, I don’t mean that kind of suck😆

I mean dare to be real. Dare to be vulnerable. Dare to try something different. Dare to date someone different. Dare to put yourself out there. Dare to dance on your dating photoshoot. Dare to mess up. Dare to stand out on your dating profile. Dare to be disliked by some.

I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said, ‘How embarrassing to be human’.

Well quite!

But go suck, I dare you!

At the end of that lies adventure, mayhem, great profile pics and, with a little bit of luck, authentic love.

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One of the best gifts you can give yourself? Letting go of what other people think about you.

Most of us worry too much about what others think to the point that we are far too inhibited and far less spontaneous and joyful than we could be.

Truth is (studies show), we consistently overestimate just how much - and how badly - others think about our failings.

Problem is, giving fewer fucks is super hard, we are such a social species.

We care so much about others because our happiness depends on the quality of our relationships. We need people and we want to be in their good books so that we can belong, fit in & nurture good relationships with them.

While a certain amount of it is healthy, too much is not. But what can you do to put the breaks on?

Let’s imagine you’re on a dating photoshoot but you can’t stop worrying about what random people in the street are thinking.

In reality, you know it really doesn’t matter what those people think. You don’t know them from Adam. And your photos... well they might just help you transform your love life, right, so they’re kind of important.

But knowing that doesn’t stop you feeling embarrassed.

Here’s one thing you could try. A moment of mindfulness.

Try six deep breaths in and out, with your photographer, feeling how the air enters and leaves your body and how your feet are connected to the ground.

At the end of this lies potential for even greater profile pics.

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You know when you connect online with someone new, but you just know straightaway that you’re going to get on really well? Yeah that.

This is Dillion. He invited me on his dating podcast, @truthaboutdating, the other day and the episode has just dropped (link in his bio).

We chatted about the importance of vibe, colour, confidence, being authentic, body language & much more.

Give it a listen 🎧 and check out his other episodes. Thanks for having me, Dillion, I really enjoyed chatting & sharing dating photo tips.

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If you’re thinking about creating some new dating profile pics, here’s some homework to help you prepare. Take a moment to ask yourself how you’d want to show up if you knew the love of your life was going to see these photos.

Photos, when created intentionally, are such a powerful tool for communicating who you are.

Plan to create photos that take people on a whistle stop tour of your vibe, your passions, your personality and your strengths.

You’ll find that you’re more easily able to connect with all and any ideal soulmates who come across your profile.

Don’t forget to keep it real. As real as you feel able.

Great photos attract attention. Authentic ones keep it.

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36 1

On dating apps, success is often determined by a split-second decision made after glimpsing, sometimes, just one photo. You gotta make sure every photo is an amazing one.

Here’s a secret hack, not many people know. Open, expansive body language in photos is crazy attractive, drawing the right kind of attention online.

This is backed by science actually - not just your friendly dating photo expert 😉

For those of you who love the science bit, academic researchers found that outstretched limbs increase attractiveness for all genders - but guys in particular. It suggests dominance for guys and confidence for guys and women.

With this in mind, make sure you take up space in your photos! Own it! Do some power poses to get in the mood. Throw your shoulders back. Fling your arms out. Have your hands spread out. Have fun experimenting.

No crossed arms or hunching over on our watch!

Be the star of every single shot. You only get 5 to 6 shots, you need to make sure all of them are doing the heavy lifting for you.

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What really matters to you in life? What’s important to you?

Showing up authentically on your dating photoshoot and in your dating life is the biggest gift you can give yourself.

It enables you to meet and connect with people on a deeper level. Imagine - no pretence and no games 🙌🏽

And it all starts with knowing yourself better.

I reckon a good starting place is writing out a list of all the things in life that are important to you.

We encourage our clients to do this ahead of their dating photoshoots.

It helps you get to the heart of what you want out of life, what you want out of your love life.

Knowing ourselves is a life-long process but it’s so good to check in on ourselves often, especially when we’re starting big things like online dating.

And by taking the time to think about it and let us, your photographers know, it helps us more easily create dating profile pictures that represent what you stand for. What you’re about. What makes you unique and special.

On my List of Stuff I Care About, I have:
- being creative
- keep on learning & growing
- love & connection
- being physically active
- helping people
- finding peace in nature

My dating profile pictures might then include me taking photos or painting, reading a self-help book or studying, walking or meditating in nature. I might wear my jumper with the word ‘love’ on it. I might be drinking tea in front of a cafe with friends (who aren’t actually in the pic). When planning your shoot, your list acts as a guide to make sure you’re telling people something meaningful about you.

✨What’s on your list?

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