I was at a dinner this week with some fabulous black women. Black women who are doing wonderful things in TV, publishing, beauty and other areas. The host of this wonderful dinner said something along the lines of: “it may be Black History Month, but we are black all year round.” The line was met with the sounds of enthusiastic applause and cheers. It is something I often say when people expect Black Ballad to do extra in October - Black Ballad doesn’t commission a bit more black content in October, we commission these articles all year round, so there isn’t any pressure to do more in the 10th month of the year.
For the first time since starting Black Ballad, I did not have one speaking engagement among the many Black History Month, diversity and inclusion panels that seem to run from the beginning, to the end of October. Reasons why I didn’t do some talks was due to conflicting schedules, but also because I was unwilling to compromise on pay. The companies and organisations that were asking me to speak five years ago, were now asking a more experienced Tobi to speak in 2019. In 2014, I had no experience as an entrepreneur, editor or public speaker and had just left my first full time journalism job after 18 months, so I didn’t mind starting off and speaking for free and for smaller amounts.