Just doing us

My name is Nadia. I have been married to Sy for 10 years and we have 2 daughters, Amna-Rayne (age 8) and Maya-Rose (age 5). We are a mixed heritage family. My maternal grandfather was Arabic, from Yemen (hence mine and Amna’s Arabic names). Sy’s mother was born in Jamaica and his father in the Caribbean Island, St Vincent.  Sy (short for Soyinka) was born in Cardiff and identifies as Black Welsh. I identify as White Welsh and our daughters are mixed race and identify as Brown.

Just doing us - family photo

I have learnt so much since becoming a mother, wanting my children to live in a world free of prejudice and stereotypes is one of the things I became passionate about early on in motherhood. I had a lot of work to do to educate myself and become a good role model to my children.

I believe all children should be equally represented and seen for their true authentic selves and as parents it is our responsibility to encourage and support this by normalising diversity. When I speak of diversity I mean ALL marginalised groups but my focus today are people of colour.

I usually get Amna and Maya’s clothes handed down from friends or bought pre-loved as we try to be as sustainable as possible, however it is always difficult finding clothes that represent my children. I have never come across an item of clothing with an image of a black and brown child with big curly hair in the clothes we have gratefully received from friends.

I was really pleased to come across Louise and Beeboobuzz when she put a shoutout on Instagram to diversify her page. I was encouraged by Louise’s openness about her page not being diverse enough and her proactiveness to change it.

It is so important to me that Black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) children are represented in the clothing and modelling industry.  According to the Lloyds Banking Group’s 2018 Ethnicity in Advertising report, BAME people continue to be underrepresented as the sole or main champion of UK ads with just 7% of adverts featuring someone from a BAME group in the main role. Whether it be in advertisements, Instagram feeds or actually on the clothing itself, this lack of meaningful representation has a hidden message and a big impact on all children.

At such a young age my girls have already picked up on this, they have asked on many occasions to have their hair straightened, Maya has asked for blonde hair and Amna has even said she wished she had lighter skin.

A large proportion of minority ethnic children have an overwhelming majority of white role models both on screen, through books, toys and clothing. Furthermore, although things are improving, there are still negative black stereotypes being portrayed across all platforms. We were recommended a film recently by a friend as it had a mixed race female teen character in it. We watched the movie and noticed straight away how the white teen character loved reading and was polite whilst the mixed race teen character loved dancing and was feisty and rude. Although common across the film and TV industry, this is an unfair misrepresentation of mixed race children/teens.

As I continue to learn and grow I realise the world may never be free of prejudice and stereotypes, however, if we as parents and independent businesses such as Beeboobuzz continue to make the necessary changes needed, I am hopeful we can raise our children in a world where diversity is normalised.

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