At the end of 2017 online art resource Artsy broke down the ArtReview’s Power 100 list to see how it stood up against racial and gender variables. They found that only 12% of those who made the list were black or mixed race (compared to 60% caucasian). Similar statistics are also prevalent in the film industry, where, according to a study by UCLA, only 14% of lead film roles went to people of colour in the five years between 2011 and 2016. Bear in mind these figures, when cross referenced with gender, will be even lower for women of colour.
Never has the need for a more diverse range of voices in the arts been more pressing than it is today. The huge success of last year’s Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians films, the almighty neglect of several luxury brands this Fashion Month and the war being waged on inclusivity by some of the world’s most sectarian leaders are just some of the important reasons we need to do more to ensure marginalised people get the platform they deserve.
This Black History Month, Bianca Barratt (Forbes) spoke to three black women – Marian Kwei, Dentaa Amoateng MBE and Elainea Emmott – making their mark on the arts and the wisdom they’ve earned through hard work and determination along the way.
Having not moved into the photography world until her 50s, Elainea Emmott knows a thing or two about being underestimated. More often than not, she’ll be the only woman of colour (and often the only woman at all) in white male dominated press areas and her age, gender and race have proven to be hurdles in an increasingly competitive industry. Having previously worked in the fashion and textiles industries, she now brings her unique perspective to event, portrait and still life photography. Recent projects include photographing female MPs for an exhibition in Parliament and the recent Million Women March, which campaigns to end violence against women. Her passion for highlighting the struggles and joys of life through picture is clear and her experience and wisdom offers inspiration and hope to all creatives.
Not content with her huge success as an award-winning actress, TV presenter and singer, Dentaa Amoateng used her considerable platform to advocate more vocally for the Ghanaian community in the UK (of which she is a member), by founding the Ghanaian UK Based Achievement (GUBA) awards. These awards recognise the achievements of both companies and individuals who have notably contributed to the community in either the UK or Ghana. For these efforts, she has been awarded an MBE and in 2017 was been put on the list of 100 Most Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana. Her passion for her heritage and determination to see the efforts of Ghanaians recognised still drives her today.
A fashion and beauty stylist, Instagram-er and award-winning blogger, you may have seen some of Marian Kwei’s arresting compositions in the likes of Vogue and Dolce and Gabbana stores. The climb to success has not been easy, though, for Marian, who has lived with and overcome mental illness to achieve her goals. Born in Ghana, Marian is now based in the UK and brings her unique perspective and daring compositions to the world in a variety of art forms.
To see each woman’s full interview with Forbes, click Source.