Hey guys? What’s new? How are you doing?
So, I wanted to do something different on my blog this week and I’m so excited for you guys to read it! I had the opportunity to interview the amazing founders behind phenomenon that is The Black Girls Book Club (BGBC). These ladies are so inspiring, creating a new and innovative space for black women to relate.
The Black Girls Book Club (BGBC), seemingly touched my twitter feed one random day late in 2016. I was casually scrolling through my timeline witnessing unforgivable banter and saving my favourite memes. Yet, amongst all the crap was the emergence of a strong following of a new book club that would make waves.
Black Girls Book Club dominated my timeline in a minute.
I began to see girls eager to buy tickets to join in on the fun. The club, also a women of colour sisterhood, was a way of likeminded individuals to meet to discuss the nuances of literature. It was something I had to be a part of.
BGBC was a movement and something in response to the lack safe spaces to unite young black women, and I wanted to find out more. It wasn’t until Sosasharon.com was born, that I had a chance to so something more intimate, a brunch with the bad ‘gyals’ of BGBC.
Meet Nat and Mel
Melissa and Natalie are the founders of BGBC. Both working full time in their respectable fields, the book club was a passion project that has certainly become something more.
We decided to do our brunch in the heart of Shoreditch at Dirty Bones, a restaurant both bougie and served good food – a match made in heaven.
I met Melissa, part one of the dynamic duo, already seated and oozing fabulousness. As the twitter account only featured the BGBC logo and no personal picture, I had no prior conceptions of who I would be meeting. Natalie arrived 30 mins later, equally as fabulous.
So how did you guys meet?
Nat: So I decided I was going to be Melissa’s friend, we met in secondary school and I loved her.
Mel: We both loved reading books and began swapping them with each other.
Nat: Do you remember the Colour Purple in year 9? I never got that back! We were really close to each other and had similar interests.
What are your backgrounds?
Nat: I’m a solicitor and Mel’s a civil servant. But we aren’t just our job, as nobody really is. We’ve had many after work sessions, developing a girl community.
What are you most passionate about and what motivates you?
Both of them agreed that they love to go out to restaurants, drinking prosecco and eating oysters.
Mel: We’re a bit fancy like that! It kind of relates to how we make our BGBC brunches. We enjoy bringing a touch of luxury to everything that we do, but also want everyone to feel included.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
Mel: We do get a lot of support! My wonderful fiancé does all of the BGBC imagery which is extremely helpful.
Nat: And our mothers! Don’t forget them, they’ve been there for us.
Mel: True, my mother has always imposed excellence on me and Nat. There is no option to fail, just to win. That’s been a big source of inspiration for me.
How did you come up with the idea for BGBC? Were you inspired by something you’d seen or hadn’t seen before?
Mel: It’s always been about creating a safe safe for young black women. So many times we find ourselves on the outside, without a much needed sisterhood. There was mention on Twitter for a Black Boys Book Club, but we wanted this to be specifically about us women, supporting each other.
So who decided to take it from an idea to a full blown Book Club?
Mel: Well, it’s always been a passion project for us. We wouldn’t want to do it full time, because we love our jobs! Though it allows us a lot of creative freedom and meet loads of fabulous people.
Nat: I suppose allowing people to be their authentic self.
What’s the biggest challenge you guys have faced as founders?
Mel: Hmmm, not so much challenges because we are so determined to succeed, but more so sponsors not understanding our purpose and aim. We aren’t some charity!
What lessons have you learnt from each event you’ve held already? Good and bad? Or the most rewarding?
Nat: That black women are absolutely amazing and magical. Someone said that nobody would come to our brunches, but look how well they’ve gone and the high demand for more!
Mel: But more importantly, this isn’t some business for us. We wanted to create a sisterhood. You know I’ve been told by some girls how much of an amazing experience this has been for them, attending the brunches. It was just so priceless to hear that!
How do you pick the books for BGBC?
Nat: Melissa chooses the books!
Mel: Though, nothing we read doesn’t get some kind of approval from the girls that attend. We love giving suggestions, and what people like – we tend to go with.
Nat: Yeah, definitely to make sure people feel part of the process.
As the interest for BGBC grows – would you consider expanding the team?
Mel: Taking BGBC around the world would be amazing and we would need more support for that. Not necessarily a big sponsor or anything but a worldwide team created through networking would be fab.
Nat: We would still want to be in charge with what happens with BGBC ultimately.
Are there any political or social issues you feel passionately about?
Mel: Sure, there’s so many things going on around the world. I feel like BGBC is our contribution to that conversation. We don’t necessarily have to go out protesting, but do something in our capacity such as empowering people. We encourage black girls to be themselves!
Nat: And to add to that, always do your best to educate yourself on issues important to you, so you know what you’re talking about
Finally, describe BGBC in three words:
Mel: Lil’Kim Fan Club
Nat: Turn-up, turn-up, turn-up!
The interview wrapped up with us talking about some of the challenges of being young black women. It was amazing meeting Nat and Mel and I look forward to attending their third brunch on the 29th of April. I shall be posting about my experience at the brunch as I’ll also be their social media/photo gyal on the day!
Find out more about BGBC on:
Website coming soon!
Be you, all-ways