“Black women in 2018 are well past making waves – we’re currently creating something of a tsunami.” When I read these words in the first few pages of Slay In Your Lane, I predicted that it would be one of my top books of 2018. I was right. I’ve eagerly awaited its publication since 2016, but I didn’t realise how much I needed this book until I read it.
Written by best friends Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, Slay In Your Lane is an inspirational guide to life that explores what it means to be a black woman in Britain today. Focusing on areas such as work, dating, education, representation, health and business, the book features interviews with 39 of Britain’s most successful black women.
The diversity of black women interviewed in Slay In Your Lane was definitely a factor that drove me to buy the book. The book’s interviewees include well-known names like Jamelia, Clara Amfo, Dawn Butler MP and Malorie Blackman. I enjoyed reading about the real-life experiences of women working in fields such as sport, entertainment, music, publishing, science, academia, beauty and more.
All 39 women interviewed by Yomi and Elizabeth contributes something valuable to the book. At the time of reading, I found that the words of Malorie Blackman, Florence Adepoju, Charlene White and Dr Nicola Rollock strongly resonated with me. Of course, Slay In Your Lane wouldn’t be the book that it is without the compelling voices of its authors. The conversational tone makes it accessible and a pleasure to read. Yomi and Elizabeth’s personal anecdotes and commentary add humour and character to the book. In addition, each chapter is packed with relevant statistics, which makes it impossible to deny its’ credibility. It’s excellently written and thoroughly researched.
The book paints an accurate picture of what it’s like being a black British woman. The authors don’t sugarcoat the hardships that we go through and it makes uncomfortable reading. I felt very triggered and almost depressed many times throughout. The ‘Work’ chapter was particularly powerful for me. It discusses the various ways in which structural discrimination often thwarts black women’s efforts to progress their careers. ‘If white women fear the glass ceiling, black women fear an impenetrable glasshouse,’ writes Yomi. Much of what was addressed in this section of the book resonated with me, for example, dealing with microaggressions, the policing of black women’s hairstyles and the fear of speaking up and asserting yourself lest you be stereotyped as “angry” or “aggressive” for doing so.
The book is unflinchingly honest about the issues facing black British women. Fortunately, it adopts a more solution-focused approach and isn’t all doom-and-gloom. My favourite thing about Slay In Your Lane is the practical tips and advice it contains. The insightful ‘Getting Ahead’ chapter is a brilliant example of this. Here you’ll find nuggets of wisdom on managing your finances and launching a successful business venture.
When I finished Slay in Your Lane, I felt angry and exhausted thinking about the racism and sexism that black women have to endure every day. However, I felt inspired and uplifted too. The book validated my experiences and feelings about certain things, reminding me that I’m not alone. The authors and interviewees reminded me that I too can achieve amazing things and one day smash those impenetrable glasshouses and concrete ceilings. This Black Girl Bible was written with me in mind and is a true manifestation of #BlackGirlMagic.
Slay in Your Lane is such an important book that arrived at a great time. I implore black women and girls everywhere who want to live their best lives to read this book. If you’re not a black girl or woman, it’s essential that you read Slay In Your Lane. Read it so you can learn about the experiences of black women in Britain and understand what we have to deal with on a daily basis.
Buy a copy of Slay In Your Lane here.