Bricks Magazine: Meet 'Slay In Your Lane' Authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

  • Yomi Adegoke
  • Elizabeth Uviebinené
  • Tori West

“Black women today are well past making waves — we’re currently creating something of a tsunami. Women who look like us, grew up in similar places to us, talk like us, are shaping almost every sector of society.” Slay In Your Lane is the very definition of #BlackGirlMagic — a book celebrating Black British women in all their glory, with the aim of showing young Black girls that there is no limit to the roles they can carve for themselves in the world.

Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené by Venus Libido
Words by Jessie Williams for Bricks Magazine

Written by best friends Yomi Adegoke, a journalist, and Elizabeth Uviebinené, a marketing manager. It deals with racism, sexism, elitism and how they intersect, with anecdotes from a host of successful Black British women — such as the singer and TV presenter Jamelia, the children’s author Malorie Blackman, the MP Dawn Butler (who tells a story of being mistaken as a cleaner by a fellow MP), BAFTA-winning director Amma Asante, and the Olympic gold medalist Denise Lewis.
They talk about their own experiences of growing up Black in Britain; experiencing micro-aggressions, imposter syndrome, the fetishisation of Black women, feelings of isolation and invisibility, interwoven with stories of success, happiness and smashing expectations. 
Encased in a hot pink cover and published by 4th Estate (the same publisher as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) in July, the book has gained non-stop media attention since, and the authors have appeared on BBC Breakfast, British Vogue, and the Guilty Feminist podcast. Now BRICKS gets the chance to grill them on their Black girl bible…
“Black women today are well past making waves — we’re currently creating something of a tsunami. Women who look like us, grew up in similar places to us, talk like us, are shaping almost every sector of society.” Slay In Your Lane is the very definition of #BlackGirlMagic — a book celebrating Black British women in all their glory, with the aim of showing young Black girls that there is no limit to the roles they can carve for themselves in the world. 
Written by best friends Yomi Adegoke, a journalist, and Elizabeth Uviebinené, a marketing manager. It deals with racism, sexism, elitism and how they intersect, with anecdotes from a host of successful Black British women — such as the singer and TV presenter Jamelia, the children’s author Malorie Blackman, the MP Dawn Butler (who tells a story of being mistaken as a cleaner by a fellow MP), BAFTA-winning director Amma Asante, and the Olympic gold medalist Denise Lewis. They talk about their own experiences of growing up Black in Britain; experiencing micro-aggressions, imposter syndrome, the fetishisation of Black women, feelings of isolation and invisibility, interwoven with stories of success, happiness and smashing expectations. 
Encased in a hot pink cover and published by 4th Estate (the same publisher as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) in July, the book has gained non-stop media attention since, and the authors have appeared on BBC Breakfast, British Vogue, and the Guilty Feminist podcast. Now BRICKS gets the chance to grill them on their Black girl bible…
When and how did you get the idea to write Slay in Your Lane?
Elizabeth Uviebinené: I always say that exasperation and optimism inspired Slay In Your Lane. The exasperation part came from when I was working at a big corporate firm. I asked myself, how can I be in the driving seat of my career and prosper and progress? I looked at my boss who was white and my boss’ boss, he was white, and his boss was white, and his boss was white. That was the moment when I was like ‘ok, will I fit in and how can I prosper here?’ 
I was reading these books, one of which was Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and although there were parts that I learnt from and related to, it didn’t address the uniquely challenging experiences faced by me and women who look like me. I guess now, I wouldn't expect it to because she could only speak to one facet of my being — my womanhood. When I think of myself, I don't think of myself as a woman, I see myself as a Black woman. So anything I consume regarding culture in media and books, it's all through that lens. 
I noticed that when a lot of Black women enter the workplace, we discover a lot of unwritten rules for getting ahead that we struggle to understand, let alone follow. When I was reading books like that and articles like ’5 steps to getting ahead in your career’, they don't take into account the experiences of what it is to be a Black woman in a predominantly white space. How do you navigate that to progress in your career when being forthright in a white man’s world and a white woman’s world is seen as something to be applauded and assertive? All while acting the same as a Black woman, it can be read as being aggressive or ‘too much’? 
"When I think of myself, I don't think of myself as a woman, I see myself as a Black woman." - Elizabeth Uviebinené
So I was thinking about that and then I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, so at that point, it felt like I wasn't getting enough — it didn't speak to me. I called my best friend, Yomi during a lunch break at the end of a bad week, I said, ‘Look, I want you to write a book that will speak to young Black girls, not just me, because this is something that’s widespread’, and later on we decided to work on it together. 
The book is full of brilliant advice for Black women, but if you could pick one piece of information to give to all young Black women what would it be?
EU: I think the one piece of advice that I would give to young Black women is to explore your passions. I think having a strong sense of self is one of the most important things in life. When you explore your passions, you can examine who you are, work out what’s expected from you, and what you expect from yourself — external from your parents’ or teachers' expectations — you can then work out what you really want from life. When you truly become that person I think it's such a liberating feeling. Don’t let life happen to you, be in the driving seat as much as possible, don't sit by and wait for opportunities to come your way or sit by and watch everybody live their life. Go out there, meet different people, put yourself forward for things; if it scares you to do it, do it. 

Companies

  • Bricks Magazine logo

    Bricks Magazine

    • Publishing

Skills