Black Women Made Up Over 40% of the Fohr Freshman Class Finalists
Last month, I made a guest appearance on A Drink with James, a YouTube series hosted by James Nord, Fohr CEO. We discussed issues of diversity and inclusion in the creative industry, the role privilege plays, and the importance of having open and honest conversations about change. If you have not seen the episode, I encourage you to watch it in full. This conversation was the continuation of an earlier digital encounter between James and I, one that prompted me to engage in a deeper dialogue with Fohr. Over a series of exchanges, we discussed the nuances of racial discrimination in the industry and the role that companies and influencers can play in eradicating these issues.
The move towards an inclusive society, which encompasses the creative industry, has been extremely slow. Over the years, we’ve seen many companies approach diversity with surface-level quick-fixes, where change becomes visible only in the external facing work of the company. Even then, when we aggregate the features, our faces are few and far between. Through my platforms, I intend to help brands dig deeper into the ethos of their company and plant seeds of radical change.
On September 20th, Fohr launched Fohr Freshman Class, an educational retreat that will provide content creators with access to industry leaders, creative challenges, and the opportunity to develop their platforms; creatives “of all races, ethnicities, religions, ages, body types, and sexual orientations” were encouraged to apply.
The Fohr Freshman Class program received over 1600 applications. Yesterday, Fohr announced that 85 people had been selected as finalists, including myself. The Freshman Class finalists represent a diverse range of people. As I read through the list, I paid particular attention to the Black women listed. I found that over 40% of the finalists were Black women, and we were in the majority. Why is this important?
In January, when we launched YOU BELONG NOW, we were intentional about starting all our conversations about inclusivity and diversity with Black Women. We launched our Instagram page with 100 black women for two reasons:
“1. The inaugural 100 Black women raise awareness about the deep-rooted issues of systemic racism and colorism that plague the blogging and fashion industry. Black women across the world have been subjected to every single type of socio-economic injustice, and as we celebrated the beauty of diversity and inclusion on our platform, we wanted to honor that fact.
2. The inaugural 100 Black women demonstrate that there are no justifiable reasons for excluding Black women in the industry – it is done with the intention to discriminate on the basis of race and color, or it is a result of willful ignorance. The number 100 is significant, however, it does not scratch the surface of the diversity and talent among Black women content creators. These 100 women challenge the narrative that talented Black women content creators do not exist.”
You can find a list of the inaugural 100 Black Women HERE.
As I scrolled through the 85 Freshman Class finalists, I thought it was important to highlight the diversity of the black women selected, from size, to sexuality, to religion, to hair type, we are represented. There is a lot of work to be done in the industry, but any brand can begin anywhere, they just have to be willing to listen and do the work.
I congratulate all 85 finalists, and I wish everyone the best. Fohr will admit only 10 content creators to the freshman class, their names will be announced at a later date.