As Black History Month begins in the UK, dating app Bumble has partnered with 30 leading black British voices including broadcaster Clara Amfo, model Jourdan Dunn, publishing director of Vogue Vanessa Kingori and George the Poet, to launch a campaign #MyLoveIsBlackLove. It aims to highlight the lack of black representation of images of love and relationships online.
“Representation is everything. I grew up with every single black American magazine you could think of in my house,” says British Ghanian radio DJ and television presenter Clara Amfo, as we chat on a video call. “I always saw images of black people doing great things and black people in love, so I was just used to it. And found it to be so helpful when dealing with the outside world.
“When I think about black love, I think about everything love can mean because society is so used to peddling on our trauma for news and entertainment, to the point where I think some people don’t even realise that they’re doing it,” says Amfo.
The events of 2020 have forced the world to really look at itself. It has encouraged black people to find a deeper level of connection with each other, especially following the BLM protests around the globe. But it has also highlighted that a lack of black empowerment extends to how people feel about love, relationships and romance.
According to research carried out by Bumble, who surveyed 1,000 people across the UK between the ages 16-60, black Britons want to see more relatable images and stories about black love online. It would, they say, have a positive impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing.
The data found that more than three in four black people believe there is a lack of representation about dating as a black person in the UK. Over 67 per cent of female respondents thought that black British love wasn’t well represented online, while 36 per cent of male respondents said the same.
Seeing yourself positively represented online can only build your confidence and increase your self-esteem. As society begins to let go of stereotypes and welcome more open discussions, the narrative will eventually change. But progress is slow.
It’s still not often that we see positive depictions of the black British experience and black British love at the same time. “One of the only resistances we have is joy, and that’s something black love gives,” Amfo says. “That’s why it’s so gorgeous to see black people being allowed to honestly own their own narratives.”
But for her, “it’s not just about romance. It’s about platonic love, that’s why black sisterhood is so important to me. Black women have saved my life daily. Of course romantic love comes to mind but I think about the love of self, too.”