Image via @thenadiameli
Dress by @poppyperspective
Models: Emma Cargill & Will Carr
Let me start by saying, I am no expert on this one. This is merely my personal opinion and experience whilst observing what is going on in the world and the wedding industry.
These past couple of weeks have been a serious hurricane of emotions for me. A big eye-opener. The fire, which has been burning for the past 400 years has turned into an inferno, after we witnessed the murder of George Floyd, by a white cop in the States.
Suddenly, the world, rather than turning its eyes away, has finally paid attention. There’s been an uprising I have not witnessed before. It feels like a revolution. And I welcome it. I embrace it. I’m proud to be a part of it.
I wasn’t raised to be a racist. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed my white privilege. I have been stagnant in fighting for equality, like so many other white people, because it wasn’t touching my life. Well, not until I fell in love with a black man and had three beautiful boys with him.
Suddenly, I had an awakening about the fact that we were not like other couples. A few comments here and there, which I dismissed as acts of ignorant people. Yes, we are an interracial family, but we love each other and have a wonderful life full of laughter.
My mantra was always “Love will conquer all”. I never thought I would have to disregard moving out of London to a predominantly white neighborhood in fear of my children being exposed to any kind of racism. I had to. So we decided to stay in our wonderful and culturally diverse South London, thinking our little bubble would be enough to protect the children from what’s happening. How very naive?! Outright stupid!
I was also guilty of not discussing racism with my children, thinking that I was protecting them from the ugly world, keen to keep their innocence I guess. My kids, until recently, didn’t even have a clue that there was an issue with the colour of someone's skin. They thought ugly things like that happened in the olden times, which they learned about, very vaguely, in school, once a year in “The black history month”.
Breaking the news that racism is still very much ripe today was heartbreaking for me, but also very necessary. After all, if I didn’t equip my children with the right tools to fight this monster, how would they ever change the world they are living in? When they asked us what race they belonged to, rather than sticking with the good old ‘mixed race’, we told them they belonged to a human race. The colour of someone's skin doesn't make them a different race. And that is our new mantra, as well as “Love will conquer all” of course.
Interesting things started happening in the wedding industry as well. Suddenly, there was a black voice coming through, for perhaps the first time, in the industry predominantly marketing weddings to a white couple. We saw that some incredible designers, makeup artists, photographers, cake makers, to name a few suppliers, started showing their faces for the first time. Talking about their experiences for the first time. Their stories about living in fear of being a face for their brand, because it might hinder their career, was a shocking realisation. Being a human-loving hippy at heart, broke me. I was so ashamed. I felt so ignorant. Complacent. How can this still be happening today? WTF? Doesn’t talent speak for itself for god's sake? BIG changes need to happen in the world and our industry indeed.
And for those industry leaders, hiding behind their white privilege of power, bullying people, not crediting them for their hard work, not including them, dismissing them, here comes a rude awakening. You will be ousted. Exposed. Shamed. Your reputation is ruined. It's already happening. And this is how it should be. Become a better human, change with the times, learn, eat your humble pie and apologise, or pack your bags and be gone. We don’t want your kind here. You know who you are!
So, this is what we, the good, the decent, the inclusive wedding industry suppliers and vendors are championing from now on, and will champion always.
As for you, our beautiful future couples, please do the same. We implore you that when searching for your suppliers, do your research properly. Find out who you are dealing with before you book them. See if the publication you want to submit your wonderful wedding images to stands for inclusivity. Try to go with diversity, not only for diversity's sake but for recognising someone's talent. No matter their gender, colour, background, or sexual orientation.
Here at The Hullabaloo Collective, this is what we stand for. If you are not of the same thinking, you need not apply.
Love and peace,