This week, we speak to the founders of the Black Girls Book Club, Melissa Cummings-Quarry and Natalie A Carter. The Black Girls Book Club is more than just a book club for black women, it creates a safe space to discuss literature and issues that affect black women, and has the seal of approval from Mariah Carey and British Vogue.
What do you do in a sentence?
We are the UK's premiere book club event for Black Women. BGBC isn't a networking event, it's a lifestyle.
How did you come up with the idea?
We have been friends since secondary school and have always loved swapping books, brunch and sharing our lives with each other and wanted to share our friendship and sisterhood with other black women who love books. We wanted to celebrate Black Women authors and stories that centred the experiences of black women.
Why are safe spaces so important?
Black women deserve the best. The best luxurious experiences, the best food and to be surrounded by other dope black women. We can't wait to feel included or welcomed. Creating safe spaces for ourselves where we can authentically be ourselves and love each other is part of our survival.
What does representation mean to you?
It means being seen. Being the first thought, rather than an add on or an afterthought. It means taking up space and claiming our seat at the table – even if we have to break down doors and shake tables in order to get it.
What’s your advice for someone looking for creative freedom to do what they love?
Look after yourself. Once you make the step to pursue what's on your heart, you will get tired, you will need a break. Don't fall into the trap of grinding or hustling. Do what you love but love yourself first.
What’s your favourite Afrocenchix product?
Natalie: Natural scalp oil (Soothe). My scalp has never been the same since I used it. It is a dream.
How can we support your current projects?
Our Debut book GROWN - the black girl's guide to glowing up is being published in Sept 2021 - you can pre-order it. Please follow us on social media @bg_bookclub on instagram and Twitter to find out about our next events.
About The Women Doing Bits Series: This March, we’ll be talking to impressive women in our community (like Bola Sol, Abadesi Osunsade and Sharmadean Reid) about what they do, how they came up with their big ideas and much more.