Slay in Your Lane is the ultimate inspirational guide to life for Black British women. Written by best friends Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke, the book is a little bit like talking with your own best friends or even older sisters, such is the friendly, outgoing and informal tone.
Packed with statistics, anecdotes from the authors and from some of Britain’s most successful Black women, the book explores all aspects of women’s lives from education and employment to dating and self care, and how they are affected by racism, sexism, colorism and misogynoir.
One of the key strengths of the book is the sheer amount of research and attention to detail that has gone into it, yet it never comes across as dry or didatic. Despite the seriousness of the topics at hand, there is always a level of humour and honesty that makes the book so accessible. In addition, reading the stories of those featured in the book, gives it that extra layer of relatability and encouragement as you realise you’re not alone, and that others have gone through and are going through the same experiences.
At times I felt overwhelmed by the statistics and stories especially the ones from the authors’ university days. Anecdotes of racial abuse and microaggressions triggered a whole load of memories for me especially as I went to Warwick University as they both did, albeit several years before them, and suffered similarly. If it wasn’t for a really good group of friends I don’t know how I would have survived it all. It saddens me to know that not much has changed in the years since I’d left and only seems to have gotten progressively worse.
Furthermore, the truth of the matter is, as Slay in Your Lane shows, that although some impressive strides have been made in achieving equality for women, when you add race and all the other issues mentioned above to the mix, the outlook for Black women is rather depressing as we generally remain invisible and under appreciated in all spheres. But, that said it’s not all doom and gloom as the tide is turning, albeit slowly, as the interviews with the likes of BAFTA award winning director Amma Asante, Dawn Butler MP, and British Vogue publisher Vanessa Kingori attest. Their stories give me hope for the future – mine and others.
Slay in Your Lane is important reading not just for it’s encouragement and undisguised desire to see Black women rise to the top of every area of their lives. But also because it reveals the strong and definitive parts of Black history which women played, and still play, and still often go unrecognised for. With the publication of this, and similar books by Black women such as Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and The Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba, it’s clear that there is a space for books such as these, and I hope that the sage advice contained in Slay in Your Lane will enable and empower women to make it happen.
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