In this instalment, resident blogger Dami Fawehinmi interviewed wellness and natural hair blogger Saabirah Lawrence. Saabirah uses her platform to spread positivity, talk about mental health, give advice and is vocal about the Black experience. Her powerful and motivating platform provides and inspiring narrative that all need to hear.
Tell us about your journey.
My journey now is different to the journey I thought I would be on. I found myself feeling lost and unsure about what I wanted to do. I started blogging four years ago as a way to find my voice and use it to share my thoughts and options on race and inequality. My blog has now become a space for me to share my thoughts and advice on a variety of topics from wellness to supporting black owned businesses. I didn’t know when I started that writing and creating a social presence would build my confidence and allow me to experience some amazing opportunities.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would say speak up! Doing the work I have to do now in order to give myself permission to use my voice can sometimes be uncomfortable and repetitive. I would tell my younger self to speak up and use your voice, so that it’s one less thing to think about when you get older.
What do you believe will drive change in the Black community?
A better sense of community and togetherness would do that, I think sometimes we can be a little discounted. It is definitely getting better, but in terms of just knowing who does what and where help is needed, that would be a big change in our community. A better network essentially. There are black owned businesses and black individuals doing amazing work at the moment and I think if we all knew what was happening in our community it would be easier to support each other.
What is your biggest failure?
I think my biggest failure was thinking I had to be like everyone else in order to be successful. I did what everyone else did just because I thought it worked for everyone, but it doesn’t work that way. Use what others do for inspiration but always create your own lane and your own style. It can easy to just do what those around are doing especially if they do something similar to you, but it’s so important to create something for yourself.
What is your biggest success?
My biggest success to date is doing my first public speaking at an event on mental health within the black community. It is such a necessary conversation and I am really happy to be able to be involved.
What three pieces of advice would you give young black professionals?
1. Know why you want to do what it is you’re doing and have a very detailed idea of your audience. Constantly ask yourself, “How does this serve my audience?” You’ll find that it makes what you do a lot easier. This goes hand in hand with your “why”.
2. Tell people who you are and what you’re doing. I can’t tell you how many times an opportunity has come up based on me telling people I am a blogger, along with what I write about and even some ideas I may have that aligns with the individual or business need or are looking for.
3. I always think try everything once, I’m only now trying a few things that I would have never tried before like modelling for a beauty brand campaign. The more you try out a few things the easier it is to define what it is you want and also what your strengths are.
How do you seek out opportunities relating to your field?
It can be scary at times, but I pitch my ideas to people. In the past few months I’ve sent so many pitches. It’s important to note that the best results come from you already having an idea and knowing how that brands and businesses can be involved. Come with an idea that is mutually beneficial, you won’t always get a yes, but the more you pitch the easier it gets.
I also use Black British Bloggers for a few opportunities. If you’re signed up to the the newsletter, there’s a few opportunities that come up and if it’s something I am interested in, you can send your details over.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
I really want to start doing events I’ve been to so many and I’m looking forward to biting the bullet and doing some of my own. I will be having my first writing event this year.
Would you like to add anything?
Live your truth! Use your experiences and even your struggles to create something beautiful.