As a black woman, I felt like writing this open letter. Indeed, this movement caused by the death of George Floyd, who was killed because he was black, generated the excitement of a collective rage that led to revolt movements. I am defending these movements for good reason: I feel and I am concerned. I live and see racism, discrimination, injustice and various hardships that I would not have suffered if I were not ME.
The problem is not France or your country of residence. The problem is the people who make the decisions and the education. Whether it’s the French state or another, the source of the problem is that not enough is being shown that racism is not just the fight of the oppressed but of all those who are against the oppressors.
Here are some thoughts I’ve had since I started Kodd Group in October 2013: “I thought you were Asian and in your 40s” “Are you sure you’re the founder ?” “I’m sure you’re lying, prove to me that this is your company !”, “Are you the spokesperson for Kodd ? The communications officer ?”, “People like you only do community projects”, “I was surprised to hear that a black woman, a woman, was the head of Kodd”, “Do you report your bills ?”, “Does your company really exist ?”, “Do you have an accountant ?” … The list is LONG… I’m not writing you all these stories to victimize myself, far from it. My goal is to make you understand what I AM LIVING WITH, what a lot of black people actually experience on a daily basis. These words made me doubt when I was younger, but I won’t give up!
Before George Floyd, there was Adama Traoré in France who experienced a similar situation on his birthday, July 19, 2016. Both had the same words which unfortunately were the last words they could express: “I can’t breathe”. This tragic event caused an indignation from his sister Assa Traoré, who for 5 years has been fighting to obtain JUSTICE for her brother. France, a State governed by the rule of law, the homeland of Human Rights ? That is the question. I have only mentioned these two men who are unfortunately only two victims among hundreds or even thousands of others. Not being a specialist in politics, I leave you to reflect on the situations and I invite you to find out more about Adama Traoré by clicking here and about George Floyd by clicking here.
My letter subject: So what’s next ? A question that I have been asking myself since this movement has awakened consciences or allowed everyone to express themselves openly WITHOUT TABOO. Many fashion houses, companies, international firms have expressed their support by using #blacklivesmatter #blackouttuesday hashtags, by making press releases and by posting images related to the movement.
Supporting a movement is all well and good, but what actions are they going to take to contribute to the education of this problem that we, black people, are born with ? There is no need to talk about the inequality, the discrimination that many people denounce on the part of large corporations. Hire more black people in positions of responsibility or, better still, stop recruiting on the basis of a candidate’s skin ? Collaborate with more influential black personalities ? Stop prejudices about the black community ? Educate employees ? Explain racism, discrimination clearly and accurately in the workplace ? Sanction in a firm way, i.e. BLACKLISTEN the oppressors ? I can spend days, weeks, months asking myself all these questions that will not have clear answers because it is not simple.
They will say that there is a lot at stake, that it could affect their structures. Yes BUT, why work or take advantage of the notoriety of famous BLACK personalities if there is no internal support ? Why be justified in fighting racism, discrimination and injustice ?
“Nothing is more dangerous in the world than true ignorance and conscientious stupidity” said Martin Luther King. Indeed, ignorance is a big part of it. The goal is not to justify oneself or to have anyone else’s agreement, let alone to be accepted by other communities. Kodd Group is a company that advocates diversity. That is to say, we publish ALL PROJECTS that correspond to our editorial line which is: DISCOVERY. Despite this, we continue to receive messages from companies, entrepreneurs, brands, artists… Black people who ask us if our media, our platforms also talk about Africans. In the early years of Kodd, I made a personal choice to hide myself to grow Kodd the right way because of my skin. I was convinced that if our partners saw that I was black, they might not want to work with Kodd Group. About a year ago, I decided to come out of hiding because I felt I was ready for this.
It’s very serious because even some people around me said to me, “Do you work at Kodd’s ? I like it too much! Do you think they’d accept me if I applied ?” “Can you get me the contact info for Kodd’s manager, please ? I have a project to propose to them” And when I told them they have to talk to me about it, and I am the Kodd Group’s CEO, they were surprised if not shocked, to learn this famous news.
No Kodd Group is not a Western company. Kodd Group was created to allow brands, companies, artists… to be (re)discovered via several platforms in order to put in confidence other media, platforms… I created this project following a personal problem because there was not at that time, in 2012, when I had my clothing brand, a media, a platform like Kodd. We all need and want to have our FIRST TIME without necessarily spending a huge budget to make ourselves known.
I confirm you for the umpteenth time that Kodd Group accepts EVERYBODY. What we demand: THE PROFESSIONALISM OF YOUR PROJECT/STRUCTURE.
Finally, education must begin with ourselves, we must support each other by sharing our projects, by collaborating without fear or hatred of seeing the other succeed. As one of my relatives often says: “Respect each other before you want to be respected”. We are only at the beginning of the battle! To win it, we must stop depending on or wanting the approval of other communities. If you want to create a project that will make a difference and change mentalities, DO IT. There is no small fight, 1 LIFE 1 CHANCE.
KODD GROUP’S FOUNDER