Who will be my Ellen?

Every girl needs a holiday and this one is currently sipping lattes in Beverly Hills. But I had to take a moment out to write as my fingers were itching a little and the mind was buzzing.

A few weeks ago I hosted a Twitter Chat for #powerandinfluence, Is ‘Minority Inclusion’ just talk? Which happened by accident after I made a comment about how I will always have to work twice as hard and be even better to have half of what my Caucasian counterparts have, and that is the women to be clear.

I wanted that conversation to remain somewhere in the Twitter universe, never to be talked about again until I was feeling brave again because when I talk about race, I have the worst anxiety. There is that voice in my head that comes out and says, “Sit your ass down and stop being ungrateful. You have more than most have so what more do you want? More money? More power?”

So now that I am already breathing rare air will my speaking out be considered as being selfish?

But then yesterday, I stumbled on a video that has since gone viral, The Big Television Debate | Ellen Pompeo, Emma Roberts, Gina Rodriguez and Gabrielle Union by Net-A-Porter. Watching it made me realise that although I sometimes stand alone, we are many who face this every day.

As a minority, I have like many others been conditioned to be grateful and appreciate where I have ascended to. So I should put my head down work my behind off and stay out of everyone’s way. So for me to admit that I am worth a salary negotiation when a job offer is made is considered prideful. Trust me it is hard, and it is terrifying because it could mean leaving money on the table and walking away from a career-defining role when all you want to do is work.

And then I read a book that changed everything, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and that is when a switch was flipped. That meant saying yes to the things that scared me and myself, but also no. I soon learnt that agreeing to VIP tickets to a Bruno Mars gig, Kevin Hart shows and holidays is easy. Turning down a job opportunity at a Royal Institute, on the other hand, was hard. It took many phone calls to various confidants, and an email sent with a churning stomach, but this girl has worked too hard to take a pay downgrade of almost ten grand.

But that means that they will find someone else and pay her less. When does the industry that I am part of stand up and start to say actually she needs to be paid what she is worth and she shouldn’t be the only one?

What brought a tear to my eye was when Ellen Pompeo, said that it was her task to call out the lack of diversity. Becasuse sometimes all a girl needs is an Ellen to call out the injustices she doesn't experience but sees in plain sight.  

So I ask who will speak for me in this space?

“I am not asking for more; I am asking for equal.”