Tell us a bit about #WOKEWeekly
So, we’re a forum which facilitates the debates and discussions based around and beyond the UK black community at university campuses as well as through various forms of media. Our conversations exist solely to enlighten and educate one another – providing nurturing environments and safe spaces where people can mentally bounce off each other, learn from each other, share ideas, opinions and facts; and subsequently, be inspired.
We seek to raise awareness, as well as delve into social phenomena and address stereotypes – above all, to wake people up to the subtleties and microaggressions we face as a people based on the colour of our skin alone.
What inspired you to create #WOKEWeekly?
We wanted to stunt on our ACS. What a story.
Entertainment has always been rife at universities; such a dimension has never been deficient. What significantly lacks is the level of enlightenment provided. Indefinite education is provided through academia, frequent entertainment through nightlife and all forms of miscellaneous events, but there’s a whitespace of regular enlightenment which needs to be coloured in – we aim to be that crayon. We came to the realization that our home university’s African and Caribbean Society wasn’t always capable of being fully-multidimensional so we sought to effectively fill in the blanks, and so a group of us came together establish a remedy which we initially titled #WOKEThursdays.
Around that time, there was an uprising of discussion platforms which were acknowledged by many due to the drama and intellectually-bland topics in conversation which we thought were painting our people poorly and reaffirming negative stereotypes. We sought to redeem ourselves and show that we are more.
What has been your greatest challenge in creating #WOKEWeekly?
Honestly? Getting people to format our name correctly. “#WOKEWeekly” doesn’t seem to stick, everyone ends up writing “WokeWeekly”. It’s ugly.
Aside from that, the most challenging obstacle – which still poses a stumbling block today – was the sudden realisation that we were made to be bigger than what we ever imagined.
We were just a small group of acquaintances who came together to show up on our ACS and hold some small-time debates regularly, we didn’t expect to blow up past that at all.
But we did. And so, the shift from a collective group of friends to a more “formal” franchise was clumsy and messy. Had we known that we would expand and branch out from the get-go, stricter and more organised systems would have been put in place.
But it is what it is. We growing and developing with time.
What has been the most rewarding part of creating #WOKEWeekly?
Every now and then, somebody credits us for a newly-acquired perspective. After a session, I’ve had people come up to me to say that they never would’ve thought about a particular subject in a particular way had they not been exposed to the views and opinions of others. They’d go home with a lot to think about, with a drive to expand the dimensions of their mentalities. Suddenly, they’re not so comfortable in their complacency, they seek more knowing that there’s more to learn. It’s beautiful.
As is the unity of the black community during these sessions. United by skin tone regardless of social class; whether they are urban-influenced, strictly religious, or those who are considered “too black to be white, yet too white to be black”; all of that is thrown away at a #WOKE session as the discussions ensue.
And oh, I can’t forget about the tours. Travelling around to different universities to host sessions has been so exciting and fulfilling; meeting so many new faces and seeing so many different places – we would never have been able to afford such a luxury without a valid reason to do so. It’s been such a fun experience so far and there’s still so much more to come.
What advice would you give to others trying to start their own business?
Know what you want from the get-go. Know what you’re trying to become. Have a dream. Pray about it. Construct the plan to achieve said dream. Grab people who are just as passionate about your dream and you are. Execute. When your foundation is well-built from the genesis of your business, it holds more potential to be successful.
Never believe that you’re dreaming too big, but at the same time, never be overcome and led astray by your own fantasies.
Never be afraid to explore new prospects and new ideas. Take your share of calculated risks. You’ll hardly ever grow if you stay stagnant. You never know what kind of opportunities could come your way.
Finally, give it all to God.
How can people get involved with #WOKEWeekly?
Contact us! Let us know. We’ve just celebrated our 1st anniversary and we’re making a casting call for expansion.
We’re currently recruiting managers for various CV-worthy roles to assist the cause. We’d love to have new people on board to help us out. The more the merrier.
Join the #WOKE family and prosper with us.