Why Black illustration within the media business is about greater than numbers

From recognition to action

Elizabeth Anyaegbuna is co-founder of the TV and video-centric media agency Sixteenbynine – 16x9media and recently co-founded Black Corner, a platform for corporate directories, marketing and mentoring support for black-owned companies.

She spoke of the tax black employees can suffer if inclusion is not prioritized.

“I remember being very conscious of being the only black woman in the room,” she says of her early career.

Anyaegbuna shared the experience of seeing team photos taken for attending media awards, highlighting her own face among her white counterparts, and experiencing microaggression, including comments on her hair and poor pronunciation of her last name.

“I decided to find my place at the table and influence changes,” she said.

Now she feels that something is changing in the industry – “I’ve never spoken to so many black and brown talent in my career as there has been in recent years” – although more needs to be done, such as retaining the black Talents.

Williams agrees. “It’s great to say that you want different talents through the door, but how are you going to support them?”

She describes thoughtful onboarding as something brands can do to improve inclusion – rather than making employees feel like they have to make a decision about whether to fit in or be their authentic selves.

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