Today on 1 October, the first day of Black History Month, you may have seen a hashtag doing the rounds on Instagram: #ShareTheMicUK. But what does it actually mean?
What is #ShareTheMicUK?
In June this year, a campaign called #ShareTheMicNow (@sharethemicnow) was started in the US to get prominent white women with large social media followings to hand their Instagram accounts over to black women whose work and voices are shaping a better future for a day – i.e, sharing the mic.
Inspired by the campaign, Vanessa Kingori MBE, publishing director at British Vogue, and Stephanie Phair, chief customer officer at Farfetch, wanted to start a similar movement here in the UK: #ShareTheMicUK.
‘This movement was born from a desire to put women’s relationships ahead of racial injustice. We are so inspired by the US campaign we now want to start our own movement to encourage White women to share their platform with Black women in the UK’, reads the first post on the @sharethemicuk Instagram account.
And so today, to kick off Black History Month here in the UK, 70 accomplished women (with a combined Instagram audience of over 175 million) have joined forces to magnify black women’s work, lives and achievements. A number of high profile white women have signed up to give their Instagram account over for a day, including Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlotte Tilbury, Fearne Cotton, Alexa Chung, Melissa Hemsley, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Skye McAlpine and many, many more.
This means that, for today, if you search any of these women’s Instagram accounts and Stories, you’ll instead find content from incredibly inspiring black women, such as author Bernadine Evaristo, TV broadcaster June Sarpong, author Emma Dabiri, WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid, gal-den founder Liv Little, Grazia fashion director Kenya Hunt or hair stylist Charlotte Mensah, alongside names from outside of the media world, such as Poppy Okotcha, a regenerative grower and forager, and Patricia Kingori, an associate professor at the University of Oxford.
How to get involved
Simply check out the hashtag #ShareTheMicUK, follow the accounts being taken over and enjoy and be educated by the wealth of content being created on them today. Then go and follow the accounts of the black women who took over the accounts to continue absorbing their important and powerful work every day after today.