Find Your Voice with GUAP Mag’s, Bonita Darkoh

Bonita Darkoh wants black women to find their voices.

First up for iMullar’s picks for our #WomeninIndustry series is award-winning media strategist and GUAP Mag’s Arts and Culture editor at Large, Bonita Darkoh. Bonita first started her career in media as a corporate professional then made the pivot to freelance media and cultural documentation after encountering a lack of diversity across the industry. Specializing in campaign strategy and content development, Bonita is using her professional skills and strategic abilities to highlight stories about her community. Just last year, Bonita documented a group of Ghanaian game-changing creatives for GUAP magazine, naming a range of emerging industry greats from Beneewah Boateng of Harmattan Rain, our very own Editor in Chief, Maxwell Adjavon to multi-disciplinary creative Nana Poley who has collaborated with worldwide brands such as Gucci and Mercedes-Benz. Bonita also founded the platform “Find Your Voice Sis”, a curated safe space for black women to celebrate their accomplishments and step into their power. Bonita, using her community expertise has also collaborated on editorial campaigns for the likes of FORBES Women and Apple, making her a seasoned professional intent on diversifying mainstream media. Driven by intention and the desire to see her community succeed, Bonita Darkoh is advocating for inclusivity in media by being unapologetically herself.

How did you start your creative career?

I started in media. Like a 9-5 media professional. I realized there was a lack of diversity so I decided to use my professional skills from working in journalism, consultancy, and strategy for the good of my community. As a black woman, it was super important for me to use my skills and network to amplify these voices. I felt that it was an opportunity for me to put these people on, share their stories and give back.

What was your greatest obstacle in navigating your chosen industry?

I think in the media there’s a lot of gatekeeping. There’s a lot of people that work in the industry where if you’re not part of a certain clique then you don’t get access to that exposure. As an editor it’s something I’m trying to work against because you want to build relationships with people, you want to share a diverse range of talent. So I have to be very intentional about the content and the people I need to amplify. 

How did you overcome some of these challenges?

Working corporate, I realized that there are hardships across different industries for people like me. People feel like you don’t deserve a seat at the table, people won’t listen to you and if they do, you don’t get any credit. I basically wanted other black women to feel that they have a voice regardless of what it will cost. Being the eldest child, I feel as if I was raised as an African male, I had a voice. I realized I had the privilege to be assertive and not have to unlearn that culture of silence that is expected from black women. So I started Find Your Voice Sis so that other black women could feel like they did not have to be silent and be given the knowledge and motivation to keep going. 

How then, can we support more black women in our creative industries?

First of all, run them their money. Respect us, pay us, give us the networks we need to enable our work. Black women are intelligent and capable. Coach them to be better! It gets us to the point we need to be. Black women usually have to fight for these resources. What we all need to do is value the work they do and the potential they have. Don’t just tell me you’re amplifying a black woman, show me that you’re giving her the resources to be better. 

What does the future look like for Bonita Darkoh?

I’m in the process of building an intentional strategy for my platform FYVS that will enable women to find their voice in negotiations, workspaces, creative spaces, whatever space they find themselves in. A space where black women can feel motivated, encouraged, and valued. I have been in the industry for a while so I’m starting to question everything I do. I want to do things that empower the community, to get people paid. I have to have good intentions. Success to me is positively influencing people so now in everything I do, I’m looking to do that. 

Discover more of Bonita Darkoh and her work on Instagram and Twitter @bonitasaph 

 

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