Everyday Pioneers... Tobi Oredein

We caught up with the inspirational Tobi Obedein, founder of lifestyle platform Black Ballad, which tells human experience through eyes of black British women. Tobi talks to us about what drove her to create Black Ballad, the challenges she has faced and the role that sustainability plays in her life.

Talk to us about Black Ballad – what drove you launch the platform?

I founded Black Ballad out of "passionate frustration." I was a freelance journalist who had worked for both entertainment and women's lifestyle publications and I was extremely frustrated with the lack of representation for black women. I felt strongly that women's magazines needed to do a better job in making sure all women of different races could be heard, so I decided to create a platform that did what others weren't - elevate the experiences of black women.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?

Funding! Funding has been a huge challenge. Black founders only received 0.24% of investment funding and that black female entrepreneurs only received 0.02% of funding - the entrepreneurs who receive the least funding - so getting investment has been a huge challenge.

How is Black Ballad addressing the stories that other media platforms miss out on or ignore?

We are simply creating the space to let Black women tell their stories on their own terms, all year round, not just when race is a trending topic. We also make sure we let Black women tell joyful stories, not just our hardships and we pride ourselves in making sure we have a diverse range of black women voices writing for us. An example of that is the fact that we purposely ensure we have black female writers from outside London commissioned.

We are simply creating the space to let Black women tell their stories on their own terms, all year round, not just when race is a trending topic.

How important was it to you to make Black Ballad a membership organisation?

It was important because it allowed us to pay black women for their words and have us the foundation for a solid business model.

You’re now crowdfunding - what will the investment allow you to achieve?

We have three main things the crowdfund money will help us achieve. It will allow us to improve our technology infrastructure, invest in more content overall (pay freelancers more, publish more video and audio content and publish more content on daily basis) and hire 2-3 full-time employees.

What role does sustainability play in your life?

I'm a huge recycler. I'm that annoying person that checks the back of packets to see if they can be recycled. Beyond that I try to limit what I buy clothes-wise. I try to invest in pieces so I don't need new bits every season.

In your opinion, how can parents embrace sustainability? Any advice you can give?

I think by being an example to your children. I actively try to let my daughter see me recycling and I talk her through it when I have her attention. I think being an example is always the best way to teach kids anything!

Black Ballad is the leading subscription media lifestyle platform for Black women in Britain, with 1000s of members paying to access our combination of content, events & lifestyle perks. You can find out more about Black Ballard and support their crowdfunding here!

be in the loop

find out more about upcoming online pop up shops, interviews and news

sign up to the newsletter