Grasp Paying Black Women This Autumn for their Lived Experience Hearts and Minds – Like You Pay Brené Brown

a Black woman speaking to an audience about her lived

The spotlight turns to Black History Month as the calendar flips toward October. And organisations will be keen to show diversity credentials.  Amid this flurry of activity, one critical aspect often remains obscured – the equitable compensation of Black women for their invaluable contributions.  Black women must be paid and not just offered the incentive of exposure; it’s not a currency that major supermarkets, mortgage companies and other businesses accept.  

Black women possess a reservoir of unique and profound perspectives, meticulously etched by the brushstrokes of their lived experiences. Their narratives, insights, and wisdom hold profound worth, offering a lens through which we can more fully comprehend the tapestry of history, society, and culture. Regrettably, these stories are frequently extracted with meagre offerings of pay or vouchers, a paltry return for the emotional weight of baring their souls. It’s high time we rectify this injustice and acknowledge that Black women deserve both recognition and financial compensation for their contributions.

1. Amplifying Authentic Voices

Throughout history and into the present, the emotional well-being of Black women has been persistently marred by the corrosive forces of sexism and racism. This convergence has a name: Misogynoir. It has perpetually consigned Black women to the margins, their voices often silenced, their stories either overlooked or misappropriated. Furthermore, there are scant references to the position of Black women during enslavement, a story of devaluation which impedes the evolution of Black women today.

So, by compensating them for sharing their lived experiences, we affirm their authenticity and give them a platform to reclaim their narratives. Paying for their stories acknowledges their expertise in navigating their unique challenges and fosters a more inclusive and equitable society.  

Consider the case of Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement. Her story of overcoming adversity as a Black woman and her dedication to helping survivors of sexual assault has resonated globally. By compensating her for her speaking engagements and work, organisations acknowledge her expertise and amplify the authentic voice behind the movement.

2. Redressing Historical Injustices

The experiences of Black women have often been mined, exploited, and commodified without due reference, context, or compensation. Take, for instance, the story of Henrietta Lacks, whose HeLa cells made groundbreaking contributions to medical science. Her narrative languished in obscurity, unrewarded for years. These instances perpetuate a cycle of exploitation and erasure, compounding historical injustices.

Paltry remuneration is incapable of fostering a positive self-concept. Conversely, fair compensation rectifies this historical injustice and addresses the economic disparities that have disproportionately burdened Black women. It acknowledges their labour, enabling them to benefit from monetising their experiences and cultivating self-esteem directly.

3. Recognising Emotional Labour

Sharing lived experiences necessitates vulnerability, emotional labour, and the willingness to confront past traumas. The stories of Black women carry boundless educational and transformative potential, educating others and nurturing empathy. Recognising the emotional labour inherent in their storytelling and compensating them accordingly acknowledges the emotional toll it exacts and encourages them to continue sharing their stories.

As an inspirational public speaker, I have spent years researching and sharing insights on the trauma, molestation, and sexual violence that scar our society. Addressing these issues is no small feat; the emotional labour invested in this work merits equitable compensation. Organisations that extend fair compensation for my speaking engagements do so while recognising the emotional toll this labour extracts. We must not participate in our exploitation if businesses do not want to compensate us adequately.

4. Economic Empowerment

Compensating Black women for sharing their lived experiences acknowledges their value and contributes to their economic well-being. It enables them to pursue their passions, attain financial stability, and invest in personal growth. In pursuing financial stability, Black women gain greater agency, thus wielding more influence in shaping their communities and dismantling systemic barriers.

5. Encouraging Diversity and Inclusion

Compensating Black women for their narratives fosters diversity and inclusion across various sectors, including media, academia, and the arts. By appreciating and investing in their unique perspectives, we weave a more vibrant tapestry of knowledge and creativity. Compensating them for their lived experiences encourages organisations to actively seek out and engage with diverse voices, thereby facilitating more authentic representation and a broader range of perspectives.


Even prominent figures like Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, have faced gender and racial bias throughout their careers. Serena has been a vocal advocate for equal pay in sports. Recognising and addressing the pay disparity for Black women athletes like Serena is a crucial step toward creating a more equitable society and acknowledging their contributions beyond the sports arena.

These examples underscore the importance of recognising and compensating Black women for their invaluable contributions across various fields, from activism to literature to entertainment. To change the connection of Black women with racism, sexism, and society, businesses must be willing to pay proper compensation for their shared stories. Additionally, companies must support equal pay. Paying Black women for sharing their lived experiences is a matter of fairness and justice and a crucial step toward creating a more inclusive and equitable society. By compensating them, we recognise and honour their expertise, amplify their voices, and contribute to their economic empowerment. It is time to value and support the stories of Black women, acknowledging the transformative power they hold and their rightful place as contributors to our collective understanding and growth.

One Comment

  1. SJ 13 September 2023 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Great work Roz – keep it up!

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