Episode 20: Ronke Lawal - "The Influences Of An Empire"
I’ll be the first to say that part of my life has definitely been shaped by having a first-generation identity. It’s part of what makes me as a cross-cultural kid and very much has influenced how I see and interact with the world. And while I know my experiences have an American tinted lens, I’ve had a general curiosity about what the first generation experience looks like for others — particularly for those who had parents who left homes of origin and moved, particularly West, for opportunity. Which is why Ronke Lawal is this week’s guest.
Ronke is the founder and lead at Ariatu Public Relations, a London-based PR firm with a particular emphasis on reaching the African and Carribean diaspora audiences. Not only does she have a sweet spot for amplifying Black and Brown voices in the media, she also is keen on having around race, ethnicity and class nuances that are sometimes lacking in British discourse.
Ronke and I spend a significant amount of time discussing our shared experiences of being first generation including how to define your national and ethnic identity, especially in British and American contexts. We also talk about the cost of assimilation for the working class, why corporate brands often fail at messaging around social justice and her experience studying abroad in the U.S.
I first connected with her on social media years ago and honestly, have been laughing (and learning) ever since. And you just might too, throughout this episode.
- The duality of identity (being both British and Nigerian)
- The reinforcement of classism and elitism and the impact of upward mobility
- Why there’s a struggle to discuss race in Britain
- Studying abroad in the United States
- Why corporate brands often fail at social justice messaging
To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts.