Kenyan TV personality and news anchor Yvonne Okwara recently revealed her touching story about how she was treated differently because of her beautiful dark skin.
According to Yvonne Okwara, dark-skinned women within the media have to work harder compared to their light-skin counterparts. She also talked about the constant discrimination she faced while building her career.
In a long Instagram post, Okwara opened up about the discrimination and the stereotyping that occurs within the media houses and how bosses hire female TV personalities based on the colour of their skin and how they look like.
In the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter protests that are occurring all over the world, Africa’s TV journalists have been asked to stop beating about the bush and focus a lot more on the discrimination that’s going on in their own backyards too.
In the Instagram post, Yvonne Okwara revealed some painful and but not shocking revelations about her experience working in the media industry.
The post read;
“We are all talking about black lives matter. But we also need to reflect on our own culture in this part of the world. Colourism. Darker-skinned girls and women are treated differently. We have to work twice as hard, be twice as smart to get ahead, because, what else do we have going for us right? Because, inadvertently or otherwise this is the standard that has been set: light skin = beauty = opportunity = work = wealth = good marriage = beautiful children.” Okwara wrote in her Instagram post.
Yvonne Okwara asks Africa to pay more attention to the discrimination that is happening in our own backward especially that is based on the colour of skin
Many fans and followers joined her call for justice and responded back with warm messages encouraging her to stand tall as they all agreed on the fact that TV stations have a tendency to hire female hosts based on the colour of their skin.
The same can be seen here in Uganda too where some stations we can’t name here have been known for doing the same too. Some have gone as far to hire TV hosts based on their looks as its seen as appealing to viewers even they don’t meet the qualifications for the post.
“On a personal note, it has not been easy for me, especially in this industry, I have seen the privilege that light skin has accorded others. I have seen them get away with murder when I have been held to a higher standard. I have been expected to be smarter because ‘You don’t have the looks so you have got to use your brain instead’. It has not been easy. It is exhausting at times but it’s also rewarding. But it needs to change,” she said.
So, what do you think about Yvonne’s plight? Have you faced the same discrimination and lack of equal opportunity because of the colour of our skin, tribe, religion or anything else? Let us know in the comment section.
Yvonne Okwara is a household name in Kenya when it comes to television hosts. She has been in the media industry for over 10 years and is respected by many. She started off in Radio at Royal Media Services, has held other positions including a news producer, a show host and an anchor. She at one point worked at Nation Media Group where she started the show, NTV This Morning.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.