Comedian and ‘Loose Women’ panellist, Judi Love, explores the social, political and economic barriers that Black women face, in her new documentary, ‘Black, Female and Invisible’.
In the documentary, she sits down with other black women and girls, as they share and compare their lived experiences and feelings of often not being seen, listened to or supported whilst navigating life in the UK.
Judi unveils the damning statistics which point to major inequalities in education, including the misogynoir (misogyny towards black women) young Black girls are said to be subjected to at school, issues in the workplace and the healthcare system, including poor levels of care, inaccurate diagnoses and maternity deaths attributed to institutional neglect.
Judi discovers the real stories behind these statistics and meets the inspirational women determined to create change for the next generation.
Although we say society is blind to it, I think there is a good percentage that know. I find that many black women have been in spaces where they want to speak out about things that have happened to them or where they’ve been either muted or pushed back or not taken seriously.
Despite these barriers, Judi managed to defy the odds stacked against most Black women living in the UK today and made the successful transition from working in social care, to a career in comedy and now television, where she has become a household name.
Comedy was that place where I could stand up and be myself. I could do all the things I wanted to, and I suppose that’s what it shows you — be yourself….Comedy is a place I can be my black, dyslexic, plus-size, single-mum self.
Judi’s biggest TV job is arguably joining the ITV’s Loose Women panel, which now has several permanent Black panellists, including host Charlene White and also Brenda Edwards. She also went on to make history on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, for being the first contestant to dance to dancehall music and of course that famous twerk, whilst performing the Samba to Sean Paul’s “Get Busy”.
It however has not been an easy journey to the top, and she recognises that there is still a lot of work to be done within the television industry where representation is concerned.
I’ve been in shows where I’ve had to sit there and just be like, okay, there’s nobody to do my hair and everyone else is getting theirs done.
Judi is determined to support other black women in any way that she can as she too has been supported herself by other Black women in the industry. She hopes that with this documentary, that anyone who feels invisible recognises the benefits of the support the community can provide, sisterhood amongst other women and effective self-care.
Whether it’s therapy, if you can afford it, or writing it out, what we’ve built up internally really affects our health, our mental health, our emotional, and our physical health. Articulate how you’re feeling and the change that you would like to see. Find your tribe. Many black women are out there not just in front of the camera but behind the camera, in social care, in business, in science. Reach out.
Part of ‘Black and Proud’ on Channel 4, the documentary airs tonight, Monday 17th October, at 11:05pm on Channel 4.