Updated: Dec 7, 2021
“It’s sad because when you grow up around prejudice, there are clear indicators but you can’t be “that” girl and make too much noise or it could hinder you. I always promised myself I’d remain authentic so I distanced myself from people like that and realised that as there aren’t many other Black content creators around Ireland that I could carve out my own space. I’ve also always been proud of being Zambian and growing up in England so I always remind myself that there is a big world with space for us all.”
Being a Black female content creator in a male dominated industry is quite a challenge, but Chikumo who goes by the name A Diary of a Chik on social media is up for the challenge. She persists to ward off every obstacle that comes between her and her love for blogging. She was born in Luanshya, Zambia; grew up in Sheffield, England; and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She’s an entrepreneur, content creator and digital nomad rolled into one trying to find a way to have it all – the life, career, and a family she desires. And oh...lest we forget to mention—she’s also a massive foodie obsessed with mango.
Chikumo takes us deep into how she goes about lifestyle blogging; what content creation means to her; the perks of being a content creator; and a note to her younger self. This is Chikumo’s story, and you're about to read her diary....
I love that content creation shows me how creative I am whilst having the freedom to work from anywhere – for example, last week I was working from Paris and right now, I’m in Huddersfield where I came to meet my new-born niece.
I initially started my blog (A Diary Of A Chik) because I found it hard to explain balancing two cultures. If my parents told me I couldn’t go out for example, my friends didn’t really get why I’d just listen to them – African culture to English people was quite the enigma, so it was a way to teach others and journal (I guess) without feeling like I needed to justify myself. As time went on, I realised I enjoyed content creation as a whole then found out I could make money from it which was just an added bonus. I laugh now because my friends and family used to tell me off for taking pictures of my food but now, not only do I get paid to do it but they think something is wrong if I don’t!
Read to the end to find out Chikumo’s experience with racial discrimination as a content creator.
The pandemic has really taught me that people will hate. I also went to therapy and as I reflect, I normally realise that those people are projecting so rather than let them get to me when I’m doing something I love so much, I’ll let them do them and remain miserable. They’re always helping with my engagement rates too since they’re so nosey!!
Honestly it isn’t easy and you have to be really aware of yourself as a person. I know that I throw myself into work when things are difficult and with the pandemic, I’ve had to learn to map out my work, where it links (e.g. I can kill two birds with one stone coming up with content ideas for myself and a client) and focus on what I enjoy. I reflect on what I do a lot and rather than forcing myself to do work for the sake of work, I’m determined to focus on working with people that share my values and bring me happiness as well as working on content that challenges me.
Not setting an alarm clock also helps as I at least allow my body to get the rest it needs – my body clock is well trained now but I still sometimes have to listen to my body and give myself a day to feel what I need. I put pressure on myself a lot so I always tell myself that it’s a bad habit which I need to unlearn so a day here and there won’t be bad. I always find I’m productive after too.
People think we (content creators) don’t put any effort into what we do as if it’s as easy as picking up a camera and shooting. People don’t realise that you first need to have an idea of what you need to create, how it will look on your page/and that of the client’s (with their current themes) and then create the content and edit it. Planning alone can take days and now everything is cloud based, people think you’re just playing on your phone when half the time you’re working!
My days vary so much depending on whether I’m travelling or not. If I’m working from home then I allow myself to wake up naturally (I’ve implemented a lot of things to aid in positive mental health and an alarm wasn’t it) then always start my day off with a cup of tea to give myself time to mentally prepare for the day. I’ll then have a quick look through emails and social media. If it’s a content day, I always refer to my Pinterest boards first and/or save Reels/Tik Tok videos for inspiration before setting up.
Sometimes I have to create product photography, sometimes videos and sometimes they need lifestyle images – there always has to be music. In-between, I will get myself some food and there’s normally a client call – sometimes several! I’ll then spend the early evening looking over what I’ve created and prepare for editing. If I’m in the mood then I’ll edit whilst having a go to show in the background like Friends or Suits.
The biggest highlight for me is that content creation has become my lifeline when I was made redundant for the second time in two years. If I hadn’t started down this path, I don’t know where I’d have been. Another is that I’m meeting goals and getting to work with global brands such as Stassoffro whilst I travel. I always wanted to be able to work from anywhere and it amazes me that not only can I do that but I get to create different types of content too.
There’s an Irish company called Green Angel that I work with and they recently got me to create a campaign with my mum. Showing her how it’s actually done was really interesting as she doesn’t really get it but she’s ended up being a mini influencer with her own peers. She started off so shaky and nervous and now she asks me what else we can work on which I LOVE!
There is the saying, ‘Black female content creators have a harder time gaining visibility and recognition for their work.’ What are your thoughts on this and have you experienced this before? If yes, how did you respond to it?
I completely agree and it’s sad. When the BLM (Black Lives Matter) marches happened last year I saw a slight difference for a few months and then it went back to normal. Where I live in Northern Ireland it can be really hard sometimes. I once had a bad experience with an agency who I later realised had been told about me when they were looking for someone in my niche and they ignored them.
It’s sad as well because when you grow up around prejudice, there are clear indicators but you can’t be “that” girl and make too much noise or it could hinder you. I always promised myself I’d remain authentic so I distanced myself from people like that and realised that as there aren’t many other Black content creators around Ireland that I could carve out my own space. I’ve also always been proud of being Zambian and growing up in England so I always remind myself that there is a big world with space for us all.
As a Black woman, She’s realised that people need to surround themselves with people that lift them up. Chikumo concludes with a note to her younger self...
Our culture focuses on us becoming mothers and wives which isn’t a bad thing but knowing who you are, what you love to do and experience the world. Someone will always have an issue with what you do but as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you’d be amazed at what you can achieve and the fulfilment it gives you