The United Kingdom has gone a long way to eradicate racism in the work place, but unfortunately Africans know too well, that it is still there. Your accent, the colour of your skin stand you out and in certain cases, make it hard for you to fit in. Laws cannot prevent work place cynicism and the silent slurs targeted at you for being the colour you are.
A Fly Girl is Amanda Epe’s debut book, an inspirational memoir of her days working with British Airways; travel tales through the lens of a black African woman. Her readers’ journey with her from Las Vegas to India, as she explores the world whilst working for possibly the best airline in the world.
Epe’s well documented and interesting book is the first narrative of its kind as she is the first seminal storyteller on the narrative of being black Cabin crew with British Airways. Amanda Epe writes articles, essays, poetry, fiction and self help; her work has been featured in publications and anthologies in the United Kingdom, United States and in Nigeria. She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo from www.blackandoutspoken.com recently.
Why did you write this book?
I was obliged to write this for my spirit and I didn't want to take this story unpublished to the grave.
What is your favourite part of your story?
If I had to put a bookmark in one place it would be the active, funny, bright and sunny story in Miami.
At what time or point did you feel the need to write this story? It was strongly felt in 2013, a time of writing in my serene state and being fully inspired. It was the starting point anyway, at least I put a pen to paper and wrote the first paragraph, most of the work continued the following year.
Racism occurs in different ways to different people, and many people talk about this every day. What more are you adding to the conversation? My angle has some insight into the in-depth thoughts of being black and wearing the union jack.
Is there a place for the woman in the business community? During my life in the air, I worked with business savvy women and I reflect on one in particular that endeavoured to become a grand entrepreneur through trade and travel, she was an inspiration. Woman are not just in business but are on top. I admired a recent report of a Black British woman Karen Blackett who is the first businesswoman to top the Powerlist 100, and also Folorunsho Alakija on the billionaire list, the latter an example of how times have advanced with women working and trading in oil.
When you talk to women across the world, what is the one thing they tell you? We are all singing the same song but with various tunes, in the western world equality is still sought, and across the globe we are coming out, stepping up or striving to make our mark.
Is it a question really that black people are not well integrated into the community? In comparison to other western nations I feel that black community are somewhat integrated, until we are fully empowered economically there will always be marginalisation
You have a very British accent, is this book personal then? How can you suffer racism when you are British? My Britishness has a prefix, readers can learn more about this concept in reading some chapters in the book.
Returning home to Nigeria… is that an option? Good question, and to run from racism is just running, if I had ran away as a new recruit I wouldn't be telling this story, how long must one fight is another story. In the play Pandora's Box by playwright Ade Solanke this issue of returning to Nigeria was discussed, one of the characters the uncle was telling the diaspora his niece and her friend to "stay there" (U.K) and fight. The friend who had decided to make a new life in Nigeria (the character Bev whose parents migrated to Britain from the Caribbean) argued against him speaking about England saying " Uncle, I'd love to contribute to my country. I've tried to. But do they want my contribution? Well, I refuse to be wasted!" She goes on to say that we are more than English and wanting to discover another part of her. I agree with the character, and Nigeria is certainly an option. Look at the statistics of Black British actors and entertainers who cross the pond heading to USA.
You are a very busy woman campaigning for women and their issues, is this another empowering tool? It is simply my writing journey although it is part of empowering if a woman reader feels inspired in her journey by relating to my writing/storytelling, then that is a success for me.
What next? The mission continues, I must follow the call to write and to work, to do the things that give me joy, the works that are creative and that can be shared.
Why should I buy your book? Two words, I guarantee you'll engage and enjoy it.
What will our readers hear about your book that they haven’t heard elsewhere? This author shares her experiences and thoughts from her travels, and discusses taboo topics and issues not easily for conversation in our and the wider community.
If you were me right now, what sort of questions should you I be asking? O.K I would like to tell you about the euphoric feeling of delivering my debut, and that it was created for people like me, but also beyond that target group. If you ask about my readership I feel that outside of Black women in diaspora and at home, this book relates and can be read by an international audience of men and women.
How long did it take you to write this book? About nine months flat
Is there a part 2 coming on? My journey and travels continue, a travel series perhaps.
Two thoughts before you go. Many people are afraid to fly, my thoughts on this analogy is to feel the fear and still take off. I have overcome that fear of writing and sharing so please do share your stuff!
Where can we find more about your book?
A Fly Girl, the kindle version is now available on Amazon. A Fly Girl will be available in print from Amazon, Waterstones and all good retailers by January 2015.
For deluxe and author signed copies for people in the UK, you may order from Blossom Books at [email protected]
Connect with her on social media facebook.com/msroseblossom and [email protected]