04 Sep #ThrowblackThursday – Black in the Day photos
How do you rewrite history? For British-born Nigerian Tania Nwachukwu, it all started with a scanner.
Tania is co-founder of Black in the Day (@blkintheday) along with JoJo, a project that aims to reclaim the lives and experiences of Black people in the UK through crowd-sourcing photographs from family archives to piece together a neglected portrait of black lives in Britain over the years.
Here Tania talks to Riposte Magazine about nostalgia, social media and #throwblackthursday…
How did Black in the Day first come about?
Black in the Day is a submission-based photo archive documenting the lives and experiences of Black people in the UK over the decades. It started when Jojo (my co-founder) and I were talking about our parent’s throwback photos from the ’80s and ’90s. We discussed the importance of archiving and telling our own stories and wondered how we could do that on a larger scale. I think our generation is really invested in defining what it means to be Black British/Black in Britain and taking control of how we’re seen. With Black in the Day we’re contributing by sourcing and preserving images of the people who came before us.
How has social media impacted the way you’ve implemented the project?
Social media has helped our project so much! We basically have the world at our fingertips and have been able to reach people beyond our own personal networks. I think people gravitate towards the project because of its nostalgic element and also the importance of what we’re doing.
“It started when Jojo (my co-founder) and I were talking about our parent’s throwback photos from the 80s and 90s. We discussed the importance of archiving and telling our own stories and wondered how we could do that on a larger scale.”
Do you find the project has created a strange kind of nostalgia? Can nostalgia be useful?
In a way yes. I think one of the most notable things our project has enabled is intergenerational conversations. We’ve sat down with grandparents and their grandchildren as they’ve gone through their photo albums and the grandchildren always come away from it learning something new about their family history and who their grandparents/parents were before their time.
We’re probably all guilty of having hundreds of files of photos that sit unloved and un-looked at in our computers. When you take a photo now are you more conscious about recording and documenting things for the future? Has working on the project impacted the way you go about documenting your own life?
I would say it’s the other way round, actually. The way I document my own life has actually impacted the way we go about the project. I’ve always been conscious of the idea of documentation and whenever I take photos or videos, I always have future Tania in mind. I always think about how lucky I am that my Mum has loads of pictures from her teens and twenties. I love going through her photo albums and seeing her and her mates looking swaggy and enjoying their best life. If I have children, I would want for them to be able to have that same feeling. To be able to see who their mother was before she became their mother.
How do you go about selecting which images to feature for Black in the Day?
We have a weekly hashtag called #ThrowblackThursday where we post a picture from our archive on all our socials. We select images for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s because the caption is touching, the colour theory pops, or because the Thursday coincides with an occasion like Valentine’s Day or Carnival. It’s an opportunity for us to choose an image to draw people’s interest in our project, to make them want to find out more and hopefully submit pictures of their own.
Learn more about Black in the Day here. Follow Tania on twitter @gwehgweh1
This article first appeared in Riposte Magazine. Read the full article here.