Let’s face it, unless your wealth has multiplied like that of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, you’ve probably given 2020 permission to end before December.
At the time of writing, the Coronavirus had infected 11 241 655 people and claimed 530 668 deaths globally. Gone are the days when we watched a news bulletin, read a tweet or scanned an online article to see the spread of the virus. It’s now spreading so quickly – including a “second wave” of infections in countries which thought they were over the worst, like the USA, Brazil and Germany – that we watch its progress the way we watch a scoreboard at a sporting match. Where the latest figures once appeared on squeeze-backs of TV advertisements, there are now news channels keeping us updated 24/7 on the dismal scores in this global game of survival.
If anything’s distracted our attention from the virus, it’s the #BlackLivesMatter movement. After witnessing the murder of George Floyd, the worldwide protests it triggered were something of a relief. Besides the crucial conversations it triggered relating to race and gender relations, and the degree to which big business is shifting gears in order to remain on the right side of history, what I’ve appreciated most is the tracking of a different scoreboard.
For the first time in months, the world feels normal again, only because we’re reminded of other viruses we’ve always had, such as systemic racism, social inequality, gender-based violence and the many forms of gender-based inequality. For me, these conditions are as viral as COVID-19 because they spread (through teaching), infect (through learning) and kill all sense of hope. To a certain extent, we thought consistent use of a mask, sanitiser and social distancing would bring us back to “normal”, but it seems the Coronavirus isn’t that containable. Similarly, the social viruses listed above have been left untreated – and, indeed, unmentioned – too long, and too pervasively, to be eradicated easily. It will take a lot of hard, painful work for the social order to reshape itself equitably – but reshape itself it must, and will.
As an extension of our COVID-19 special edition, this issue focuses on the long-ignored, yet exploited contributions of Black women and those of the LGBQTIA+ community across the board. Being Black is one thing, being a Black woman is another thing – and being a Black female in the LGBQTIA+ community still another, with increasing layers of challenges. To be all of these, as well as an entrepreneur or freelancer in the creative economy, is the ultimate difficulty. On all fronts, the world has historically exploited the potential profit in these individuals, yet it has never invested in them appropriately. On the contrary: it has ridiculed, violated and denied their places on the planet.
In this issue, we address the global shift towards an inclusive economy for Black businesses and how our failure to eradicate GBV towards Black women and the LGBQTIA+ community compromises the legitimacy of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. While DESTINY – as a Black-owned media platform – has always addressed this conversation in one way or another, we recognise our responsibility to do so much more loudly and clearly. Healing the deeper pandemic suffered by Black women won’t be accomplished in this issue, but it must certainly begin here, today, right now. Given its urgency, tomorrow is too late.