Comedian Phoebe Robinson is doing big things in the entertainment industry. And while things are certainly more diverse than they were… say, a decade ago. However, there is still a shortage of Black women in leadership roles across the board.
Robinson’s new collection of essays titled “Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes,” is out Sept. 28.
Vulture published an excerpt from a chapter of the book called “Guide to Being a Boss From Someone Who Has Been Building a Mini Empire for Two Years and Counting.” In the chapter, Robinson reflects on the lack of leadership roles for Black women growing up and throughout her career.
She says it only made her work harder to become a boss.
“Being a Black woman and a boss is the s—t! I know. I. Know. Despite all evidence displaying the multitude of the Black female experience, society is, more or less, content on boiling us down to an outdated and monolithic narrative that the BW in charge is nothing more than just breaking down one civil-rights barrier after another, delivering rousing speeches at the ready, and Negro-spiritual humming when the going gets rough,” Robinson writes.
She continues: “The common perception is that being a Black woman in a leadership role equals overcoming obstacles only to encounter more trials and tribulations, and while I didn’t believe that, I was still a bit anxious about what it would be like for me since I didn’t have personal examples to use as reference points. I’ve never had a Black female professor or high-school teacher. Same goes for never having a Black woman as a boss. Sadly, this is the norm, especially in entertainment.”
The misperception of the Black woman has led to a diminishment of her value. However, women like Robinson are working hard to change the narrative.
“Black women have so much to offer as bosses, but because of the constant negative media depiction of us, we are underpaid, disrespected, discriminated against when we’re clearly qualified, and, as a result, not considered for leadership positions,” she asserts. “And outside of Shonda Rhimes, there weren’t a whole host of examples to call on, which not only saddened me, but fueled me to be the Black lady boss I didn’t have in my life.”