‘It Quickly Went From Being About Us To What It Is To Be A Black Woman In This Country’

We spoke to 'Slay In Your Lane' authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené about their journey writing THE book of 2018...

Yomi and Elizabeth

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

‘As much as this book is for everyone, I think everyone will feel uncomfortable reading this book,’ Yomi Adegoke told Grazia last summer, after Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, had just hit the stands to rave reviews. ‘Whether it’s because you feel triggered by something you read or whether you were part of it or didn’t know about it, people are going to feel uncomfortable, but discomfort is not always a bad thing – you’re learning.’

Seven months later, both Yomi and co-author Elizabeth Uviebinené are still reeling from the success of their debut book. Making people feel uncomfortable, it has proven, started vital conversations that had for so long been kept out of mainstream channels. And it’s these discussions, alongside the fact the book is a best-seller, that Yomi and Elizabeth are most proud of.

‘We had massively high hopes for the book to do really well and spark conversation in and outside of the black community, and we definitely didn't expect it to go as big as it has,’ Yomi tells me, ‘loads of black women have reached out to us and said it's been really empowering for them to see certain conversations that we haven't really spoken about on a mainstream platform before.’

‘It's very easy for books that speak to certain demographics to be ghettoized or pushed into a niche category,’ she continued, ‘but we always intentionally wanted it to be something that was mainstream and could create a conversation on a national level.’

Of course, writing a book of this calibre, that could hold this much power, wasn’t easy- especially given both Yomi and Elizabeth had full-time jobs while writing the book together. ‘Because we were working full-time, it was very intense from when we got the book deal in 2016 to right up until publication,’ Elizabeth tells me, ‘it felt like a really big production in terms of Slay In Your Lane and not just the book, we were planning so much and we had our social media platform - which was very important for us to grow and a point of contact for women who are interested in Slay In Your Lane - so for us balancing our full-time jobs, our social lives and the production that is Slay In Your Lane - the campaign around that - was probably the hardest part of pulling the whole book together.’

What helped them solider on when the task list seemed endless? Knowing what they were doing was bigger than just themselves. ‘It really quickly transformed from being about us two to being about the wider conversation of what it is to be a black woman in this country,’ says Yomi, ‘Knowing that anything you write - a throwaway line in a book - can help someone whose going through something similar or feels like they are, it's a really big push to make sure you do something to the best of your ability.’

Of course, even with that motivation, juggling so much at one time held a great risk of burning out. Endearingly though, when the task list seemed endless and demotivation crept in, it was their friendship that pushed them through.

‘I think we're very lucky that we have each other,’ says Yomi, ‘we had our down days and moments in shifts so when one of us that would be tired or need encouragement, the other one would always be there because we are best friends before we're co-authors. It's made it so that when we are working it doesn't always necessarily feel like work.’

And ultimately, experiencing the fruits of their labour together has been the biggest gift of their success. When I ask about particular highs of their journey so far, neither of them can single out one moment of their ‘ludicrous few months’, but both are very clear that achieving it all together is their greatest blessing.

‘I really enjoyed just getting to spend time with someone I'm very close to anyway, and do it in different environments and contexts, having a massive impact on other people’s lives whilst you do it,’ says Yomi, ‘It feels like a very lucky thing to be given money to do.’

Whether you consider it luck, or just their hard-work and talent prevailing, it’s something Yomi and Elizabeth are bound to continue experiencing with the release of their second book, due to come out later this year. We’re already on tenterhooks waiting for the pre-order link.

In the meantime, you can buy Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible here.

Yomi and Elizabeth are featured in our list of 10 Women Who’ve Changed The Conversation This Year. To mark International Women’s Day, Grazia and The Female Lead Have teamed up to celebrate the heroines who’ve made a difference to our everyday lives - even if you don’t know their name yet. We’ll be featuring different amazing women from the list every day online, and check out Grazia magazine on Tuesday 5th March for our list in full…

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