Jessica Katanga is the next guest for this series, Medical Student & Content Creator Jessica uses her platform to share her experience as a medical student and is very vocal on her social platforms when it comes to activism and raising awareness of the difficult yet necessary conversations that need to be had within our society.
My name is Jessica Katanga, full-time final year medical student and part-time Youtuber. I make videos on medicine, science, lifestyle. This lockdown my channel started with a Coronavirus information series but my most recent videos have been ‘How To: Buy Black and Buy Ethical’ and the ‘Psychology of Activism, Movements and Allyship.’
My definition of being a conscious consumer is thinking about how I can buy and use products or in some cases not buy, in order to align with the type of world I want to see. I don’t believe we need to exploit others in order to live comfortably and I don’t think it’s wise that we use up finite resources at an alarming rate.
I’ve been buying black for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Mitcham, a town in South London, I was surrounded by African culture and working-class Afro-Caribbean entrepreneurship so buying black has been easy and is quite ingrained. I could walk to my town centre and find a corner shop ran by Ghanaians, an internet café run by Tanzanians, Jamaican bakery, black hairdressers, black seamstresses, black restaurants and more.
I’ve been buying cruelty-free for three years. I’ve always vaguely known about sweatshops and exploitation but only truly understood when I had a Christmas temp job at Lush, Oxford Street. Working there also inspired me to become vegan and ever since then I have been plant-based and not looked back. In 2019, I learnt about the textile waste and exploitation of fast fashion and have drastically reduced my consumption. I enjoy really thinking about my clothes purchases before getting them and also, shopping second hand – not only is it a great bargain and combats textile waste but it also encourages you to create your own unique style and fashion sense.
The benefits of supporting black businesses is that they make products with me in mind, rather than me being an afterthought. In terms of restaurants, I personally think their food is so flavoursome and tasty like no other. If the black business is local or smaller then you can get a more genuine consumer-owner relationship, compared to a massive corporation. I also find there is more soul and creativity in their products and services. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, circulating the pound within our community is the best way we can step towards creating financial equality for black Britons.
The easiest way to check if a brand has made an ethical commitment is to go to their website and then click on their ‘About’ page. If they say nothing about fair wages or being vegan or cruelty free, then they’re most likely not.
I enjoy buying black but also buying in a sustainable manner as we must not only prop up the economy of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora but ensure we are always also cognisant of the economic and ecological flourishing of our brothers and sisters around the globe. 😊