Inspiring music industry artist, Namywa (pronounced Nam-eye-wa), is on a mission to amplify the unsung voices of women and girls from marginalised communities, supporting creative entrepreneurs with her new Community Interest Company (CIC), GirlGrindUK.
Herself spending a number of years on the grind against the all-too-familiar barriers she has navigated to success in the music industry as a black woman from Birmingham, Namywa tells us how she was inspired to help other young, up-and-coming artists find their path, break through and never allow their self-worth to be undermined or determined by such obstacles.
She originally did so at just 24 years old by founding the organisation Namywa Change Formation and was awarded just under 17 grand in funding from UnLtd - Space for Change Fund and Arts Council, at the time through the Grants For The Arts program to deliver arts projects in collaboration with women and girls from Black, Asain and Minority Enthinic (BAME) communities.
The organisation did well and she’s proud of the work they achieved but, she says, it struggled to “get any further”. Reflecting on the experience now, Namywa believes this was down to a combination of reasons, partially down to her not having a clear enough vision about what her mission and goals really were but mostly down to the lack of openness and willingness toward improving and humanising the voices of women of colour across the sector at the time.
Her mother, Winsome, also played a pivotal role in the formation of GirlGrindUK as she never stopped encouraging Namywa to develop the idea, knowing and believing herself that it had great merit and “needed to get off the ground”.
GirlGrindUK is a CIC rooted in her profound consciousness of social and environmental issues, as well as her commitment to the advancement of talented, entrepreneurial women and girls from BAME backgrounds.
In her own words, GirlGrindUK “inspire[s], rejoice[s], and cultivate[s] women and girls along their personal and professional grind” guided by the belief that “ambition in girls starts at a young age”.
There are two strands to the support and services offered by GirlGrindUK: Grownish for girls aged 12-17 and Womanish for young women up to the age of 30.
Through arts based and other projects, events, campaigns, and well-being advocacy, GirlGrindUK is all about investing in passionate, creative women to up-skill and entitle them.
At the moment, Namywa is working on the social media presence of GirlGrindUK. She’s taken on an apprentice content creator and used Shakti Women Studios to develop a series of videos to promote their ethos and build a following.
GirlGrindUK is growing. Namywa is already set to send out her first mailing to new registrants. She is enthusiastic to deliver much-needed services to women and girls in Birmingham and is absolutely bursting with creative project ideas that she hopes to get going as soon as we’re out of lockdown.Telling stories through art is a huge part of the work that will unfold.