Tobi Oredein started off working for a British weekly entertainment magazine, before going on to freelance for a range of online and print publications. In 2013, after realising that the media industry was lacking racial inclusivity in its staff and content, she decided to launch the website Black Ballad with her co-founder Bola Awoniyi.
Black Ballad’s aim was to give the underrepresented voices of black women a platform, so that the human experiences of black women would be told as authentically as possible. Through commissioning regular content around topics that include health, disability, education, popular culture, careers, beauty and much more, Tobi created a publication that finally represented the intricacies of black women living in today’s Britain. In the process, both Tobi and Black Ballad earned the respect of established journalists and has become a firm favourite among black women globally. In 2016, Tobi and her co-founder decided to take the leap to transition into a membership platform, which was kickstarted by a successful crowdfund that raised over £10,500. Black Ballad relaunched in June 2017 and in addition to producing regular content, the platform organises regular events for black women to network and connect, plus gives members discounts to black owned businesses.
Besides overseeing the editorial content, events organisation and brand partnerships of Black Ballad, Tobi has become a prominent voice in mainstream women’s lifestyle media by writing about race, feminism, beauty politics and popular culture. She has written for British Glamour, Buzzfeed, The Independent, The Pool, Grazia, Stylist and more. Some of Tobi’s stand out work includes:
- How Growing Up British and Nigerian Taught Me To Be Both (Buzzfeed)
- Excluded By The Wedding Industry, Black Brides Turn To Instagram (The Pool)
- Why We Need To Speak More Openly About Colourism (The Debrief/Grazia)
Outside of Tobi’s journalism work, she has given talks and moderated panels for a broad range of events, with number of career highlights. Starting with BBC’s 2016 Black and British Season, Tobi appeared as a panelist in BBC 1Xtra’s Big Debate. In 2017, she was a speaker at TedxTottenham delivering a talk on How The Beauty Industry Has Devalued Black Women. In addition, to her public speaking, Tobi appeared in BET’s 2017 Black Girls Rock campaign and was part of Parliament’s 100 year Representation of the People Act campaign.
In the last year alone, she’s spoken at renowned educational institutions that include Cambridge and SOAS universities. She has also spoken at at The Geek Girl Meet Up Conference and NUS Scotland’s Woman’s Conference. In addition, Tobi was a guest lecturer to Temple university students from Philadelphia who were in London on a study programme.
Tobi was nominated for the 2017 Georgina Henry Award for Innovation in Journalism and in 2018, alongside her co-founder, was placed on the Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 list in Media & Marketing. Most recently, the Evening Standard stated that Tobi was one of six women you need to follow in tech. She was also voted onto the NCTJ’s 238 most respected journalists of 2018.