How Pinterest Marketer Belinda Boakye Launched “Black Gold”
When Belinda Boakye returned to London in late 2019, she knew she was ready for another career pivot. After a successful career as a digital marketer with big agencies and brands, she had spent the last five years as a freelance marketing consultant helping tech startups and social enterprises scale their businesses through strategic growth marketing campaigns. The work took her to Brazil, Spain, and the US, but she returned home from San Francisco ready to find a new in-house position to which she could bring the experience and global perspective she had acquired through her freelance work. “And so I've been at Pinterest for nearly two years now,” she reflected. “It was quite the leap back into the corporate world and I’m happy to have found a welcoming home here. It’s flown by like I started just yesterday.” Within a year of stepping into her position, Boakye was already changing the game for the thousands of Black creatives who have incorporated Pinterest into their work. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, she and colleague Hannah Ngakane started thinking about finding a meaningful and holistic approach to celebrating what Black culture means to the platform.
“I've been at Pinterest for nearly two years now, It was quite the leap back into the corporate world and I’m happy to have found a welcoming home here"
"There was definitely a foundation there," Boakye explains. "There was a pipeline of creators that the Pinterest UK team had already worked hard to cultivate relationships with so it was about activating those relationships and looking outside the box. It was a very emotional time, but it was also a chance to recalibrate, think about what was important, and create a more inclusive Pinterest experience."
Their concept evolved into Black Gold, Pinterest’s first consumer-facing celebration of Black History Month in the UK. The initiative spotlighted Black creators with an intentional focus on intersectionality, assuring a diverse selection of voices to amplify. Off-platform, Black Gold was presented as an event allowing speakers within the Black British community to address issues that were topical locally while laying the groundwork for the type of social impact initiatives Pinterest hopes to broach in the future.
At the forefront of this project for Boakye was securing a budget to ensure that those involved were properly compensated for their time. From guest speakers at the Black Gold event to creators delivering bespoke new content, ensuring they were paid for their time, experience and emotional labour was imperative. "That's something we're also thinking about for the next iterations in terms of the ingredients that made Black Gold work."
By the time the Pinterest teams in the U.S. and Germany were planning their Black History Month content in February 2021, Boakye and her team were able to hand over tips and best practices for Black Gold’s success. "There wasn’t a template before," she says of planning the event and making notes for the future. "But I see that as a gift: the blueprint was ours to write. We were very meticulous in terms of tracking what we were doing so it was easy to build on the success. It was an exhilarating process." Pinterest is creating a company that includes all people, and building a product that reflects our diverse population of 450+ million Pinners. It believes that future platform innovation comes from the wide range of identities, experiences, and perspectives of employees building our product.
A year later, once more we're celebrating UK and Ireland Black History Month, and Black Gold is back. Learn more about this year's activations here.
To learn more about Pinterest or to apply for their available roles please visit their BYP jobs board here