A wedding planner is fighting to have more Black and queer love stories told in the mainstream wedding industry.
Earlier this month, Jordan A. Maney — the San Antonio, Texas-based CEO and chief wedding planner at All The Days — posted a video to Instagram calling for mainstream publications to showcase more love stories that center Black relationships.
“STEP UP Wedding Industry! We need more than black boxes we need pledges of anti-racism by your company heads and action plans. You have the resources, you can make the time,” she captioned the video.
Maney followed up her video with a petition on Change.org calling for wedding publications and registry sites like Zola, The Knot, Pinterest, Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings and more to not only make a pledge to tell more Black stories, but to also be actively anti-racist and implement action plans to provide better representation. So far, more than 1,100 supporters have signed.
The wedding planner tells Yahoo Life that she has gotten such a “heartwarming” response to her petition, adding that businesses that were not named in the petition have even reached out to her.
“Small business owners in an industry massively economically impacted by coronavirus are dedicating themselves to learning, hiring and doing better,” she says. “That reminded me of the beauty of the industry. Seeing companies in the U.K. and New Zealand reaching out surprised me. Seeing companies like Joy App, that I didn’t call out, respond so positively surprised me too. I didn’t think anyone would really hear me because I was beginning to think my voice didn’t matter. But it does and I’m really grateful for the people who took it to heart.”
Maney explained that she was inspired to create this petition after seeing a report by Splendid Media, a wedding marketing firm, which found that 2020 wedding media represented just 2 percent of non-white couples.
“I didn’t understand how businesses with valuations of $600 million and more struggled with representation when they had resources and platforms small businesses like mine do not,” she says. “I couldn’t believe the rush to say they support Black lives when we’re dying, but their track record of support for us while living and loving was scarce.”
That’s especially true when it comes to Black queer stories, Maney notes.
“All people want is to be seen and celebrated,” she says. “For an industry that’s predicated on that, we all need to do better, myself included. I think it ultimately comes down to implicit bias in editorial teams and fear of being seen as taking a political stand. But weddings have always been political. People are politics. So shying away from it is a choice majority white, straight, thin, able-bodied teams and brands can make.”
Maney adds that she would like the wedding industry to become less reactive and more proactive about their hiring practices, evaluating their own biases and being willing to make mistakes in the effort of doing better. So far, of the companies that she named in her petition and Instagram post, only half have responded to communications she has sent them.
“The narratives we have about who has access to power, wealth and happiness dictate the trajectory of our lives,” she says. “If you don’t see yourself in an industry dedicated to love, you can begin to believe you don’t deserve any. I’ve had people tell me they’ve had identity crises because their hair texture, body, skin color, gender identity, the totality of who they are doesn’t exist in wedding media. That’s heartbreaking. If they don’t see you, you begin to think you’re invisible or you don’t matter. We can convince ourselves that weddings are inconsequential, that the industry is froufrou, but it’s not true. If you don’t believe love is available to you, if you don’t believe it’s even possible, what kind of choices do you make? What kind of life is that?”
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