Tineka Smith, Founder Of Card Publisher Huetribe Speaks Out On The BBC On Diversity

Tineka Smith, founder of greeting card publisher Huetribe has been recognised as a diversity expert by the BBC and as part of this was invited to share her views on an extensive radio programme recently that aired on BBC Five Live. Tineka, a long-time champion for diversity (and started her card company as part of this drive) is also communications advisor for the United Nations.

In addition to those who tuned in to listen live to the programme, which covered many aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for change, an excerpt of the programme, hosted on Tineka’s Facebook page clocked up another 40,0000 views in only a few days following the broadcast. Click here to view Tineka’s post.

Above: Festive diversity from Huetribe.
Above: Festive diversity from Huetribe.

As Tineka said on air: “The murdering of black men, women and children isn’t new. It’s not just about George Floyd, it’s been happening for decades; for centuries. The difference now is that we now have social media and video.”

Of the support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Tineka told PG Buzz: “There is definitely a good sign of change and people wanting to learn how they can help diverse communities.”

Above: Tineka (arms up) at a recent BLM demonstration in Geneva (where the United Nations is based).
Above: Tineka (arms up) at a recent BLM demonstration in Geneva (where the United Nations is based).

Tineka hopes that this ‘change’ will extend into the greeting card industry with the result that it reflects a greater understanding of those from diverse communities.

“When I started Huetribe, I commissioned a report the findings of which showed how the 52% of people of colour feel under-represented on greeting cards and

73% of Britons feel minorities are excluded from greeting cards.  There is clearly room for improvement,” says Tineka. (PG Buzz covered the report when it was first published. https://www.pgbuzz.net/some-73-of-brits-say-minorities-are-excluded-from-greeting-cards/

Above: A new design from Huetribe.
Above: A new design from Huetribe.

As well as seeing an opportunity for black publishers and designers to be championed, she would also like to see greater collaborations with “black publishers working with retailers

and white publishers to ensure that the cards out there have relevance. I saw a greeting card design from a white publisher featuring a dark skinned black woman, like myself but with very bright rosy cheeks. A dark-skinned woman like myself does not have bright red cheeks. However if that publisher had worked with a black designer or publisher this situation would have been avoided.”

Above: Tineka, and her husband, Alex, have been together for seven years. They have always had difficulty finding cards that reflect their interracial relationship. When Alex gave Tineka a card with penguins on it – because it was the only greeting card with a ‘black and white couple’ he could find. 
Above: Tineka, and her husband, Alex, have been together for seven years. They have always had difficulty finding cards that reflect their interracial relationship. When Alex gave Tineka a card with penguins on it – because it was the only greeting card with a ‘black and white couple’ he could find.

As covered on PG Buzz recently, black-owned publisher, KitsCH Noir received the backing of Scribbler for its #CelebrateBlackMen campaign (https://www.pgbuzz.net/scribbler-supports-kitsch-noirs-celebrateblackmen-campaign/) while Dayo Williams of Dayo’s Cards and Georgina Fihosy of AfroTouch Design have both been instrumental in pushing for better representation for cards that cater for the black community. https://www.pgbuzz.net/speaking-out-about-racism-and-initiating-change-in-the-greeting-card-sector/

Tineka agrees with Dayo and Georgina that through further dialogue within the greeting card community meaningful change can happen.

“I do hope that when I go on air in the future and talk about diversity in creative industries I can highlight the positive work happening within the greeting card industry,” said Tineka.

Top: Tineka Smith (arms up) at a recent BLM demonstration in Geneva.

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