In SummaryTasha McCaskiel noticed few career opportunities and even fewer resources for Black girls in media after receiving her master's degree, so she set out on a mission to create both.
“You do know it can be multiple Black women winning in the same industry at the same time, right?”
While it may appear to some as a just a cliché or common-sense quote, Tasha McCaskiel sees it as encapsulating the overall message and aim of her organization, Black Girls in Media.
McCaskiel formally launched the organization in 2018 after noticing one of its kind once missing for women in the industry, particularly for herself.
The Charlotte, North Carolina native earned her master’s degree at New York University after studying media at North Carolina A&T University. It was in New York where she gained the majority of her experience and “really fell in love with the field.”
Following internships at Diesel Clothing, VH1, BET, and Comedy Central, McCaskiel assumed that finding work after graduation would be as simple as sending out resumes.
A series of rejections and feelings of discouragement eventually proved otherwise, and McCaskiel realized there was a need for people like her—hence the birth of Black Girls in Media.
“I just needed, at that point, to talk to other women in the industry to see if they could help me or if we could help each other,” she recalled. “I just didn’t expect it to grow how it did… next thing you know, we are more than just a group chat.”
Keeping each other encouraged and networking, the organization quickly grew into its own phenomenon, amassing more than 70,000 followers on Instagram and hosting events, as well as connecting “very talented, very qualified” Black women to the right people and roles.
“It’s real-life action behind Black Girls in Media,” McCaskiel explained. “My goal is to everybody working their dream job and the media industry and doing what they love.”
The media guru says she wants people to recognize their worth while also focusing on the wider picture. For example, she feels like she started an organization for herself but has been able to help thousands of women and organizations.
“Don’t be afraid to do the work, even work that may seem small,” she added.
Despite being more ambitious and more likely to state that they want to advance in their workplaces, research has repeatedly shown that Black women are less likely to get promoted and, in some cases, are not hired at all, when compared to their white counterparts. COVID-19 further exasperated these discrepancies.
CNBC previously reported that in March 2021, total employment for Black women was 9.7% lower than it was in February 2020, compared to 5% and 5.4% employment for white men and women, respectively. Black women also earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Statistics like these, according to McCaskiel, are what encourage her to keep going.
“It makes no sense, especially at this day and age, for me to be the only Black person in a board room,” she said. “It makes no sense for Black people, especially Black women, to be getting paid so much less than their counterparts. So, that just keeps me going to […] give our community access to these opportunities and to decrease these horrible statistics in 2022 and beyond.”
Short-term goals for the Black Girls in Media include expanding its global audience and partnering with more companies to hire “within our community,” while long-term plans include McCaskiel opening a physical co-working space where people can create content and collaborate in person, a move that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the world.
As for what’s next for the organization, McCaskiel says the organization is only going to continue to grow in numbers and opportunities, especially for the Black community.
For women wishing to advance and make an impact in the media industry, Black Girls in Media will host its annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia in June 2022.