January 26, 2023

‘Token Black Girl’ Goes Viral On TikTok After Being Laid Off

It is easy to see the recent tech layoffs as businesses simply restructuring and cutting funds where they see fit. However, it is crucial for us to remember that behind every job cut is the new reality of someone’s life.

Being Black in the workplace

A recent TikTok video of a Black woman sharing her pain and frustration after being laid off from her job has triggered an all-too-familiar feeling amongst Black professionals.   


This is my accountability post 💯🙏🏾 when you’re the ONLY BLK employee at a company JUST know you’re AT WILL whether it’s a law or not 😪 #IYKYK #changeiscoming #manifestation #fypシ #bartenderstorytime #selflovechallenge #knowyourworth

♬ original sound – Aestheticsconash

YouTuber and TikTok user @aestheticsconash posted a video on her social media shortly after being fired from her job. In the raw video, she expressed her disappointment and sorrow as a Black woman fighting to climb the corporate ladder. 

“I’m so sick and tired of being the token Black person in my industry. I just literally got laid off at my job,” she explained. 

“I’m so sick and tired of walking on eggshells, abiding by people, being labeled as aggressive when I barely even raise my voice. Just for [them] to use me and then tell me it’s not your performance, it’s not your hard work – we have to do what’s best for the business.”

The pure exhaustion in her voice embodies the many challenges Black professionals – especially Black women – continue to face when merely trying to exist and thrive in a corporate space. 

Social media users flooded the replies with encouragement and love, with many expressing how relatable this video was. 

One user said, “I feel you, sis. [This] happened to me in 2016. I literally said the same words, “never again” more power to you!” 

Another user replied, “That’s the kind of energy it takes to become your own boss and be successful. Keep that passion in pain. Don’t ever forget it. We got your back. Sister.” 

Why are so many Black women leaving the corporate world?

The recent tech layoffs have also shown that Black women are the first to be disposed of when a business plans a ‘restructure,’ despite them only accounting for 3% of the industry

Although entrepreneurship seems to be the next best option for many Black and brown professionals, it is still not a viable solution for the highly hostile and exclusive workspaces that continue to exist in the corporate world. 

According to a recent study by Coqual, the increased level of micro-aggression and racial prejudice has led to a mass exodus of Black women in the corporate space. 

The study also revealed that more than half (52%) of Black women intend to leave the workforce due to insufferable working environments and a lack of career advancement. 

As Black people continue to leave corporate workforces, is it time for us to officially say goodbye to diversity in the workplace?  

This article was amended on February 3, 2023, to make it clear that TikTok user @aestheticsconash had been laid off from a bartender job, not a tech job as was implied. 
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Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.