Four Black Professionals Share How They Made The Move to Dubai

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With remote work opportunities increasing across multiple industries, the shift in perspective spurred by COVID and the racial unrest of 2020, many professionals of colour considered relocation to places for a simpler life or a new adventure. Many black professionals are moving or considering a move to expand their horizons and at BYP we aim to support and celebrate black professionals everywhere and act as global resource.

We spoke to four black expats who made the move to Dubai and share their journey and experience so far. Meet them below.

Jayde-Olivia Sandy
Product Designer/Co-Founder of Olly & Franc

Hi, I’m Jayde! I’m a Product Designer, mentor, speaker, educator and Co-founder of Olly&Franc; an initiative with the aim of being a voice for Black women in the design industry.

As a long-standing member of BYP Network I was featured in The Blackprint on ITV during Black History Month 2021, and most recently launched BY-Peers Dubai. Connect with me here.

How did you get into product design?

Long story short, I think I accidentally on purpose ended up being a Product Designer. As someone that loved art as a child, I studied art then went on to do a degree in Graphic Design (because my friends were doing it). After graduating, I quickly learned that I enjoyed designing for digital rather than print and logos and UX/UI allowed me to find meaning in the things I was designing and make use of a lot of my personality traits, like my constant need to understand ‘why?’.

Why Dubai?

I was scrolling through LinkedIn and saw a role being advertised, so I decided to reach out to the person to find out more about that type of role as it was something I wanted to work towards SOMEDAY, that ended up being that day because within 2 weeks I had been offered a job and I HAD to take it because it’s Dubai and I had been saying for the past year I wanted to work abroad some day.

Tell us how you’re changing the black narrative in Dubai

I hope to influence the Black narrative in Dubai through hosting BYP events and connecting Black professionals and supporting their ventures and businesses.

Tuoyo Sakpere
Crypto Trader

Hi, my name is Tuoyo but most people call me T. I was born and raised in South London but I’m a proud Nigerian. I am a self-taught crypto currency trader and have been trading crypto on a full time basis since April 2020. When I’m not trading, I Iove watching/playing football and making music in my spare time. Connect with me here.

How did you get into your line of work? I first began trading the forex market in 2014. It was just something I was doing on the side whilst working as a business development manager. Fast forward to 2017 when I came across Bitcoin and cryptocurrency for the first time. I gradually started to trade cryptocurrencies as well as the forex market until I made the decision in 2019 to just focus on crypto. Like many people, I was made redundant as a result of covid and decided to use it as an opportunity to trade full time. Thankfully , things started to fall into place and I haven’t looked back since.

Why Dubai? I have a few friends who live in Dubai who had been telling me to come and visit for ages. I finally visited for the first time In November 2021 and knew just after a few days that this is where I needed to be. I immediately felt the positive energy, the good vibes and the beautiful weather! But most importantly, Dubai as a whole is very forward thinking in regards to the crypto industry which is something that I felt I needed to be around.

Tell us how you’re changing the black narrative in Dubai? Although there are more black people getting involved in the crypto space every day, we are still a minority in what I believe is the most revolutionary technology of our lifetime. I am on a mission to ensure that we are respected in this space. I am trying to show people that you can still be unapologetically black and love crypto at the same time!

Ruth Njenga

l am Ruth or you can call me Njeri! l am a 28 year old artist based in Dubai. l am an expat here but l was raised in the UK and born in Kenya.

What inspires you and why do you love your practice?
l represent my African/Black Heritage in my pieces as it reminds me of my life in Africa. Colour and pattern are two things in Art I find intriguing. l use them as tool to express myself and to find peace within. Some of my work can been seen as abstract as I tend to manipulate shapes and forms to their simplest form. l mostly work with acrylic paints and collage and digital softwares. You can find out more about my work on instagram: @artbyruth_nj or visit my shop.

How did you get into your line of work?

l have always painted since l was a child. l was also a full time art teacher in Dubai until l decided to expand my teaching and teach the general public in Dubai and thats how sipnpaintdxb began. l am now a full time artist.

Why Dubai?
l came here as a teacher and l also love traveling so Dubai really allowed me to do both!

Tell us how you are changing the black narrative in Dubai

For me it’s about being my true authentic self, spreading love and working on my passion. l find that this has inspired other black women/men to be their self and to do what they love.

Ola Sogbanmu aka MrFitspiration
Online Coach and Trainer

I aim to curate a community bringing adherence into health & fitness through humour & understanding. The goal is to educate and empower each individual to ensure they can experience confidence, mentally, physically and emotionally for life through being healthier and fitter.

How did you get started? I started by working with kids in a school setting as a coach part time while I played football. From the school to leisure centres I was now gaining coaching qualifications and leading camps etc..Doing this alongside managing a sales team & assisting the fitness manager. One of my colleagues moved to a course sales centre and got me a discount to do my Level 2/3 which I did then the rest has been history.

Why Dubai? I was at a stage in London where I’d helped set up and build a base at 3 different group fitness studios as well as exhausting my time with face to face. Lockdown caused an online shift and I put all my skills into building process driven systems. A friend said he could help me move out and it was timely as I ended a contract with the last studio I had successfully helped grow. I’d been on holiday to Dubai so after speaking to family and friends thought it was worth a try.

Tell us how you’re changing the black narrative in Dubai At the current moment I’m still learning about the black narrative in Dubai but communities like BYP are where the biggest group effort can be made in relation to change.

To join the BYP community in Dubai register here or join the facebook group.

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