I spoke at TEDX Chichester my talk was titled “Engage to change” highlighting the importance of looking beyond narrow ideals and embracing diversity.
October 11th has been marked International girl day by the UN since 2012. Another significant day this week was world mental health day which was on the 10th of October. Two very essential international days that raised awareness and highlighted issues very close to my heart. I joined women who travelled from all around the UK and different countries to be present for the Women Being Conference an International disciplinary conference which focused on issues around gender and the status of women. One thing that certainly stood out was how women from across the world till this day face considerable levels of obstacles which prevent them from gaining equal rights .It did not matter whether we were discussing women in China, Cambodia, Mexico, Tanzania, India… or any other country challenges still persisted for women.
My key note talk titled “Equally Flawless: The Beauty of Diversity and equal representation of women in the Fashion, Media, and Creative Industry” which was aimed at empowering the women that were present at the conference but also highlighting the fundamental truth of the beauty that exists in diversity, and the importance of it’s representation in our fashion, media and cultural industries. The global significance of the day for girls around the world helped me to also remember how important the work that we are all doing is to ensures that girls in our generation and in generations to come don’t have to fight the battle that we are fighting today.For more info visit women being website here
Short clip of a poem I read while giving my key note talk is available below
In diversity there is so much strength! This picture was taken after the last panel I spoke on titled " African International Unity and Multi-ethnicity" The image is a true representation of how despite our differences we can come together, sharing and supporting one one another to make the future better. Along with my Women Empowerment and Global citizen workshop September has been great and I am so thankful for the amazing people who always believe and stand by me. My next key note talk that I have been invited to is in Edinburgh on the 10-11th October 2017 at the Women Being annual Conference. I will be speaking on "The beauty of Diversity and equal representation of women".Please find details in my bio come and support if you are around. Happy New Month to you all! ♥ #October
African Youth Leadership Summit was a three day event in Morocco aimed at addressing issues of sustainable development in Africa . I was one of the Key note speakers and also led workshops on the “Global Citizen” as well as “Gender equality and women empowerment in Africa”. In addition, I sat on the “Peace and Security in Africa” and “African Unity and Multi-ethnicity.” panel. It was great seeing the passion and drive that so many people had in the development of Africa.
I started this month with my “Faith, Hope and Love” shirt which I wore with my black jeans. I think you all would agree that black jeans are a ladies wardrobe essential. For a lovely sunny out and about casual look it was a comfortable and perfect look! However, what is more important for me and the reason behind this post is more about the shirt and the words written on the shirt. Whenever I write a fashion post or any post in fact I love to communicate things of real significance that is on my heart to share with you ,and sometimes fashion can be a great vehicle in communicating as you will soon find out by the end of the post.
In a recent Huff post blog feature I talked about how important it is not to “Fetishize black girl magic” by reducing it to just a cultural issue, but instead recognizing it as a real social injustice. I also added how I had no problem with the cultural and social media factor, but felt that leaving it at just that level would not help. My main concern with non-active engagement has always been creating the problem of “us” and “them” instead of bringing about a collective solution.
After publishing my “Fetishizing Black Girl Magic” post I received a heart- warming message from a lovely lady who works at the Sunday Times Style who found my writing interesting she asked a very key question of how I felt this would be achieved? and the simple answer I can give to everyone is that I think it all starts with you! I strongly believe you can-not change culture without personally looking within yourself and getting your motivations right. Going back to the Vest-Shirt and using it as an example the words “Love, Faith and hope” have no real significance and are reduced to just words on a shirt until it is really embedded in hearts. We don’t really bring about any change until we actively carry out the change.
Imagine the difference that can be made in our society if we truly lived our lives in line with this instead of just leaving it on shirt. Engaging in dialogue understanding the faith and motivation of others walking in love and being hopeful or even encouraging others to be hopeful in the midst of rough and challenging times. This would do the world so much good than a shirt would right? That is precisely my point in that there needs to be active engagement to be able to bring about changes. The shirt still looks great and I would recommend you buy one ,but what is more important is how genuine you live out those words on it.
I have had a really reflective time on these ideas and would love to hear your views please share. If you are in the UK and would like FAITH HOPE LOVE shirt go on the contact page and register interest and the size you want (S,M,L).
photo credit Miguel Villar
I had the greatest pleasure of being one of the partners of the African Fashion Week London 2017 this year a very successful event which had over 10 000 participants as well as amazing fashion exhibitors from across Africa who were present.
The event was a truly colorful and great showcase of African fashion and trend from across the continent with some fusions of British culture in some pieces as well.
You can’t attend an event like this without “slaying” as it is celebration of of fashion so I teamed up with dresslover.com for my slay dress of the day which was a brightly colored red dress fit for the occasion.
At first I did have my reservations as I didn’t know whether the dress would be at the standard I wanted for the occasion,but when it arrived I was actually very impressed. For just over 10 dollars I looked a gem I was very pleased with the dress and it looked amazing on me.
The African Fashion Week London was genuinely an event I was really proud to be part of and great to see the expression of culture and art in such creative ways through fashion.
For more info on my dress and if want to purchase it visit dresslover.com
I had the privilege of being on the speaking panel at this year’s Curly treats festival 2017 which is one of the biggest natural hair and beauty events in the UK. Other people on the panel included Lekia Lee (Billboard Campaigner and founder of Project Embrace), Aaron Wallace (Founder of UK’s first Black Owned Grooming Brand for Men), and Jay and Tri of Curlture UK.
The event was in one word phenomenal! There were over 500 attendees. Being at an event like this was personally liberating and inspiring. I remember arriving and having a little walk about before going on stage to speak on the panel, and the sense of joy and pride that I felt could not be put into words. I think that was partly because of the thoughts and feelings that the atmosphere aroused: seeing black dolls, black hair products: created by black entrepreneurs, fashion, jewelry, and most importantly bold black people who were unashamed to wear their hair naturally and proudly! For me it was super exciting to see that kind of environment.
I can never compare my childhood in London to the experiences of the generations before me . Nevertheless, I can certainly say that back at school being really “dark” like myself was not the coolest thing neither do I remember having a black doll as a child! I suppose that explains the liberating and proud feeling that I must have felt going around and seeing all the stands and the beauty that everything represented .
For those who may struggle to understand the importance of festivals like this (Believe me there will always be someone who has a negative opinion or doesn’t quite understand the importance of events like this, that is not a problem I think it is actually healthy to look at things from various perspectives that is the whole point of education right?).
Festivals like Curly treats are very significant. I have already mentioned the liberating feeling ,but another thought I had while walking around was just how glad I am that my “future kids” will one day have the opportunity of growing up in a society where they will also be considered beautiful and have all the resources and knowledge that they require to freely and proudly be who they are. Events like this certainly create such as strong support network for black women helping educate and inspire them.
One of the things I shared on the panel which was titled (Black Beauty: Entangled in politics) was the importance of nurturing good supportive networks within black communities but also encouraging high standards within black businesses. This was NOT in any way said to rein enforce some of the already condescending narratives that are already associated with black businesses ,but it was said in order to continually encourage those who are maintaining high levels of excellence as well as setting a bar for those who are looking to go into the industry of offering products and services that cater not just to black communities ,but the wider community. Maintaining a reputation for excellence is the key to helping establish the reputation of black businesses and products whether they are in the beauty, hair industry or not. I also shared on the importance of supporting one another speaking positively about ourselves and encouraging one another to succeed.Because if one person succeeds everyone succeeds.