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
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.
When it comes to style I think a lot of people tend to go through different phases at different points in their journey. I also believe that fashion can be a learnt attribute there are a lot of people who would disagree with this simply because not that many people would view their sense of style similar to their parents or any one that is close to them. However, I strongly believe that you can actually be heavily influenced from a young age when it comes to your sense of style. I certainly did! I remember how my mother use to buy me a lot of suit jackets and smart clothes as a child. It is the most hilarious thing to look back on ,but I always remember my clothes being way bigger than me. She said that I would one day grow into them and I eventually did! This is of course different for different people but I can certainly recognize the impact she has had on me and my style.
I teamed up with Korlekie for my Pre-Miss Universe GB shoots a few weeks ago which was styled by Fvshiondvting it was an amazing shoot based purely on my sense of style, using clothes from the Korlekie collection we came up with some great looks that I loved! I found the shoot to be quite a successful one. Knowing the designer Beatrice Newman who is behind the brand also added a very special touch to it. Her brand Korlekie apparently means “Queen of Eagles” And I was truly Queening in the outfits it was a match made in heaven and I was honestly just blown away by her designs.
Dresses are my favorite items of clothing so it was a must for the shoot and with the addition of my turtle neck and red blazer for my other outfit I was pretty much smitten and in love it felt so me!.
Our sense of style is an ever changing process that happens on a daily basis sometimes with careful thought and other times with no thought at all. Don’t we all have days when we just can’t be asked and rock up into town with the hope you don’t see anyone because you really don’t feel at all glammed up or in the mood for making an effort..? And isn’t that the day you bump into everyone you haven’t seen in years? Exactly! So we are never always fixed to one style ,but as unique as we all are we all have things that we feel much more comfortable in than others. Style is part of the growing up process of finding yourself and what works for you. It’s so important that we all stay true to who we are not just in our outward appearance of what we wear ,but also how it makes us feel on the inside.Our style is a big part of our personal identity,complimenting are unique body types and speaking louder than we can imagine.
What is your style? And ever thought about what inspired your style? I would like to know get in-touch
Visit Korlekie for more of her collections
Photos provided by Ales Tomis
I learnt that I was selected to be a finalist of Miss Universe GB in March 2017.
I don’t think a lot of people realize that when it comes to beauty pageants especially international ones like this that there are so much more to it than having a pretty face. I organised and did things that I am super proud of such as my fundraising events,campaigning, and empowerment sessions which made such a difference to communities around the world . . I have met people and championed causes that I deeply believe in and have shocked myself in many ways. I can genuinely say that being a beauty queen has been a great experience.