October 17, 2018
There is no denying that black people are lit. 
Since I moved to London, I participated to tons of natural hair events. I love the sense of family and familiarity being in a room full of people who look like me. 
It is the perfect chance also to ask questions about other people's natural hair journeys, the efficacy of certain hyped products and to merely peep new fire hairstyles.
Shades of Beauty gave me something and more!

I remember being on Instagram and the event popped up. I immediately fell in love with the whole concept and followed the IG page. I run to the main site and saw many lovely naturalistas, dope weave-wearers bloggers & vloggers being featured. There were so many lovely people involved in the project that I definitely wanted to be part of it. Before I had the chance to purchase a ticket, the people behind Shades of Beauty reached out to ME and offered me free ticket. I love and will appreciate forever being contacted and offered this amazing opportunity because I believe that it's important for the black community to stick together, because they saw what I was offering on my platforms and they liked what I'm doing and the message that I'm trying to spread far and wide. 
I will keep repeating this: it's important to show up and support ideas and organisations that you think are important. I made clear from the jump that I was interested in an event for black people and organised by black people and the universe provided.  

The Royal Holticultural Halls was the spacious and modern venue chosen for this amazing get down. 
I acknowledge the fact that organising event is not an easy task. There is so much work that goes behind the scenes, so many people involved and loads of details to keep track of. Even one miscalculated step can ruin your whole schedule. 
I must admit that everything around Shades of Beauty was thoroughly planned. From the moment you walked in people greeted you, vendors were actively engaging with possible customers and there were various activities going on in every corner. Every little tiny detail was thought with participants in mind.
While walking through the crowd and checking out the stands, I've recognised most of the products for natural hair care but  I must admit that all of the make up / beauty / wig related stands were a completely new reality for me. I am used to read, scout and search mainly for natural hair products so it was refreshing and intriguing learning about another reality. 
In the past couple of years, numerous brands that sell afro clip in extensions and weave are starting to gain more notoriety. If I do want to have a protective style so that my strands can breath for a minute, I usually tend to go for twists or braids. 
I've never thought of using hair clip ins but I'll might have to start looking into that since winter is coming.
Various researches show that the number of people who discarded the Creamy Crack in the past decade is increasing so it's natural that the demand for products that resemble our natural hair is increasing as well. 

I was lucky enough to arrive just before the terrific Sharmedean Reid (entrepreneur and founder of WAH nails) started spitting knowledge. Most of the crowd were youngins like me who were interested in how to become someone in this day and age, while being black and using social media as a resource. I got so many insightful tips from Sharmedean and realised how creating your own brand is not as difficult as we think it'd be. If you put in the work, everything is possible!  
 The other two panels that I attended were called the "Black Beauty Represented" (picture above) and "A Seat at the Table? The Beauty of Black Ownership".

The first panellists were Nicole Vassell, Dalia Dias, Yinka Bokinni, Sharmaine Aderemi and Zeze Millz and moderated by the lovely Michelle Owusu from SceneTV. All of these ladies are freelancer, beautiful and 50 shades of black. We still luck representation in the media and having somebody sharing their personal experiences was a real treat. I've had my blog for nearly 6 years now but I will never be tired to see black successful women doing their thing and showing us their results on social media. 

As a natural hair blogger myself, I love listening to every day struggle of other black women, how do they conquer fear, rejection and every day hardships. It's not easy leaving in this society while carrying all of this melanin!
Events like this one are always a great reminder that I am not alone, I'm not a freaking island and that the black community can be so powerful and valuable to keep some level of sanity up in this streets.

Thank you again Shades of Beauty for recognising my work as a blogger and for the huge possibility to listen to some British Black Excellences. You have no idea how much I really do appreciate it!


October 01, 2018

It was a split second decision. After turning on the hair clippers, half drunk and incredibly tired, Violet proceeds to start cutting her bleached blonde natural strands. The relief is immediate. While the clippers are gliding through her curly roots, tears are streaming down her face because she finally experienced the moment of pure freedom that she was longing for her whole life.

First of all, if you didn't have the chance to watch the movie "Happily Ever After" by film director Haifaa al- Mansour and based on the namesake novel written by the talented Trisha R. Thomas, you're wack. 
The movie tells the life of Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan), a gorgeous promising and talented black woman. Violet seemingly has everything: a beautiful house, solid relationship with a soon-to-be doctor, great job and a loving circle of friends and family. Violet is used to take care of herself. She likes to follow the latest fashion trends, always well dressed and with long, flat ironed hair.

Everything seemed to be going well up until Violet's birthday. She's been in this relationship with Clint for the past two years. She's ready now to be engaged, get married and create a family. After founding a small box in her boyfriend's jacket, she can already taste the victory in her mouth. Her whole world crumbles when she discovers that in the box there was no ring, but just a name tag for her brand new Chihuahua as a birthday gift. After asking for clarifications, Clint tells her that he doesn't know the real Violet, that in the past two years she always appeared perfect and didn't show her true colours and let her hair or guard down. 
During the next few weeks, we will see Violet having an unexpected Big Chop after having too many drinks, rocking a TWA and flat iron her hair when seeing the future in-laws.

I do believe that the story per se is not groundbreaking nor special. Violet is going through a breakup after an important love story and she finds a way to rediscover herself before starting a new relationship. I get it! What I loved and found different from the usual movies out there was the fact that a link between the mental state of a black person and their hair was explored and took into consideration.
For the Black community, hair is a delicate and complex matter
As a black woman who did a big chop, had TWA and is now sporting natural afro hair for the past 5 years, I could be Violet. Her every day relationship with her partner, friends or family are all deeply tied with her personal relationship with her hair. If her hair are laying down in the right way, everything is fine; if not, everything is a disaster. We don't want to admit it but the same thing, happen to most of us curly afro heads.
Small details like checking the weather forecast before leaving the house, having her mom retouch her roots as soon as they got too unruly, dodging the hot steam coming from the dishwasher, using just certain poses during intercourses and waking up earlier to "fix her hair" are just some of Violet's hair worries before the Big Chop. After cutting all of her hair off, she realises that there's more to life than taking care of her hair. I started bawling my eyes out because I had the same experience when cutting my relaxed strands. It was a relief and a surprise to being able to put myself in somebody else's shoes and say "I did that!" or "that's happened to me as well". 

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend any natural curly head out there to watch "Nappily Ever After". You won't be disappointed!

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