Three black British business women; Katrina Emmanuel (Mane Divas), Merissa Hylton (Sankofa Creative Co.) and Belinda Raji (BEUNIQUE Hair Care), have united to form a unique business collective called Ujima, to host the first annual HairStories Event. Ujima is a representation of their organizational ethos is guided by the Kwanzaa principle of collective work and shared responsibility.
Coinciding with Black History Month, HairStories takes place on Saturday 29th October 2016 at the City of Westminster College, London. HairStories seeks to celebrate African hair through the ages and the importance of African heritage at a time when popular culture is still seeks to place boundaries on African Hair. With courts in the USA ruling that locs can indeed be discriminated against in the workplace and popular musician and creative artist, Solange releasing a song entitled “Don’t Touch My Hair” it is more important than ever to celebrate Afro Hair. One of Britain’s most popular personalities, Jamelia, has been sharing her natural afro hair journey and is making history by unashamedly choosing to wear her hair in its natural afro state on British mainstream TV. The HairStories event is designed to impart knowledge and celebrate afro hair through a range of workshops and interactive activities covering hair, holistic health and the African Diaspora experience in the UK. Business is also at the forefront of the event, with a series of independent brands from the Black British community showcasing their products on the day.
The trio state, “We aim to be about much more than just hair and hair products. We seek to bring African centred businesses together for the betterment of the community and the celebration of African Culture. Hair Stories, through personal anecdotes, artistic imagery and interactive workshops seeks to celebrate African hair, the importance of African heritage and the multitude of varied hair journeys that exist.” – Belinda Raji, co-founder of Ujima.
The history of black hair and more specifically afro hair is a powerful one in a month that seeks to celebrate the impact that the Black British community on the United Kingdom. By educating, entertaining and informing delegates, HairStories is not just an event it is culturally immersive experience which will celebrate Black British culture and entrepreneurial spirit that has been the backbone of African-Caribbean communities in the UK.
HairStories has an impressive list of facilitators delivering informative and interactive workshops. Vicki Igbokwe, Creative Director, founder of Uchenna Dance and Empowerment Specialist will be delivering an empowerment workshop. Artist and illustrator Merissa Hylton (Sankofa Creative Co.) will be encouraging children to express themselves whilst learning about positive roles models through the use of her colouring books. There will be something for everyone, including a chance to shop with exciting vendors in the shopping arena, plus a pop up Braid Bar hosted by Mane Diva’s with guest hair stylists.
HairStories will be an unmissable event on the Black History Month calendar, an empowering celebration that will make history in its own way!