by Emeline Nsingi Nkosi
A Cosmetic Scientist, Founder of Cherry Coco (a natural skincare company) and Black Beauty Communications ltd. Cheryl Jumbo, one of six children, was born in Glasgow to Nigerian parents. She recently announced the UK’s first ever beauty industry awards event for Black Beauty products aptly named the “Black Beauty and Fashion Awards”.
We spoke about her experience in the beauty industry, BBFA and what she plans on achieving …
“Black Beauty and Fashion Awards is a movement, I am set on advancing the industry.”
Today I am someone who loves business and empowering people; I think it’s important to leave a legacy. I find much satisfaction in supporting individuals in pursuing their dreams; I believe you can accomplish anything you commit yourself to!
My entry point to the beauty arena was most unexpected, around the age of 19, I had intended on purchasing a premium foundation from a company called fashion (there wasn’t much else available), whilst I was browsing I was approached by one of the beauty consultants. We started talking, she enquired about my skincare regime, my interests and asked me what I was doing for a living. I explained that I was studying to become a Sound Engineer. She scoffed lightly and said “no no no my darling, YOU belong in the world of beauty. I can see you now with your silver Hitachi case going to a business meeting”.
As a student of sound engineering, I was the only female in my class, which I didn’t mind much at all. I needed a part time job so I decided I’d explore a little, I sought employment with a cosmetics consultant agency to find out more about the world of beauty.
I had assumed it would be very superficial but being creative and technical I excelled. As I began to consult and sell cosmetic products to consumers, I yearned to understand why people were buying from me besides my selling technique. What was so good about these products? What made them so effective? Were they truly beneficial at all? I wanted to learn the science behind these amazing pots of promise.
Fortunately, around that time The London College of Fashion, had recently introduced to the UK a new BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science, I secured a place and eventually, proudly graduated whilst maintaining employment throughout my studies.
Since then, I have gained a broad experience of the industry, working in various capacities from setting up a beauty business, working as an expat in Africa, providing skincare workshops, brand development, consulting, working in regulatory affairs at QVC UK, product design and formulation of skin care at E.C Dewitt and Manufacturing at Barry M Cosmetics.
In the UK, I have found myself working in places where I am the only black person in the entire organisation. This has presented some great advantages and in some cases disadvantages, I am keen to see more of us in this arena, our contribution is necessary in a multicultural society.
Sadly, BBFA was born from a feeling of social exclusion. Every single year, we have beauty industry awards that celebrate the great product offerings available from various brands across the UK and further afield. This is great until you realise that none of the products spot-lit with adulation cater to your needs. One particular year as my colleagues and I geared up to attend the latest installment of beauty awards, I pondered on this fact; I have contributed hugely to the UK economy via my hair and beauty needs and wants. I pondered on the fact that at age 19 my only choice of foundation was an expensive premium product, which as a student cost me a small fortune.
I decided that I would become the change that I wished to see. It was at that moment, 6 years ago, that I knew I would create the Black Beauty and Fashion Awards! It would be a celebration of diverse black beauty and culture. However, it would have been seen as too Afrocentric, and so I decided to wait until the right time, which is NOW!
Our event is divided into two halves, firstly, the public voting poll which lasts approximately 4 months from March 2017, followed by the corporate end which takes place later in November.
BBFA seeks to empower BMR* consumers’ voices to express their passion for the products they enjoy using or want to support, and exercise their unassailable right to inclusion. Black males are for the most part ignored in advertising of grooming products. Women of colour spend on average, six times more than their counterparts on hair and beauty products. It is about time to acknowledge this significant contribution to the economy.
Advancement is taking place within the industry concerning black beauty, hair and fashion and it must be acknowledged. There’s a great range of products available for BMR people, but a ‘disconnect’ exists between brands, retailers and consumers. Often people can’t find what they want, although it exists…somewhere.
BBFA seeks to promote, encourage and celebrate producers of high-quality BMR products and build bridges to prompt greater inclusion via mainstream channels. This is all towards bringing about the growth that our communities will also benefit from.
My dream is to see Black Beauty and Fashion Award-winning products made available to the public in mainstream stores across the UK
My vision is to celebrate the diverse beauty and see greater representation in mainstream media. To acknowledge the brands that have over the years, diligently catered to our ever-changing beauty needs. To support entrepreneurialism. In a multicultural society, I would like to see more BMR individuals as manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and being part of the supply chain of this industry. After all, we are the ones using the products! It would be great to have a hand in what’s being added to these products created to care for our unique beauty.
My mission is to advance the beauty industry, impacting it positively. To celebrate the diversity of black hair and skin and our beautiful culture. To make BBFA a global entity as we expand our Industry award to the Continent and the Caribbean.
All winning products and brands have the right to carry the BBFA winners’ seal created to be displayed on company websites, marketing literature, and products, visible to consumers at the point of sale.
BBFA is the people’s choice award! We are here to elevate to empower the voice of consumers, to alleviate social exclusion and to carve out a space for our beauty products in mainstream outlets. We hope to see Black Beauty and Fashion Award-winning products available online and in high street stores.
Black Beauty Communications’ BBFA has amongst its aims, to be the go-to marketing and quality assessment vehicle to help both lesser-known and readily recognisable businesses gain greater brand awareness within Black and Multiracial client groups. In so doing, a more mutually beneficial exchange emerges, wherein BMR people, with a predicted £100 million 2016 hair and beauty spend, shall notice better representation in mainstream channels. This leads to greater opportunities in employment. Brand loyalty, improved market segmentation and CSR fulfillment are just some of the elements available to participating businesses at the other end of the exchange.
Yes, indeed they should be. So many elements of our culture are used and adopted in the mainstream, from our hairstyles and fashion to music and dance. I believe our ingenuity, success, creativity and innovation need to be acknowledged mainstream also. It’s a known fact that we tend to be products of our environment, witnessing achievements mainstream provides aspiration for peers and following generations.
To some extent yes. I believe that these organisations have missed a trick when it comes to black beauty and fashion. For decades black and multiracial individuals have engaged these brands frequently only to feel a sense of exclusion and being overlooked. Perhaps their lack of offering comes from a lack of understanding of our hair and authentic beauty.
The inaugural Black Beauty and Fashion Awards is a Red carpet affair. it will be a stupendous night of beauty and style on Friday 3rd November 2017. The venue of choice is the beautiful Porchester Hall; I adore its classic art deco design. Amongst others, in attendance will be manufacturers, retailers, entrepreneurs and industry professionals. The evening will include a fashion show, 3-course elegant dining experience, live entertainment, award ceremony, charity auction for Lupus and Alopecia UK and much more.
There will be various voting categories, such as Best shampoo, Best hair treatment, Best Foundation etc and we have a number of special awards including Beauty entrepreneur of the year, Fashion entrepreneur of the year, Best new business venture, Best new beauty tool/appliance as well as honour an amazing individual with a Lifetime Achievement award for their Contribution to the Beauty and Fashion industry.
Voting is easy. Simply visit www.bbfawards.com/voting-online. All voters are automatically entered into the BBFA cash prize draw and the opportunity to win some amazing goodies. Prize winners will be selected randomly and announced via our social media platforms later in the year.
[BMR* – Cherry’s own acronym , Black Multi-Racial]
Nia Pettitt is a force to be reckoned with. At the tender age of nineteen, the half-English, half-Zimbabwean model has built an online community of young women who share her passion for honouring and embracing the beauty of natural Afro hair. Her fans are spread across the world, united by a shared celebration of natural beauty and a mutual adoration of Nia’s own golden mane. As FroGirlGinny, she shares tales of her adventures and hair care tips to over 330,000 Instagram followers, part of a growing movement inspiring a generation of young brown girls to defy Western beauty standards and nurture their natural Afros. I met her at the Lisbon leg of her ‘Go With the Fro Tour,’ a joint venture with fellow model and social media influencer Lauren Lewis that gives women with natural hair a chance to come together and share stories of their own natural hair trials and triumphs.
I’m a Gemini, so I’m everything, but I like to be known as Nia.
From 3 to 11 I relaxed my hair, but I didn’t do that out of seeing pictures in magazines, I just did it because my mum couldn’t handle my hair. I grew up in a white area of London, so my idea of beauty was blonde hair, blue eyes, like my best friend in Primary School at the time. Then, when I went to Secondary School, there was a girl with curly hair there and I idolised her, and I just wanted to have hair like her. I didn’t really have the traditional girl in the magazines as who I wanted to be, I was more wanting to be myself, but I couldn’t because of where I lived, and being mixed race was hard because a part of me wanted to be English and have roast dinners and the other part of me wanted to be Zimbabwean and have sadza, so I had a kind of identity crisis because I didn’t know who I wanted to be.
It was seeing that girl, her name’s Yasmin, seeing her curly hair, and then seeing a picture of myself when I was three. I had this Afro, and I was like, “Mum, why doesn’t my hair do this anymore?” and she said if I wanted it I had to big chop my hair, so I just did it the next day, cut off all my relaxed hair.
No,I didn’t at all.
At first, everyone in school highlighted that they liked my straight hair more, but I’ve always been a person who doesn’t depend on anyone to love me besides myself so that just sparked the journey for me of being my own woman and growing up a lot quicker than most 11-year-olds. But I was also concerned about what the hell I was going to use. I was buying mousses from Superdrug and conditioners from Tesco and I didn’t know what to use.
I think we still have a long way to go, and I feel like I’ve been able to impact change in my small way, but I want to concentrate on deeper issues for women. When I big chopped my hair, it started the journey of self-love, and I want to go into more of that than just giving hair tips. I feel like there’s more to me than just hair.
I don’t think it did. I mean, we had Scary Spice, but her name alone, Scary, doesn’t connote anything pretty. We had Alicia Keys, but she was braided most of the time, we had Chaka Khan and Diana Ross, but mostly they weren’t in my era. It was mostly Scary Spice for me, that was all I had at the time.
I think Hilary Banks, but she obviously had perm rods and flat irons, but I loved her style.
I always try to be humble because if the Internet broke down, I would still be who I am today. I try not to let it all get to me because it could be taken away at any moment, so I just want to inspire people to live their lives to the fullest and travel more, and also to let young people know that the situation they’re in now is not forever. We have so much ahead of us. I mean, it feels nice, but I try not to let it get to me.
It was honestly really natural. I just started posting pictures and it grew. I do enjoy it, the only thing I don’t enjoy is when my Gemini mind wants me to capture everything and the other half is saying enjoy the moment, so it’s about finding a balance between the two.
Me and Lauren met through Instagram and we wanted to do something together, and just came up with Go With The Fro, and it just grew from there. It’s been a year now and we’ve got 40,000 followers, and we’ve travelled around Europe, we’re going to Africa on Saturday, so it’s taken off so quickly.
Every time I meet these women, it’s so fun for me because some of them have never been to a natural hair event, so they leave with this new energy to connect with other women and love themselves more. I love those aspects.
You’ll have to wait and see…
I just want to travel more, tan more, and my hair to get bigger!
Skimdo Curl Cream. It’s amazing.
Follow FroGirlGinny on instagram
Posted by Kay
Singer TK Wonder has recently been featured in Vogue US, The Gap Holiday plus &Other Stories campaigns along with her identical twin sister, Cipriana Quann (co-founder of Urban Bush Babes).
She is currently working on her debut solo EP as well as fulfilling her role as executive contributor for Urban Bush Babes.
I’m sure you’ve heard this point of view before. In our all-too polarized media it ranges from “People are too sensitive” to “Oh no playing the race card again,” and in response to the recent Fashion Police faux-pas, “Patchouli oil and weed is in reference to hippies, not black people!”
Another side of the argument is laced with cultural misappropriation: ‘racially insensitive is a nice way of saying racist’ and ‘If she isn’t then why did Giuliana Rancic say Kylie Jenner’s faux locs were edgy but Zendaya Coleman‘s smelled of weed?’
Whichever perspective appeals to you, I think the majority of us should recognize that these remarks were made out of simple ignorance.
This does not in any way excuse the words or inappropriate ‘jokes’ from The Fashion Police but it does it touch upon the wide spread lack of knowledge regarding ‘natural hair’, which Giuliana has actually joked about before on this show.
I am an expert on this topic. I speak from experience. A ton of it.
In fact any black woman with natural hair is an expert on this matter, fielding a colossal amount of questions regarding the state of their hair on a daily basis.
Giuliana mentioned in her apology that she didn’t want to be a part of “perpetuating stereotypes.” Derived from ignorance, stereotyping is most certainly perpetuated by mainstream media. So much so that women in Middle America probably think that Madea is a representation of black women everywhere, that a black woman with big or long hair must be wearing a weave or extensions. The belief of a Chupacabra’s existence has a better chance than the belief that a black woman can grow long hair without such assistance.
Let’s face the facts. People stereotype. Hollywood is notorious for it, media coverage is often subliminally cloaked in it, and even the law that protects and serves has proved that they do too. Stereotyping is the popular girl and some people, a lot of people, hover around her either consciously or subconsciously.
Wikipedia the word ‘locs’ and read about multiple cultures that have donned them centuries ago. For some it is a religion and others a fashion statement.
Then, somewhere along the lines Bob Marley became the archetype for locs, and to Americans and various countries synonymous with Jamaica, the culture of reggae music and weed. His influence procreated generations that believe that this are what locs truly represent: reggae music and weed.
You see it on t-shirts and artwork-depicting Bob inundated in a cloud of perfectly coiled smoke. I am not in any way holding Bob Marley culpable. The incredible talent and global popularity of one man and his lifestyle cannot be held accountable for stereotypes that exist today however music is a very strong elixir, and I still taste the remnants.
In the past I’ve had a man remark how much he loved my locs (which I do not have but often mistaken for locs) and in the same breath ask if ‘I had any weed or knew of anyone selling’.
These queries, actions and words are assumptions based on a total lack of understanding.
Remarks that seem completely ignorant and asinine to some do not faze others, especially if they themselves harbor the same stereotypes and find validity in such remarks.
So no I won’t blame it on Bob, but the Bob Marley effect is still very much prevalent in today’s society.
I’ll close my piece with this. Do I believe these remarks were made from the heart of a racist? No I do not.
Do I believe this is a racial problem? Yes and it inflicts millions of people.
If ignorance is lack of knowledge, then acknowledging that Giuliana apologized twice and expecting everyone offended to simply ‘move on already’ is not solving the issue or making anyone more knowledgeable and aware.
At this stage, ‘Moving On’ would be to ignore the problem. These attitudes and assumptions are alive, thriving, have a potency that continues to marginalize and in recent cases, producing volatile results.
We can’t keep stitching up wounds that do not have time to heal because the stitches are incessantly being ripped off before they have the chance to do so.
So whatever your stance, I hope we can all try to understand that lack of awareness is at the root of it, and that it will continue to fester and burgeon without limitations unless we address it head on.
Keep the door open to discuss and leave that painful wound open to have a chance to properly heal. It will take it’s own time but that is the only way one wholly and truly moves on.
Post by Thandie
I stopped chemically straightening my hair 4 years ago. The final release from relaxing addiction came when my friend Zadie Smith said “But if you want to wear it straight you just blow it out, right?”.
Zadie is mixed heritage and makes hair wrapping, natural, or a smooth blow dry look effortless. Of COURSE I didn’t have to chemically straighten my hair to create the perfect blow dry, or any other style for that matter…
But when I was a teen, years of hair horror growing up amongst straighties had driven the desire for flaxen hair deep into the marrow of my wishbone. I not only wanted straight hair, I wanted the straightness growing from my ROOTS. I mean, how bonkers is it that at 5 years old I took my ‘fro to a Catholic school run by Irish nuns – women who barely even HAD hair under their wimples (Did you see the movie ‘Philomena’?). And there I was with hair like a wild bush of virility – the nuns must have been salivating with desire to punish that Bantu ‘fro into submission. I’ve chuckled to myself about how my black presence in the school gave the nuns the missionary vibe they were famous for overseas.
Thankfully a degree in anthropology, Toni Morrison and Buddha lead me out of the darkness, and I’ve come to realise that my desire for straight hair was a desperate desire to be ‘normal’, to be loved. I wanted to melt my curl, my fuzz, my brittle, kinky, messy, awkward, eye catching, different, sigh-worthy, brush-hating curl away forever. Once I’d christened my head with poisonous dollops of Lye, I could be closer to God. And I spent the years that followed fearing water like the witch that I supposedly was – never swimming, never laughing in the rain, never going too near a sneeze for fear of the fuzz revealing me as a charlatan. I was like Daryl Hannah in ‘Splash’, terrified of her tail-turning legs and Tom Hank’s shame. I smile as I write – the crazy, ego drama of my hair is a long way past – and so is the pain. The pain of a little girl, with beautiful hair that should have been wild and free; like bird wings, or tall grass, or kisses. I’m making up for it now – seeing my daughters’ hair rave all over their happy heads, and me having FUN with my curls for the first time in my life.
And here we are – a blow dry is no longer a necessity for me, or a style to make me ‘normal’ or ‘better’. It’s one of many looks that I have fun achieving – it’s artistry, and a celebration of the medium that we all have growing out of our skulls. Let hair be our yarn, our weaving materials, our feathers, turban, crown. Let hair bring us closer to God, not further away.
After taking my hair to Hair Heaven I wrap it in a towel for a while. The extra heat from the towel further softens my hair, and leaves it damp rather than wet. Less wetness means less time under the heat of the dryer – and make no mistake, heat on the hair is not a good thing.
Obviously your hair texture will determine how you straighten your natural hair. My hair is very curly, but soft enough to blow-dry straight quite easily. So, I don’t need to spend long with the flat-irons – in fact I could get away with just using the hair dryer (but I wouldn’t achieve the nice shiny finish that a flat iron gives).
So, to protect the hair from the damaging heat I always put some sort of lotion through it. Depending on time of year, and climate you will need to figure out what you need. If my hair is in need of extra volume I’ll use John Masters – Deep Follicle Treatment and Volumizer, or Aveda’s – Volumizing Tonic spread evenly through. Also a good serum on the ends is a must – at the moment I’m using Giovanni’s Eco Chic Hair Potion. This step needs to be done quickly – it’s important not to let your hair completely dry before blow drying – in fact I always have a spray bottle filled with hot water nearby in case I need to re-wet the ends.
A good hair dryer is obviously important. I love GHD‘s tools, used throughout this Post. Always start with the hair that’s most kinky, or that dries the quickest. I always start with my hairline. Don’t rush this, and be patient. Section a piece out from the front, and always put the hair not being worked on back into a twist (to keep it damp). Take your front piece, gently brush it through (I use a Tangle Teezer) and then with a round brush, brush it FORWARDS over your face, following with the hairdryer a few inches behind the brush bristles. Repeat this until your section is dry, paying special attention to the ends. I always blow dry the hair on the front half of my head FORWARD because it makes the hair fall much more naturally around my face. If you blow dry it BACKWARDS, away from your face, it gives an 80s crest at the hairline, straight out of The Cosby Show.
I flat iron each section after I’ve blow dried it. Sometimes I’ll add a little extra serum on the ends before I hit it with the devil’s paddle – my daughters are always aghast when they see the plume of smoke twirl away from my hair – “It’s just the product” I reassure them.
For styling I always use Tancho Lavender Hair Wax – a little warmed up in my fingertips to smooth down fly-aways, seal fluffy ends and give the hair a bit more ‘weight’. It’s also great for accentuating a bend. I tend to use the wax a bit like moveable hair spray – it’s brilliant stuff.
Thank You Billie Scheepers for your beautiful photography! billiescheepers.com
Hair by Thandie, assisted by Ayo Laguda
Make-Up by Kay
Posted by Kay
Thandie and I have worked with hairdresser Jennie Roberts many times over the years, and I’ve always admired her well-maintained, tight and beautifully conditioned curls. I bumped into her the other day on the 1st floor of London’s Corinthia Hotel, amidst the flurry of a press junket we were both working on – and her curls looked particuarly good. Unlike Thandie, I’ve been behind the scenes all my life, so am no pro when it comes to my own hair. I still struggle with getting my wild froth into smooth curls. So, I had to ask her how she did it.
She was also raving about Ojon (she’s now an ambassador-on meeting her for the first time I took one look at her and said ‘oh my, it’s Mrs Ojon’),
So it was all too good not to share….
“I have naturally frizzy curly hair that needs some smoothing out in order to create the perfect curl.
My ritual starts with Ojon Damage Reverse Shampoo and Conditioner.
Once I do the initial brush through of my wet hair, I then start to layer the various products that give me perfectly smooth curls. An important ‘rule of curl’ is that I never brush my hair again once the layering starts as this tends to pull my curls straighter instead of bouncy.
After shampooing, I smooth Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner through my hair-this helps to keep the cuticle tightly closed and weighs down my hair just enough to hold the curl in place.
After this I then use a small dollop of Ojon Pro Fade Glossing Cream, I have coloured hair so this protects the colour and also smooths the cuticle for a perfect curl.
The final layer of product is Mousse. This seals in everything and really smooths the cuticle for frizz-free curls.
This particular method of application should be used on hair that is very wet and just hand-squeezed dry. Hair can either be left to dry (handle as little as possible whilst it expands and only touch hair from underneath, so not to effect texture), or dry using a diffuser.
Gently place hair in diffuser without moving around, just have patience and let each section dry before moving on and make sure you dry the roots too-this gives it lift.
About once a week I’ll use the Damage Reverse Restorative Treatment for added smoothness.
Apply to dry hair and leave for at least half an hour-longer if possible. Wash out and style as normal. This will leave your locks smoother and super shiny.
When my curls are past their best and need wetting to revitalise the texture I wash with the Ojon Co Wash.
This is a great product if you need to wash hair that’s not dirty but just needs to be restyled. Great for in-between regular shampoo as it’s a gentle cleanser and will condition hair with its coconut derived base.”