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Emeline Talks To Cheryl Jumbo of BBFA

Cheryl Jumbo

Cheryl Jumbo

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.”

Who is Cheryl Jumbo?

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!

Cheryl Jumbo at event

Cheryl Jumbo at event

Tell us about your experience in the beauty industry?

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.

What was your next step?

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.

Cheryl Jumbo

Cheryl Jumbo

What was your professional experience?

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.

How did you come up with the concept of BBFA?

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!

BBFA

BBFA

What do you aim to achieve from BBFA?

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.

BBFA

BBFA

What is your mission statement?

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

How will it facilitate direct engagement between brands and consumers?

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.

BBFA

BBFA

Awards for BMR communities are often not mainstream, should they be?

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.

Would we benefit from having an award for BMR products in beauty awards such as InStyle beauty awards, Cosmopolitan beauty awards, Allure etc …

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.

BBFA

BBFA

Lastly, tell us a little bit about the award ceremony, where will it take place and when?

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.

How can the public vote?

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]

 

BBFA

 

BBFA
Instagram: @blackbeautyandfashionawards
Twitter: @bbfawards
Facebook Page: Black Beauty and Fashion Awards
Website: www.bbfawards.com

Emeline
Instagram: @emelinenn
Twitter: @emelinenn
Facebook Page: Emeline Nsingi Nkosi
Website: www.emelinenn.com

 

 

The Legacy of political journalist & reporter Gwen Ifill

by Oyin Akande

On November 14th, Gwen Ifill passed away, aged 61. Her name may or may not be familiar to you but her path-making has certainly made a hell of a mark on the news and media representation of African-American women. She was one of the leading political journalists and analysts in the U.S., an author and the host of PBS NewsHour, alongside Judy Woodruff and Washington Week. 

joel-barbee

Courtesy: Joel Barbee

Born, in New York, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, she grew up in America in the 60s. It was then, aged 9, she decided she wanted to be a journalist. “I was very conscious of the world being this very crazed place that demanded explanation…I didn’t see a whole lot of people who looked like me doing it on television,” she recalled of her growing up in an interview for Archive of American Television.

Ms Ifill was widely recognised as a stellar journalist- characteristically fair and a straight-talker. When, in 2008, she moderated the vice-president debates between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden, some were concerned that she might be biased in favour of the Democrat, as she was writing a book on his running mate, Barack Obama. She proved herself true and “reached a high standard for reason, fairness and class,” in the words of James Rainey of The Los Angeles Times. She valued journalistic objectivity highly, saying once “my job as a reporter is not to know what I think.” She later won the George Foster Peabody Award for her 2008 campaign coverage.

Obama, himself, said of Ms Ifill at a news conference on the day of her death “Gwen was a friend of ours. She was an extraordinary journalist; she always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession: asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work.” Her book ‘The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama’ was published in 2009, on the day of Obama’s inauguration.

Watch the videos below to hear  Gwen Ifill put Don Imus in his place in 2007 following racial slurs on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team in which he refers to them as ‘nappy headed hoes’ and the time he said of Gwen Ifill “Isn’t The Times wonderful. It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.” Read her response to Imus in the New York Times here.

https://youtu.be/11FgpwGNEys

https://youtu.be/vuz34bRylNU

Annual book fair and authors night, National Press Club, 17 Nov. 2009. Photo: Michael Foley

Annual book fair and authors night, National Press Club, 17 Nov. 2009. Photo: Michael Foley

As a symbol, Gwen Ifill was a critically important pioneer. In 1999, she became the first African-American woman to host a major political TV talk show, the Washington Week in Review. Coming up in a period of audacious racism and entering an industry dominated by white men, she achieved great success as a journalism vanguard despite the obstacles she did face. She once said that her proudest moment was when she found herself surrounded by civil rights luminaries as M.C. at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Independence Avenue in Washington.

slide1We have yet to balance media representations of African-American women and this is particularly felt in the U.S. Alongside her amazing example of black female excellence, Ifill felt a responsibility of being a good role model both as an African-American and a woman:

“When I was a little girl watching programs like this – because that’s the kind of nerdy family we were- I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of colour,” she said. “I’m very keen about the fact that a little girl now, watching the news, when they see me and Judy sitting side by side, it will occur to them that that’s perfectly normal -that it won’t seem like any big breakthrough at all.”

gwen-then-and-now-logos

 

“Woman”: Feminist Anthem by Songwriter Diana Gordon

by Oyin Akande

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-04-24-10Do you remember when Beyonce dropped Lemonade, the frenzy-inspiring visual album that incited a modern witch-hunt and a worldwide Internet debate over the fictitious “Becky with the good hair”? Well, the femme fatale songwriter behind the lyrics from “Sorry”, as well as “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Daddy Issues”, Diana Gordon, has recently topped her efforts and this time it is her voice singing her words. Gordon has been working in the music industry for years, producing and writing songs for several artists- such as Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Ciara– and performing in dance clubs.

Following her success on Beyonce’s album, the singer/songwriter- and long-time personal favourite of mine- dropped her stage name Wynter Gordon and set out on a career afresh. Reintroducing herself to the world, as the undiluted Diana Gordon, she released a self-affirming poem explaining her decision:

“I release all the negativity surrounding my past including a false name that I wore as a costume,” she wrote. “I wiped it off like smudged makeup after a long night of partying. My real name is Diana. It says so on my birth certificate. And it’s time for me to get to know her.”

 

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-04-26-07

Diana (Center) with sister duo Chloe and Halle

She has quickly risen to the star-studded ranks of music and was made the performance coach of Chloe x Halle, the remarkable young sisters and Beyonce’s protégés. Earlier this month, she performed along with music legends Mariah Carey, Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan at VH1’s Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night special, and, last week, she released the music video to her single “Woman”, which premiered on Vogue.com. “Woman” is a badass neo-rock anthem that explicitly and apologetically celebrates the power of a woman and is an ode to contemporary motherhood. The music video is a grainy New York cityscape and resembles something of an 80s cinematography shot by Cameron McCool. It features five heavily pregnant, diversely beautiful women, which expectedly made for an interesting shoot. Gordon also rides around town with model Adesuwa Aighewi.

hq720

Screenshot from “Woman”

“This song, that celebrates your mother, my mother, your sister, and my sister, is just my way to stand up for the woman next to me and all those unseen. In a time when we are still defending our right to choose, pay equality, moral and ethical equality; a time where single motherhood is on the rise and women are in the trenches raising the next generation largely by themselves, we have to be all-encompassing and stay strong through the worst of situations. We need to stand together”. Gordon hopes her lyrics will be received as unifying rather than as divisive, as they, unfortunately, were with “Sorry”.

gordon

“God gave you the answer when he gave you the woman,” Gordon sings and we are definitely singing along.


Follow Diana Gordon on Instagram and Twitter

Lui: Anais Mali’s Sexy

by Oyin Akande

anais-mali

Nipples removed by instagram not us 🙂

So it’s hard to imagine a world-class model being told that she’s anything but gorgeous, right? While we are increasingly aware how many mainstream industries push rigid and unattainable ideas of beauty, we have a tendency to overlook that these constructs are even more ruthlessly observed for models than they are for us, the majority of ‘real women’.

French model Anaïs Mali has featured in many editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and many other international titles; she has walked down the runways for Michael Kors, Balenciaga, Jason Wu and more. It would seem to most that her success in the industry, at the very least, is a confirmation of her widely accepted perfection. Yet, after landing the cover of French magazine Lui, an adult entertainment title created by Daniel Filipacchi, Jacques Lanzmann and Frank Ténot, Mali posted this on Instagram:

“I always wanted to be a LUI cover girl!! I was told by my ex model agency 2 years ago, that I wasn’t sexy enough for The Magazine. So I wanted to thank first of all @nextmodelsparis  for making this happen and a huge thanks to LUI for giving me the opportunity to show y’all what I could do (I’m a pretty shy girl and don’t often pose nude) so this is HUGE for me ! I’ve been criticized by the industry for Yeaaaaaaars because of the way I looked (too skinny , too sexy , not sexy enough, too petite .. blabla). I’m so at ease now that I realized that sexy begins by loving yourself and not caring what others think (EVER). anais-maliDon’t ever let anyone tell you that you re not good enough for this or that ! If you think that you are .. well you are . If the other are too blind to see it, their loss … And this .. is me”

Anais is not your ‘typical’ pin up in that she is incredibly slender, but Lui magazine has a more ‘high fashion’ slant, using photographers who usually shoot for magazines such as W Magazine rather than Playboy.

Born to a mother from Chad and a Polish father, Anaïs belongs to a generation of gorgeous melaninated models working the fashion and beauty industries. But she’s been fighting the rigid ideals of her industry for a long time. She left France for New York when she was 18 as she found it difficult to get jobs. She was told ‘This is Paris; black girls don’t work here’ and in 2013 spoke out about the persistent lack of diversity on the runway particularly in Milan.15357055_10154364455633645_2146778666_n

No matter who you are, what you do or what you look like, society’s mechanism can attack your confidence by telling you there is something you lack. Your “imperfections” or simply just qualities you do not possess (because we cannot be all things all at once, right?) become the standard against which you measure your worth. And the female body and identity are historically the choice  ‘victims’ of these paradoxical pressures.

Defined by your curves, defined by your lack of them. We must all be mindful of the pressure to be something other than ourselves, and not let this eclipse who we are. Even if you are a model.anais-mali-allure-may-2015

 

The model recently launched, Anaïs a collection of bodysuits created by model v Mali and designer Urivaldo Lopes in 2016. Inspired by the audaciousness of studio 54 and the supermodel era, Anaïs reinvents a 1980’s wardrobe staple for the modern woman with a “Made in Italy” philosophy, creating and armor that empowers its wearer through an urban perspective and irrefutably bold aesthetic.


Follow Anais and Anais Bodysuits on Instagram

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