Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Black Beauty & Fashion Awards (Interview) Black Beauty & Fashion Awards (Interview)
Black Beauty & Fashion Awards (Interview)

The Black beauty and fashion awards aims to give consumers of black beauty products a voice that will be heard clearly and help carve a market space for new businesses, products and innovations.  So over the summer, the public voted in 15 categories covering cosmetics, skin care, hair care and male grooming products. Ebonyonline.net caught up with awards founder Cheryl Jumbo ahead of the glittering February award ceremony to talk legacy, natural hair and beauty rituals.


EO: How did the idea for the Black Beauty and Fashion awards come about?

CJ: The idea came about seven years ago when I was working as a cosmetic scientist for a large cosmetic manufacture and as part of my work I had to attend industry events.


The events were usually about how the products were performing eg best shampoo or body moisturiser and I noticed that the products in the goody bags were not suitable for my hair or skin.


I also realised that I along with other Black women were spending a small fortune on my hair and beauty needs and I just felt our voices as consumers needs to be recognised Just identifying the Black products out there, what works well and to celebrate them.


EO: What can people who attend award ceremony expect on the night?

CJ: It’s going to be a night of entertainment and of black excellence. We are celebrating our heritage as well as our legacy.


The industry didn’t just start overnight, it was founded by 3 men called Dyke, Dryden and Tony Wade, they came in here and set up the black beauty industry and they became the first black millionaires in the UK. So we’ll be sharing their stories as well.


There will be an exhibition, fashion show and the main awards ceremony itself. We’ll also have a number of influential people attending. People who have worked hard in the industry to carve out a space for themselves. So it should be a night of inspiration


EO: What are some of the categories been honoured?

CJ: We have categories covering the breath of the industry. For instance we have the constituency award. MPs have nominated small to medium sized businesses in their constituencies that cater to black beauty needs. We will have awards for best natural hair care brand, best male grooming products, best anti-aging and best body care product to name but a few.


EO: Why was it important to give black consumers a voice about the products and fashion they are using?

CJ: It’s been reported that £5.25 billion was spent last year on Afro hair products and we’re not talking about beauty, makeup or skincare products, just hair alone. It’s has also been said that 80% of all hair products sold in the United Kingdom are bought by black women.


It is therefore important that the [black] consumers are giving a voice. They deserve to be heard.


EO: You’ve said that beauty and fashion play a huge role our understanding of our heritage. What did you mean by that?

CJ:  The more that we embrace our natural hair and understand the ways in which we can care for it we actually open up a better relationship with who we are. We begin to understanding more of who we are and where we have come from on this Afro hair journey.


For instance the slave period influenced many of the current hair styles in that some of the designs that we see now were said to have their origins in maps that indicated to other slaves, routes to freedom.


Our beauty rituals come from understanding more about our heritage and I’m encouraging us to go back and understand more about whom we are and our authentic beauty.


EO: Why is it important to recognise the advancement taking place in the industry concerning Black Beauty Hair and fashion?

CJ: I think that the industry has never been recognised for what it is and what has been achieved. It is about time Black beauty got the industry credibility it deserves. We need to champion those who are making progress with regards product development and innovation.


The industry has being going strong for the last 34 years, we need to acknowledge this and celebrate the legacy of what has been achieved by our pioneers.


EO: What kind of experience has it been putting on an award ceremony of this scale and complexity?

CJ: It’s been a challenge but I have always been a person who embraces challenges. They help me to grow, they build character, I think one of the things that has speared me on mostly is understanding that the consumer wanted to be heard. Finally now they have a voice. Also from the business side of things there’s so much talent out there that I was determined to showcase and bring to the attention of the community.


Black Beauty & Fashion Awards, 23 February, Porchester Hall, W2 5HS £42-£181 Visit www.bbfawards.com for tickets and details.

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