Tag: UK

Hot Seat: The Good Hair Club


Good hair…hmm.. two simple words that have caused controversy on social media in recent times. But what is good hair?!

You can define it however you want; I think it starts with healthy hair, says Oyin, Founder of The Good Hair Club (TGHC). In the black hair community, unfortunately it’s still defined as having a specific (looser) curl pattern, but perceptions are changing with this latest natural hair movement.

natural hair, British brands
Oyin – Founder of TGHC @Goodhairclubuk

 

What is TGHC?

An online platform with (at the moment) independent British hair care brands, that compliment natural hair. TGHC is about being good to yourself, your hair and the world – while defining beauty on your own terms.

Why was TGHC started?

From March 2015 I lived in Nigeria for a while and decided to shave my hair off. It was just too hot! I came back to London, and chose not to relax my hair again.  When my hair was relaxed I didn’t think about the damage these chemicals could cause or even considered how to look after my hair properly.

tghc-2

What was it like for you looking for natural hair products?

I found so many amazing (independent) brands catering for natural hair. However, they weren’t always easy to find, as they don’t always have the distribution channels to reach customers.

We don’t have to settle for products which damage our hair and scalp!

 

When was TGHC launched?

June 2016, with a photography exhibition showcasing the diversity of black women. Prior to launch I did a lot of research, speaking to friends and family about where TGHC could add value in the market place.

Do you think the UK natural hair market is growing?

Yes! Social media has provided black beauty bloggers/vloggers the opportunity to create a fun space for tools/advice; and visual evidence of what can be achieved with natural afro/curly hair.

There is proof that natural hair isn’t IMPOSSIBLE to maintain. Women are wearing their natural hair with pride.

How do you decide which brands to feature on TGHC?

Along with looking at brand reviews, I talk to the brand owners to understand if their values are in line with the TGHC ethos. I’m not limited to British brands, but this is where I’m starting.

tghc

A large proportion of black haircare businesses in the UK are owned by Asian or Middle Eastern men, why do you think this is?

I don’t know. It’s the same in America. Black people need to empower and support each other and build our own establishments. When I went natural and visited these shops, I realised that we settle for an experience that isn’t about us (even though we are the main consumers). I’m a black woman and believe I have a better idea of black beauty needs, compared to an Asian man.

I want to create an experience that is fun, exciting, fashionable and beauty-led.

Most popular products on TGHC?

Moisture is key for healthy hair, so conditioners are popular, especially with the rise of co-washing. Soap bars and oils are also near the top of the list.

Autumn is upon us, any product recommendations?

I recommend them all! It’s about finding what works for your hair type. The natural hair journey is an individual one. Products used in colder months may be different from what you use in the summer.

Exciting developments we can look out for?

I’ve got an international project coming in 2017; I won’t say much at the moment, but watch this space. I’m also planning on bringing more amazing brands to TGHC.

Any natural hair inspirations?

Of course! Solange is the embodiment of the care free black girl. Lupita Nyong’o has challenged western beauty ideas. Most importantly, both have fun with their hair.

Solange scored her first #1 Album (A Seat at the Table) a few weeks ago.

 

Good hair, don’t care! You can check out TGHC to find out more.

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Snippets of an African legacy

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Ghana’s art scene is taking shape


 It’s been 59 years to the day since Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule. Currently there are many issues affecting the country, which will probably reach boiling point during what will be a hotly contested election in November.

Despite all the politics, the country is basking in its burgeoning contemporary art scene. Gallery 1957 is opening in the country’s capital Accra, marking independence day, by showcasing a history of Ghanaian art and the work of current contemporary artists. The Ghanaian art scene has been struggling for decades, requiring funding, but those within the industry, like Creative Director of Gallery 1957, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, are passionate about providing Ghanaian artists, like Serge Attukwei Clottey, an environment where they can produce and showcase their creations, while earning a living from their art.

 

Ghana art, African art, ghanaian artists
Passionate about African art: Gallery 1957 Creative Director, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim.

 Pic via Okayafrica: Artwork: Ibrahim Mahama. Photo: Alice McCool

Creatives in the diaspora are also drawing on their heritage for inspiration. Ghanaian-American animator Abdul Ndadi created a cartoon, who’s main character, a young African girl called Orisha takes on adventures.

The cartoon has a Pan-African feel, covering Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Gambia and Guinea; from the characters, storylines to the music. It aims to show children a different narrative to what they usually see and provide black children with an additional character they can physically identify with.

“As an artist I felt a responsibility, even in a small way, to have an image of a beautiful African girl our youth could identify with, doing cool things. The main reason my main character is female is because not only do black women deal with the problem of racism, they also have the added burden of sexism as well.” – Abdul Ndadi 

The cartoon has already had audiences at various festivals, including the 2015 Cannes Short Film Corner and the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan. Check out an interview with Abdul Ndadi at OkayAfrica and a snippet of Orisha’s Journey below.

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Featured image collage: Serge Attukwei Clottey courtesy of Gallery 1957 and Abdul Ndadi.

#MondayMotivation – The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt


Another start to the week with quotes that inspire, motivate and challenge!

“In Africa today, we recognise that trade and investment, and not aid, are pillars of development.” – Paul kagame; president of Rwanda, October 1957 – present

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison;  America novelist, 1931 – present

“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were, and say, ‘Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw; Irish Playwright, 1856 – 1950

nelson mandela poverty

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” – Will Rogers; American cowboy and newspaper columnist 1879 – 1935

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” – Maya Angelou; American author and poet; 1928–2014

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath; American poet, 1932 – 1963

“Life is like riding a bicycle. Your keep your balance, you must keep moving” – Albert Einstein

Ad+s Diaspora:

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Nelson Mandela – (South) Africa has to let him go


Known to the world as Nelson Mandela, named Rolihlahla by his father and commonly referred to as Madiba (his clan name, which is considered more important than a surname) in his native South Africa; we all know what he signifies. In the last few days it has emerged Madiba is critically ill in hospital from a recurring lung infection, rumoured to be the result of a tuberculosis infection he caught in prison in 1988.

Continue reading “Nelson Mandela – (South) Africa has to let him go”

What’s wrong with this picture?


touch of art

So, it’s nearly the end of June and the beginning of summer, a ‘British summer’ that is so I am not getting my hopes up! Usually June is pretty quiet for me, and a reminder that half of the year has gone! This year June was more eventful though, with the highlight being ‘A Touch of Art’. I’ll be honest, I’m no art critic but always admired the craft, especially as I am hopeless at drawing, but better at painting lol. I’ve visited the most popular galleries in London, including the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the Wallace Collection. I’ve also visited some of the most famous ones in New York, the Guggenheim and MoMA. There were amazing portraits and sculptures, but what I remember most, when I visited in 2011 were these two posters:

Continue reading “What’s wrong with this picture?”

It’s a numbers game


Two weeks ago I watched the 1993 film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington for the first time! I have heard about it but obviously never got round to watching it. Naturally it got me thinking about how far the world has come in the war against HIV and AIDS and how much work still needs to be done, as I discussed in a previous post. December is a month known as the festive / religious season of Christmas, although now it’s more about the retail industry boosting profits than the real meaning of Christmas; red is the usual celebratory colour during this time. From 1st December I noticed people started to adorn themselves with red ribbons, not in preparation for Christmas but for World AIDS day.

Continue reading “It’s a numbers game”

Britannia ruled the waves


Black History Month (BHM) in the UK was initiated by Ghanaian Akyaaba Addai Sebbo. As part of this educational period, I went to Leytonstone Library, east London for a short film screening, ‘I’m an African’ by Alfred Mante of www.narrowpathfilms.co.uk.

The documentary has anecdotal tales of young British-born Africans in London. It also touches on how people of African and Caribbean descent perceive themselves and divisions between the two communities, in London especially. It’s believed that once upon a time, children of African parents were ashamed to be associated with the continent, especially with negative images of a starved and ravaged Africa often shown in the media. The film screening was well attended by an audience which was not exclusively black, and triggered a lively debate at the end.

During slavery and Africa’s colonial period Europeans had a strategy to stay on top of the game, ‘divide and rule’ (Yes, the same term that got Cambridge educated MP Diane Abbott, into hot water!):

  • From the Latin ‘Divide et impera’. Win by getting one’s opponents to fight among themselves. This expression appeared in the English language from the 1600s (dictionary.reference.com)
  • A combination of political, military and economic strategies that aim to gain and maintain power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into chunks that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. In order to rule securely, don’t allow alliances of your enemies (wiktionary)
  • Continue reading “Britannia ruled the waves”