After seeing everyone tweet, hashtag and share their bank holiday plans, Shades of Beauty Live was the one event that flooded our timeline. The first ‘Black Beautycon’ took place on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th August at London’s iconic Lindley Hall. With so much buzz around the event, there was, of course, a certain pressure from the hosts to deliver and sure enough, they did not disappoint.
With the ongoing lack of diversity in the beauty industry, two sisters from Peckham Christina and Grace Adesina took it upon themselves to celebrate real women of different complexions and sizes and empower those often marginalised by mainstream media and society in general with Shades of Beauty Live. SBL also launched their #MyShadeMatters campaign revelling women of colour and challenging the widespread homogenized notion and lack of diverse representation of black women. Some of the most influential figures in the beauty industry including Vogue’s Contributing Editor, Funmi Fetto, Sharmadean Reid MBE and body positivity ambassador and author, The Slumflower (Chidera Eggerue) sat on various panels that took place over the two-day expo sharing their insights and experience in the industry.
Shades of Beauty Live Co-founder Christina Adesina said: “So often we are fed images of the quintessential woman of colour who is usually very slim, has a caramel complexion and loose curly hair. This sends a detrimental message to young girls and women who do not fit that ideal. I want my young dark-skinned daughter with 4C hair to love the skin she is in and know that she is beautiful, hence #myshadematters and our event Shades of Beauty Live.”
The above display caught the attention of the whole venue as well as passers-by on the street. The ladies, ranging from size 6 to size 16 were dressed in flesh coloured bodysuits and underwear from women of colour focused lingerie brand Nubian Skin.
Around 2,000 fans, beauty enthusiasts, influencers and microbloggers attended the event ahead of the Notting Hill Carnival to meet online idols in beauty and hair and engage with their favourite brands known for catering to women of colour. Highlights of the event included live interactive workshops including a hair workshop led by celebrity stylist Kevin Shanti who received online acclamation from presenter Maya Jama for his colourful unicorn lace wig creation on popular influencer Mariam Musa.
What we loved the most about SBL was the atmosphere and environment of the event. Everyone was welcoming and it truly felt like every shade mattered. As a black woman, I left inspired, empowered and comfortable in my own skin flaws and all. I can’t tell you the number of times I was called beautiful in just one day. More importantly, the goodie bag was one to brag about. The bar has been set to a high standard and we cannot wait to see what Shades of Beauty Live 2019 has in store for us.
By Stella Dzingai