I had the honour of attending the first ever Black Beauty and Fashion Awards (BBFA) which took place at London’s Porchester Hall on the 23rd March. Styled by my friend, fashionista and style icon Julius Reuben, I wore a hot pink long straight glitter dress from his Untribe Collection, accessorised with my side hustle Wrap Star Accessories, for a seat at a VIP table in honour of an awards show celebrating people of colour, particularly black women, and their contribution to the beauty and fashion industry…
Julius was not only a life-saver accepting my invite to be my guest (shame to let VIP tickets go to waste, right?), he followed through by coming to the rescue to loan me a dress for the special occasion. Now I must admit, when he showed me the pictures of the outfits available, this hot pink worn by a melancholic-looking model didn’t appeal to me initially. In fact I had my mind set on red (my go to colour for ‘wow factor’ moments), recalling a sparkly jumpsuit I’d modelled for Julius some years back, however it was on loan. Sensing my doubt, he simple said, ‘trust me’, and I did!
Red Carpet moments
It’s always good to come prepared, especially when you’ve made a special effort outside you’re normal routine to look the part (my normal routine tends to involve very little make-make). Preparation came in the form of carrying own DSLR camera so I wouldn’t have to wait for the official pictures to be released before I could share highlights from the night (despite taking the contacts of each photography who snapped our pics!) What’s more, I was able to upload some of the pictures from my camera the very next morning on the Let’s do Lunch and Diversity Matters Facebook pages, saving myself weeks of anxiety waiting for official pictures to be shared (though I really can’t wait for them to be released as I’m sure they’ll look amazing!)
So here’s a heads up, all pictures are © me, Kai Lutterodt, courtesy of Let’s do Lunch Network sharing some moments of my meaningful connections from the BBFA (please seek permission before using)
Highlights from the awards show
Congratulations to Afrocenchix (my cousin Rachael and her business partner Joycelyn) for winning Best Hair Care Brand! It’s just over two years since I began my natural hair journey with a ‘big chop’ (well, near enough big anyway) getting rid of my chemically straightened hair I felt compelled wear in order to fit in (and fit with my long straight hair extensions). There’s reassurances for many black women on a similar journey knowing that a brand such as Afrocenchix create products specifically for them, making natural hair transition or journey much easier.
Singer Misha B (Do You Think of Me?), semi-finalist on the eighth series of The X Factor, entertained us with her powerful vocals and uplifting lyrics celebrating sisterhood. I captured a moment of her on the red carpet with her radiant crew of friends drapped in ankara fabrics.
So I was asked a number times if I’m a model (ok, maybe just once or twice) however it was enough to make you start feeling like one! I hung out backstage with award-winning hair stylist and designer Angela Plummer and her stunning models wearing pieces hand-made using 100% hair extensions (I’ll share more about Braid Couture in the next post)!
On one of my many rounds to enquire about the food which seemed to have come to a halt when it came to my table, I bumped into Dr Shola, CEO and managing director of Miss Commonwealth organisation. He stopped me with a pitch to enter the Miss Commonwealth Beauty pageant, and once he said his name, I responded; “erm, Dr Shola don’t you recognised me? I was Ms Ghana Commonwealth UK like 10yrs ago!” then I reminded him that he introduced me to his son who never called me back (I feel another blog post following this reunion coming up!)
My evening couldn’t end without meeting the CEO of Black Beauty and Fashion Awards herself, Cheryl Jumbo. I have so much respect for this women who single-handedly put on an awards show unapologetically uplifting black women, black beauty and black fashion! In my line of work, I’ve found that despite ‘diversity’ being on everyone’s lips and agendas, getting funding to promote or uplift anything ‘black’ is a challenge and a half (all of a sudden, ‘oh there’s no budget!’) – I live this everyday in my work with Diversity Matters! So I salute Cheryl for going against the grain and creating another gateway for women who look like me to be celebrated! We contribute to so much in the beauty and fashion industry (not to mention the wealthy of it!) yet were are we in recognition? Here’s to continuing to create our opportunities until society wants a piece of the innovation it’s missing out on…
I couldn’t resist a pic opportunity with this doll from Bounce Essential’s ‘Sibahle Collection‘ of dolls with hand-made African print dress. I thought of my friend in Puerto Rico expecting a baby girl – I think this will make an ideal gift!
Always stand tall…
Can we just take a moment to admire the shoes… They didn’t come off until I reached home!
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Let me know your thoughts on my outfit, the first Black Beauty and Fashion Awards, and any comments you’d like to share in the box below!
More highlights, interview with Julius Reuben and pictures from the #BFFA coming next on the blog!
So, when are we doing lunch?… or coffee?
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p.s I’m “delightfully dyslexic“, so pls read past any typos, unless they’re embarrassing then in that case flag it up to me!)