Last weekend, Jaber Foundation in conjunction with Fashion Icons Tan organised an amazing meet up at LakeHub, Kisumu that aimed at bringing together young people in the city of Kisumu in a bid to encourage them to embrace their melanin and wear it with grace and confidence. The event, My Black Is Beauty, attracted a good number of people and my friend and I were not left out. With all this melanin, we just had to represent.
The interactive session that lasted for about four hours on the afternoon of Saturday was so educative and I thought I should share some lessons from the same to take care of those who didn’t come through.
- On Melanin, Modelling Industry & The Everyday Life
This topic of discussion was handled by Ms Sheila Udida; the reigning Miss Kisumu City, who gave a very insightful talk on how skin color has been used as a tool for discrimination in the modelling industry, with most key industry players preferring dark male models while the female models having to battle it out with their lighter toned counterparts who are mostly preferred. Miss Udida, however, urged models present not to give in to skin lightening procedures for opportunities but instead wear their dark color proudly.
This part of the discussion also saw the audience share powerful stories of how they have been discriminated against openly in the modelling industry as a result of their skin tones. One of the attendees lamented that she was once turned down by a boss who thought she was too dark for the assignment despite having met all the qualifications.
Away from the modelling industry, it was also noted that the everyday life wasn’t a walk in the park for those with the lighter shade of black, commonly referred to as ‘rangi ya thao’. The audience talked about how light skinned women are considered feeble, lazy and at times thought to be in a position of being unable to do things on their own. The audience was advised not to belittle themselves because of their skin color but instead use their voice to let those that think lowly of them know the beauty that’s in black.
“I want to encourage each of us to use our voices to right the wrongs we come across. Imagine what would have happened if we all said no to discrimination on the basis of our color,” said Sheila.
- On Kinks & Curls
Something about kinky curly screams the African hair. Yes, cause our mane is the tough, coily and kinky type. As a naturalista; this topic of discussion was so dear to me and I must confess I learnt alot from Nana Husna, a natural hair enthusiast, who walked us the road of understanding the African hair. Nana basically talked about the dos and don’ts of maintaining healthy natural African hair. She advised ladies to stay away from relaxers and hair products that contained harmful products such as parabens and sulphates as they also posed health dangers aside from damaging the hair. She further told the ladies and gentlemen alike to give their hair some tender loving care.
“Know your hair type and find the right products for your hair. It will take a while but your hair will thank you for taking care of it,” she said.
Side note; Nana’s hair is so beautiful BTW 😊
- On Skin Procedures & Everything Dermatology
I’ve never felt so strange to a part of my body like I did when Arthur Chweya, a medical student at Maseno University gave the skin narrative. I still feel I know less but unlike before, I now know a thing or two. This segment was majorly about understanding how the skin works, the coloring of the skin and the dangers of creepy skin procedures people undergo in the quest to match the society’s definition of beautiful. With skin lightening being an obsession today, Arthur urged the audience to shun over the counter drugs that contained hydroquinone and mercury that are mostly used by people to change their skin tones but instead seek safer ventures or stay in their God given skin color all the same. He concluded by telling the audience that they’re all different shades of black and thus equal except for the melanin levels in their bodies.
The event culminated with Joylette Mbeka, Co-founder Jaber Foundation and also one of the panelists for the day putting across the essence of people accepting themselves and moving away from negativity thrown towards them in regard to their look cause at the end of the day goals gotta get accomplished and that can only be done by putting the past behind and practising self acceptance.
NB: I’d have loved to use photos of the event in this post but my partner for the day and I forgot to carry a camera with us besides we weren’t sure if taking pictures in the venue was allowed. You could however check some of the pictures of the day on Jaber Foundation’s FaceBook page.
Thank you for dropping by.
Till next post, love & light! 💞