The world is a small place. We are surrounded by amazing and inspiring people whom we might never notice. They could be sitting next to us on the train or bus, standing behind us in the queue at the bank or simply pass us in the street, and we would never know.
The following list is a celebration of the everyday woman, her magic and the amazing work they do every day without much media praise.
To help you with all your natural hair needs – from bomb hairstyles to salons with the hook-up – and fill the gap where British natural-hair gurus are missing, the ladies of CURLture UK are making sure no ‘fro, or woman is left behind.
Jay and Tri began CURLture UK back in 2014 on a mission to encourage women to accept and embrace their culture, and in turn, their natural hair. With two distinct hair types, they celebrate all types of hair from ‘fros to curls to kinks to locs, making CURLture UK a hub of inspiration for women (men too) on their natural hair journey.
Their tips are excellent and include products you don’t always have to order from overseas (we thank the natural hair gods!).
Check out more at curlture.co.uk
When teaching junior ballet classes Trindadian-British ballet dancer, Cassa Pancho, encourages her older dancers to bring in their brown pointe shoes, ‘so the girls see shoes in their skin colour’. Enough said, right?
Determined to offer dancers and students of black and Asian descent inspiring opportunities in classical ballet, Pancho began Ballet Black in 2001. Ballet Black hold open rehearsals, so everyone is given a chance to be inspired and moved.
Check out more at balletblack.co.uk
Growing up, loving our natural hair was not the easiest of tasks when long and silky locks were swaying in every direction you looked.
Angela Simpeh, author of My Curly Hair, decided to take it into her own hands to create a book about the adventures of a girl called Sky, her hair and her family, to help her young daughter, and in time every little black girl, love her hair and the cultural history behind it.
A painter, textile designer and creator of things, Kay Davis represents Black Girl Magic in every way. She believes in ‘just being yourself and genuinely make time for the things you love to do.’
From Jamaica via South-East London, Kay has been showcasing her artwork and accessory creations online for over five years and it’s only now the masses are begin to take notice – believe it or not, but the big brands jumped on the pom-pom earring wave after her designs.
Her dream-like paintings of black girl characters are visual representations of black culture and female energy, that honestly belong in a very cool children’s book.
Check out more at kaydavisartist.tumblr.com
26-year-old Brummy writer and mother, Jendella has done and been many things from a photographer to brand consultant. These days she throws light on issues surrounding faith, freelancer struggles, mental health, art and culture through her writing.
As a new mum, she’s also been working with the other young yummy mummys out there with her long-term project ‘Young Motherhood’ – a social documentary project that looks to challenge the misconceptions of being a young mother.
Check out more at jendella.co.uk
The ‘Benz Punani womanist’, Kelechi, is equally talented in all areas of her career- actor, director and twerker.
Working as a personal trainer alongside her professional acting career, she helps women connect with and love their bodies, no matter their shape or size via her twerkshops and pole classes. ‘There is no “one size fits all” rule when it comes to the body and fitness, so it’s important to determine our own rules. This way, the body that you desire will be the one you inhabit.’
A few white-owned twerk studios (ha!) have tried to block her shine but unfortunately for the enemies of progress, Kelechi is not the ‘lie-down-and-take-it’ type. All one needs do is type her name into Google to see the culprits rightfully dragged.
Her classes have become Sunday goals (for me at least) because we all deserve a solid core, getting very toned whilst booty popping and have a lot of fun in the process – all in a Sunday afternoon.
Check out more at kelechiokafor.com
Where is Siana not? There are no days off when it comes to world-changing for this poet, blogger and activist.
Founder and editor of No Fly on the WALL a platform to discuss intersectional feminism and centre the voices of black British women and black women living in the UK. She recently set up her own publishing house, Kamaria Press and will be releasing her first collection of poems called Elephant on May 21.
Currently she is working in partnership with filmmaker Troy-James Aidoo on an independent documentary investigating over 1,500 deaths in police custody in the UK called 1500 and Counting , which was sparked by the death of Sheku Bayoh on May 3, 2015 in Scotland.
Check out more at sianabangura.com
Indigo Williams, a poet and educator, and Lesley Asare, an artist, maker and facilitator founded ‘I Shape Beauty’ together. The two best friends created this art collective to engage women of colour through workshops and artistic projects.
Both creators believe beauty is about freedom, self-ownership and self-identity – it’s about your personal power and becoming aware of who you are and what you have to give to this world.
Individually, Lesley generates work through collaborative work, drawing, painting and the creation of abstract self-portraits. Whilst Indigo runs a poetry programme in her old secondary school, St Gabriel’s, to help encourage students to take more ownership of their stories, be more vocal and expressive.
Check out more at ishapebeauty.co.uk
If you’ve ever walked through Stratford City Centre on a Thursday or Friday evening you’ll have noticed the people whizzing and rolling past in the smoothest of fashions. My M8 Skates is a skate company founded by photographer, mother and all-round skater, Leigsha Peter. The key element is family fun for all.
The centre becomes a skate rink for anyone and everyone who needs a place to skate or is interested in learning – skateboarders, roller skaters, BMX-ers, even the body poppers and lockers.
They’ve held many charity skates to help feed the homeless and hosted skating events at venues like Byron Hall and Red Bull Roller Disco.
If you want to get involved all you need to do is show up with your own skates and begin and if you like a trick or think someone’s exceptional, all you need to do is ask them to show you how and they will.
They’ve even succeeded in getting a man like JME away from his hoverboard for long enough to learn some tricks.
Check out more at My M8 Skates
Not many people would brave the switch from english lit and creative writing to web development, out of fear of ‘how does this connect to my degree??’ but it didn’t stop this writer and poet.
Simply wanting to expand her blog to a full site, she taught herself all the coding she could, fell in love with it and founded Blackgirl.tech in 2014, a non-profit that aims to provide WoC with more tech and coding opportunities and bring balance to the lack of women of colour in the tech industry.
I remember coding from my MySpace and Piczo days (if you can’t remember them, you’re too young) for the simple purpose of having a glittery icon/name bless your profile page. Who knew all these years later it would be a very useful and important thing we should all learn? Not many of you. Get on it.
Check out more at damilolaodelola.com
For women of colour, testing new makeup products is a both a disappointing and anxiety-driven adventure. We spend six times more on hair and beauty than any other race, and for what? Who has time for grey undertones, ashy highlights and lip-cracking lipstick? No-one. Not a soul. But Elizabeth introduced My Chocobelle Box to help curb that fear and encourage WoC to try out new products and brands.
Each month she ships a discovery subscription box of up-to five beauty items across the UK and Europe straight to your door. The items vary from month to month as she works with quality retailers to ensure her customers get the best samples and a new surprise every time. The goal is to lessen the amount women of colour spend on products and introduce them to awesome affordable brands.
‘We have different skin tones, hair types, likes and dislikes and MCB is about working with what you like and have. Every detail is taken into consideration and each brand has been tried and tested by myself or others to ensure high quality. I wouldn’t send you anything I wouldn’t vouch for.’
Check out more at mychocobelle.co.uk