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BLMNL Hosts “Redefining Our Standards of Beauty” Events to Educate on Black Hair and the Importance of Shifting Beauty Standards – The Muse

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February, Black History Month, is a month to celebrate Black lives and bring further awareness to Black history and culture. As a Black person, this month is very impactful as I learn more about my history. Last Saturday, Black Lives Matter Newfoundland and Labrador held their first event during their “Redefining Our Standards of Beauty” series. The online events will discuss Black beauty and how we redefine our standards of beauty. The first event focused on challenging the idea that “white is right” and developing our own ideas of right and wrong. 

After a warm welcome from the Co-Chair, Raven Khadeja, the event’s Keynote speaker Tanya Turton spoke on redefining our beauty standards to start matching with the identities that we carry. What stuck with me was her focus on the relationship between beauty and wellness; how that relationship can help us redefine our beauty. Furthermore, she discussed how redefining our beauty attaches us to another relationship central to the conversation: one between the body, mind and soul.

My takeaway from her impressive presentation is to practice beauty: you can start with defining beauty and integrating that definition into your authentic self. It left me to ponder on what beauty is to me and how I can showcase that through my unique character and identity.

“Beauty is reflective of your authentic self”

Tanya Turton

Afterwards, we dove into a Roundtable featuring: Muna Ahmed, an organizer and writer for BLM Nogojiwanong; Tanya Turton, Founder of NiaZamar; Thyzaria Nowels, Biology teacher and Lab Tech; Grace Phiri, Creative content creator; Laughter Afolabi, a co-founder of We-defined and Rachel Gilbert, an Interdisciplinary Artist. This Roundtable featured people from different professions and backgrounds discussing their experiences in situations of anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and racism, and how these experiences affected their lives. Thyzaria talks about her experience as a Black worker in the Netherlands, and how she faced direct racism whilst working.

“You can’t say Black lives matter without caring for Black workers”

Muna Ahmed

After the round table, we had quick fashion tips from Laughter Afolabi, a co-founder of We-defined. She showed us three ways to dress that would maintain a part of Black culture, using prints and textures. To finish the event we had a special hair tutorial for hair types ranging from 3A to 4C with Ashley Baptiste, a natural hair specialist and the owner of Casa de Capelli Beauty Salon. She gave tips on how to deal with Black hair and the need for protective hairstyles. She ventured into a conversation about appropriation and the importance of giving Black women credit for protective hairstyles.

All in all the event was a good learning experience and I would suggest that more people check out BLMNL’s future events. You can sign up for events, or stay tuned, on their Instagram page bio (@black_lives_matternl).