WORLD AFRO DAY® AWARDS 2018

SOCIAL IMPACT AWARD

Recognises individuals, who are showcasing Afro textured hair for the community and wider society. They are positively shaping the way in which Afro hair is perceived in the media and they are making bold changes to empower the community and leave a lasting legacy.


2018 WINNER: LEKIA LEE

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2018 NOMINEES

  LEKIA LEE   Lekia Lée is a former broadcast journalist and founder of  Project Embrace , a platform promoting unconditional self-love, inspiring women to love and embrace their natural hair. Returning natural in 2000, it was not until 2011 when she developed the #afrovisibility billboard campaign to champion afro-textured hair, so as to inspire her daughter and girls like her to find pride and beauty in wearing natural hairstyles - thus asserting in them the belief that afro hair is worthy of representation.  In its short existence, the campaign is the UK's largest (if not the only) natural hair billboard campaign, with the first billboard going up in 2017, progressing from just two billboards in London, to 72 billboards, in seven cities around the UK, a mere year later. Project Embrace Afrovisibility billboard campaign was shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year 2017.  Lekia has featured on various media platforms, including BBC news,  ITV's Good Morning Britain ,  the Huffington Post, The Voice newspaper  and  Stylist magazine , to name but a few. Her vision is to change the narrative around beauty, creating visible diversity in the media, widening the definition of beauty and empowering women and girls with curls to embrace, love and own their unique beauty; for Lekia, World Afro Day is an opportunity to “ celebrate the uncelebrated ”.

LEKIA LEE

Lekia Lée is a former broadcast journalist and founder of Project Embrace, a platform promoting unconditional self-love, inspiring women to love and embrace their natural hair. Returning natural in 2000, it was not until 2011 when she developed the #afrovisibility billboard campaign to champion afro-textured hair, so as to inspire her daughter and girls like her to find pride and beauty in wearing natural hairstyles - thus asserting in them the belief that afro hair is worthy of representation.

In its short existence, the campaign is the UK's largest (if not the only) natural hair billboard campaign, with the first billboard going up in 2017, progressing from just two billboards in London, to 72 billboards, in seven cities around the UK, a mere year later. Project Embrace Afrovisibility billboard campaign was shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year 2017.

Lekia has featured on various media platforms, including BBC news, ITV's Good Morning Britain, the Huffington Post, The Voice newspaper and Stylist magazine, to name but a few. Her vision is to change the narrative around beauty, creating visible diversity in the media, widening the definition of beauty and empowering women and girls with curls to embrace, love and own their unique beauty; for Lekia, World Afro Day is an opportunity to “celebrate the uncelebrated”.


  SHIRVINA BEST   As one of the most celebrated natural hair and beauty entrepreneurs in the UK, CurlyTreats Festival Founder, Shirvina “Vinna” Best challenges traditional beauty standards. Since 2013 launching UK biggest natural hair & Beauty event, CurlyTreats Festival, her contributions have helped to redefine the meaning of beauty in the UK. There is diversity in beauty: recognition of the difference in hair textures, age, race, culture and gender - all of which should be celebrated. In February 2018, Vinna won ‘Influencer of the Year’ at the Black Beauty & Fashion awards; the award acknowledges Shirvina’s valuable contributions to the industry, as well as her entrepreneurial spirit.  Shirvina recalls her initial return to natural in 1997, at a time when a lack of hair care products dedicated to the needs of afro hair textures made the return a difficult one to sustain; over the next ten years, she would transition between hair relaxers and natural hair styles, finally dispensing with relaxers in 2016, during her participation in the  Macmillan Cancer Support  ‘Brave the Shave Challenge’, to honour her late mother, Rita Andall.  Shirvina believes the annual World Afro Day addresses issues of diversity, education, representation, discrimination and inclusion, through celebration and normalisation of the beauty of afro hair – both within and outside of the black diaspora.

SHIRVINA BEST

As one of the most celebrated natural hair and beauty entrepreneurs in the UK, CurlyTreats Festival Founder, Shirvina “Vinna” Best challenges traditional beauty standards. Since 2013 launching UK biggest natural hair & Beauty event, CurlyTreats Festival, her contributions have helped to redefine the meaning of beauty in the UK. There is diversity in beauty: recognition of the difference in hair textures, age, race, culture and gender - all of which should be celebrated. In February 2018, Vinna won ‘Influencer of the Year’ at the Black Beauty & Fashion awards; the award acknowledges Shirvina’s valuable contributions to the industry, as well as her entrepreneurial spirit.

Shirvina recalls her initial return to natural in 1997, at a time when a lack of hair care products dedicated to the needs of afro hair textures made the return a difficult one to sustain; over the next ten years, she would transition between hair relaxers and natural hair styles, finally dispensing with relaxers in 2016, during her participation in the Macmillan Cancer Support ‘Brave the Shave Challenge’, to honour her late mother, Rita Andall.

Shirvina believes the annual World Afro Day addresses issues of diversity, education, representation, discrimination and inclusion, through celebration and normalisation of the beauty of afro hair – both within and outside of the black diaspora.


  SELMA NICHOLLS   Selma Nicholls is CEO and Founder of Looks Like Me, a talent agency that aims to redefine beauty by raising the profile of under-represented groups in the fashion and advertising worlds. The name of the agency was inspired by Selma’s three-year-old daughter, who questioned her own identity in the limited media imagery of children that looked like her. With a background in creating content, casting and production, Selma designed and developed tailored workshops, editorials and castings that would open the door for black and ethnic minority groups to be more visible in the world of brand communications.  Among Selma’s many achievements are casting advertising campaigns for #SoWhiteProject , Tesco  and  Sainsbury’s . Her passion project,  #LooksLikeMeUK Hero In Us All , is based around the concept of taking care when connecting with audiences, through championing inclusivity and diversity; the extraordinary difference this makes to advertising content means proactively being the change we want to see in the world!  Selma believes World Afro Day is important as it “ illuminates the beauty of Afro hair throughout the world ” and aligns with her ethos of providing children with self-reflecting media images on billboards, adverts and in magazines.

SELMA NICHOLLS

Selma Nicholls is CEO and Founder of Looks Like Me, a talent agency that aims to redefine beauty by raising the profile of under-represented groups in the fashion and advertising worlds. The name of the agency was inspired by Selma’s three-year-old daughter, who questioned her own identity in the limited media imagery of children that looked like her. With a background in creating content, casting and production, Selma designed and developed tailored workshops, editorials and castings that would open the door for black and ethnic minority groups to be more visible in the world of brand communications.

Among Selma’s many achievements are casting advertising campaigns for #SoWhiteProject, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Her passion project, #LooksLikeMeUK Hero In Us All, is based around the concept of taking care when connecting with audiences, through championing inclusivity and diversity; the extraordinary difference this makes to advertising content means proactively being the change we want to see in the world!

Selma believes World Afro Day is important as it “illuminates the beauty of Afro hair throughout the world” and aligns with her ethos of providing children with self-reflecting media images on billboards, adverts and in magazines.