What’s the good word, my peoples?
So, the TIFF madness has begun. Everyone’s calendars are filled with events, parties and film premieres to get into. Mine is busy but not as busy because your girl forgot to apply for her media accreditation this year during the summer madness (don’t worry, my calendar has been updated and is set and ready to go for next year). Mind you, I feel like the experience will be a little different this year because of the SAG-AFTRA strike (give them what they deserve already!) and the lack of star power doing interviews and the like. For me, that’s where it’s at—the interview opportunities and sharing stories behind the projects. Anyhow, I’ve been invited to a few things that I’m going to try and attend moving forward. But my TIFF vibe started on Wednesday night at Chubby’s Jamaican Restuarant, where they hosted a fantastic event by SheaMoisture and Langton PR, led by television and movie actor Andrea Lewis.
The Black Beauty On Screen event included a solid discussion on how our perspectives of Black beauty are seen and portrayed on screen. Led by Lewis, the discourse included a panel of well-respected and experienced Black women in the industry. Celebrity hairstylist to clients like Issa Rae (and me when my braids and dye jobs are off the chain) Glenna Sandy, Canadian actress Oluniké Adeliyi (Mike, The Porter, Revenge of the Black Best Friend), beauty and plus size style expert Tracy Pert (CityLine), film/television/theatre hairstylist Cam Johnson and SheaMoisture Canada’s Brand Lead Maureen Kitheka.
The panel discussion was dope. Panelists shared their perspectives on how Black hair can be a focal point and change with direction, mood and context within a film or television setting. They touched upon the complexities of representation and the utter freeness and inventiveness Black hair possesses. It’s ever-changing and symbolic. Our tresses are versatile, resilient and can also be a work of art. Plain and simple—it’s magical. Words used to describe hair journeys consisted of evolving (Maureen), empowering (Glenna) and a process (Cam). But my favourite part of the discussion came from Lewis’s question: Who would you say is someone you drew inspiration from during your hair journey?
Queen Latifah, Grace Jones and iterations of Viola Davis’s Annalise Keating character in How to Get Away with Murder were all mentioned. The Queen’s effortless grace and silk press, Grace Jones’s flat-top fade and her unabashed don’t-give-two-effs attitude, and Annalise’s chameleon-like portrayal of life via her hairstyles all gave us different awakening moments to draw inspiration from. But it was Pert’s mention of Lauryn Hill in the Fugees “Vocab” video that took me back to my hair journey. Remember when Lauryn busted out on the scene with her baby ‘fro all knotted up in twists? Melanin popping unapologetically. Her beautiful dark-skinned hue was an inspiration, and everything she represented was one of the first reflections of a dark-skinned beauty I wanted to emulate at the time. From her baby ‘fro to Bantu knots and her beautiful locs (she inspired me to start my 15-year loc journey then), Lauryn was the epitome of hip hop style with a touch of class and pizazz. I loved every facet of it.
Coming soon to Netflix is Lewis’s docuseries The Black Beauty Effect. It’s a collection of interviews with some of Hollywood’s Black star power like Meagan Good, Toronto’s own Kayla Greaves, and Elaine Welteroth. As the synopsis reads: Black women examine historic trends and major changes in Hollywood and the beauty industry toward Black skincare, hair and makeup. I’ll have more to share on that soon. So stay tuned.
The evening was a wonderful success as patrons sipped on libations (the Film Diva was my drink of the night) and enjoyed delectable hors d’oeuvres. I guarantee you that everyone’s gift bag was filled to the brim with SheaMoisture products from the gifting suite. From body washes to shampoos, there was a smorgasbord of products to carry on home.
A special thank you to Daniel Pillai of Langton PR and Maureen Kitheka of SheaMoisture. Every event I’ve attended so far under their umbrellas has been a unique and simply beautiful soiree. Y’all know I’m all about networking and good vibes, so this was definitely my vibe. I’m looking forward to the next one!
Until next time…