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22 Black History Month Events in the UK this October

Black History Month celebrations have been taking place in the UK since 1987. A Ghanaian named Akyaaba Addai-Sebo is credited with getting it started in the UK. Back then, Akyaaba worked as a coordinator of special projects for the Greater London Council. The Council selected October because the month coincided with the Marcus Garvey celebrations and London Jubilee.

We can all agree on how important it is to remember, acknowledge and celebrate the important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. This October, several events all over the UK will be doing just that:

BHM Events in the UK

Afro Supa Hero (Liverpool) Through December 31st : This exhibition provides a snapshot of Jon Daniel’s personal journey of self discovery, through his collection of pop cultural heroes and heroines of the African diaspora.

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Contemporary African Art Fair (Westminster) October 6th – October 9th: 1:54 will spotlight the work of over 110 African and African Diasporan artists. The 2016 edition of the fair will feature 40 galleries from 18 countries.

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The Dandy Lion Project (Brighton) Through October 30th: The first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, The Dandy Lion Project highlights young men and women in cityscapes, defying stereotypical and monolithic understandings of Black male identity. The exhibition presents more than 150 images from over thirty photographers and filmmakers. For a list of screenings, panel discussions and more, see our recent interview with the exhibitions curator, Shantrelle P. Lewis.

Black History month

Africa on the Square (Greater London) October 15th: This popular event returns to Trafalgar Square to celebrate African arts and culture. Expect a fantastic line-up of entertainment including live music, DJs, dancing and a talent show.

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Dakar 66: Fifty Years On (Liverpool) October 14th: In April 1966, legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington traveled to Dakar, Senegal, with his orchestra to play at the first “World Festival of Negro Arts.” This screening tells the story of the event using photographs, rarely seen documentary films and newly filmed interviews with participants.image-20160316-30227-1n3uldl

One Night In Miami (Westminister) October 6th – December 3rd : Shortly after winning the world heavyweight boxing title, 22-year-old Cassius Clay – soon to become Muhammad Ali – celebrates in Miami with close friends Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown. The UK premiere of Kemp Powers’ fictionalised drama imagines what might have happened in a tiny hotel room as the Civil Rights movement stirs outside.Black history month

Twilight Talk: The Birth of Cool (Bath) October 13th: Professor Carol Tulloch will showcase and share stories and images of black fashion and style in Britain, drawing on the research for her recent book ‘The Birth of Cool’. “This obsession with dressing well is almost part of the DNA in the black community”, noted Tulloch in a recent interview and this talk at the Fashion Museum will explore those thoughts further. Includes wine reception.screen-shot-2016-08-12-at-12-43-00-1

Motown the Musical (London) Through October 28th: It follows the legendary career of Berry Gordy and the creation of his musical empire, Motown Records. The story begins in 1983, on the evening of the 25th anniversary celebration of Motown, and Berry Gordy is looking back on his career.

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 Vasco Araújo: Decolonial Desire (Islington) October 7th – December 3rd: In this exhibition, Portuguese artist Araújo uses photography, art installations and video to explore how the trauma of the colonial encounter continues to haunt the modern world. This is the first solo show in the UK for this internationally renowned artist, and includes new commissions and never-before-seen works.Black History Month The Black Jacobins – Brixton Radical Reads book group special (Brixton) October 14th: Join the reading group to discuss C L R James’s The Black Jacobins. In 1789 the West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two-thirds of the overseas trade of France on the labour of half a million slaves. In this classic work, CLR James chronicles the only successful slave revolt in history and provides a critical portrait of its leader, Toussaint L’Ouverture, ‘one of the most remarkable men of a period rich in remarkable men’.Black History Month

Black Words Matter (Brixton) October 28th: Black History Month couldn’t be complete in 2016 without reference to the Black Lives Matter movement happening in both the US and the UK. Brixton Library is therefore throwing the microphone open to a poetic response to examining what’s going on. Poets and performers are coming together to speak through spoken word. Black History Month Father Comes Home From The Wars (Part 1, 2 & 3) (London) Through October 22nd: This trilogy of short plays premiered at the Public Theater in New York. They are the first three of nine short plays that will follow one African-American family through generations up to the present day. Parts 1, 2 & 3 are performed together in one evening.Black History Month

Benji Reid: A Thousand Words (Manchester) Through December 17th: In a series of sumptuous and tantalising portraits Benji Reid captures both the vulnerability and strength of his subjects. Built around a spectacular re-staging of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’,  A Thousand Words is provocative and playful and sure to capture your attention.Black History Month

The Young Nigerians (Camden) October 22nd: Inua Ellams brings together eight of the most vibrant, versatile and exciting Nigerian poets living and working in England as part of the Roundhouse’s celebration of Black History Month.

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Liverpool Black Community Trail at the International Slavery Museum (Liverpool) Through October 30th: The Liverpool Black community is the oldest in Europe, dating back to 1750. The Museum of Liverpool has a free trail exploring Liverpool’s Black community.

 

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The Price of Memory (Leicester) October 5th: When Queen Elizabeth II visits Jamaica for her Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002, she is petitioned by a small group of Rastafari for slavery reparations. The Price of Memory follows the reparations lawsuit, the legacies of slavery and the Rastafari’s quest to return to the homeland of their African ancestors.

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The Knife of Dawn (Camden) October 6th: A chamber opera in one act set in Martin Carter’s prison cell towards the end of a month-long hunger strike in 1953. Martin, a Guyanese poet and political activist, was incarcerated without charge whilst fighting for independence for his country, called British Guiana at the time.

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Julian Joseph in Concert (Camden) October 9th: For the London Piano Festival’s closing concert, Julian will create a unique mixture of pieces to include a selection of his own compositions. Julian has performed extensively for over two decades, firmly establishing himself as a towering figure in the contemporary jazz world.

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South Africa: The Art of a Nation (Camden) October 27th – February 27th: In this exhibition a diverse range of art from across the ages tells a story that stretches back 100,000 years. From rock art made by the country’s earliest peoples to works by South African artists at the forefront of contemporary art, the exhibition features beautiful and important objects, which illustrate South Africa’s rich history.

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A Tale of Two Cities @ Goldsmiths Black History Month (London) October 18th: A celebration of Black British music through the ages from the original dub sounds of Mad Professor, to the prophetic poetry of Zena Edwards and the nostalgic short documentaries of Caleb Femi.

Black History month

“Love Jones” screening + After Party, “Just Got Paid” (London) October 14th: This event will screen the film, “Love Jones”. Two urban African-Americans, Darius (Larenz Tate), an aspiring writer, and Nina (Nia Long), an aspiring photographer, share an instant connection after a chance meeting at a Chicago club. After party(separate event) to begin right after.

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‘Obama: Job Well Done?’ A BBC (BBAF) Black History Month special (London) October 21st: In 2008 Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States of America. Black people believed in Barack Obama. Black people loved Barack Obama. Black people delivered for Barack Obama. But did President Barack Obama deliver enough to demonstrate that he loved them back? This one-off special Black History Month debate will seek to explore this.

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Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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The Dandy Lion Project Arrives in the UK Just In Time for Black History Month

I discovered the Dandy Lion Project a few years ago while I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline. As a guy who appreciates a good suit, I was immediately impressed by the photography but was even more impressed by the project’s curator, Shantrelle P. Lewis. She was fine then and is fine now.

Over the past few years, I’ve witnessed The Dandy Lion Project meet critical praise from several notable artists as well as publications such as The New York Times, Huffington Post , The Guardian and others. Dandy Lion has toured throughout the US and is now about to be viewed in my birth country, the UK. I wanted to find out what Shantrelle’s thoughts were on where here curatorial baby is at this point. This is what she had to say:

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Classic Man, Photo Credit: Marc Baptiste

SB: Sup babe? Are you ready for me to ask questions that I already know the answer to?

SPL: (Laughs) I stay ready so I don’t have to get ready.

SB: Awesome. So, how long have you been working on The Dandy Lion Project?

SPL: I first curated Dandy Lion in November 2010 at my homegirl, Ngozi’s pop up gallery in Harlem. Dandy Lion is the first and largest comprehensive exhibition of its kind. For the past six years, I’ve widely explored the contemporary phenomenon of global Black dandyism. My curatorial work, which is largely rooted in African-centered methodologies and an Africana Studies framework, allowed me to delve into the subject matter from an almost anthropological approach.

The current iteration of The Dandy Lion Project is the product of several years of writing, researching, traveling and exhibiting various aspects of Black dandyism, Black masculinity, contemporary photography, trans-Atlantic cultural aesthetics and style.

Sam Mingle, Photo Credit: Arteh Odjidja
Sam Mingle, Photo Credit: Arteh Odjidja

SB: They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Dandy Lion was recently imitated but can’t be duplicated. What are your thoughts on that situation?

SPL:  Hey, if First Lady Michelle can be copied, I guess I can as well! (Laughs).

SB: True. So how has Dandy Lion influenced larger conversations in art, academia or popular culture?

SPL: While this is primarily a photography exhibition, this work has been presented in various mediums, as essays, and papers, short films and performances. There is a growing community of scholars, artists, cultural producers who have built upon the Dandy Lion as a conversation. I’ve also worked closely with the scholars and photographers who did this work long before me – namely Dr. Monica Miller, Daniele Tamagni and Rose Callahan. I think it’s rather pertinent to acknowledge and reference the intellectual predecessors of one’s work, which I have consistently done.

Dandy Wellington photographed by Rose Callahan in NYC on Jan 19, 2013
Dandy Wellington photographed by Rose Callahan in NYC on Jan 19, 2013

SB: Definitely. I would imagine that working on one project for several years can become a bore after a while. How have you kept yourself interested, excited and engaged?

SPL: You know I’m a Gemini and that I need mental stimulation which normally comes through new and various things so it would be easy for me to be bored. However, having worked with the same subject matter for such a long time, I’m always challenging myself to find new ways to make the work fresh. With each iteration of the show, I try to introduce some conversation that wasn’t previously present. I’ve added various angles to the discourse that has made the conversation much more nuanced.

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UBIQUITOUS Swag, Photo Credit: Hanif Abdur-Rahim

SB: Speaking of new angles, word on the street is that you are now adding women to the show.

SPL: Yeah. Over the past several years, I’ve been approached on several occasions by various people, inquiring about why I chose not to put any women, particularly masculine of center women in the show. Initially, I wanted to create a safe space where cis-gender Black men – regardless of sexuality, could dialogue. I realized, however, that if I were serious about having a conversation about Black masculinity, it would be rather imprudent of me not to extend the conversation to include masculine of center women and transmen.

In 2016, with our more sophisticated understandings of gender, one simply can’t discuss masculinity, particularly in the African Diaspora and not include women. There are endless examples of dandyism by feminine and masculine of center women. The expressions are infinite and further illustrate the reality of a non-monolithic global Black community. With the significant stage that Brighton Photo Biennial affords The Dandy Lion Project, I felt that I’d be remiss not to interject a conversation about Black dandy women in the discourse. It simply felt like the smart and the right thing to do.

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Holley Murchinson, Photo Credit: Adrian Octavius Walker

SB: That’s cool. I’m sure it’s opened the exhibition up to entirely new audience.

SPL: It has! People have been thanking me. It just provides a space of inclusion, while pushing cis-gender, heteronormative dominant narratives that tend to exclude others from participating in conversations.

SB: Is that the only new element in the exhibition?

SPL: No. Beyond adding the masculine of center women, I’ve also added several new photographers to the project. A few were artists that I’ve wanted to work with for a few years now – namely Baudouin Mounda, Omar Victor Diop and Osborne Macharia. I had been following Baudouin’s work on the sapeur, mainly because they’re so vibrant! Also because he’s the only Congolese photographer that I knew who was shooting such incredible photos of the sapeur.

I met Omar at Black Portraiture[s] in Florence last year but was already familiar with his meticulous and exquisite self portraits and studio portraits. With the support of his gallery, Magnin, it was great to finally be able to include his work as well. I came across Osborne Macharia’s Dandy Grannies more recently when several friends tagged me in social media posts about them. Even though they’re fictional, the images are brilliant! And, they add a light and playful tone to the exhibit. I’m also super stoked to finally have been able to work with Marc Baptiste and include his portrait of the quintessential Classic Man, Jidenna. 

Photo Credit: Osborne Macharia
Photo Credit: Osborne Macharia

Also, there are a few other designers – British Ghanaian menswear designer Delores, whose recent collection is being featured and American based Sierra Odessa, who has taken some timeless black and whites of R&B singer, Leon Bridges. Lastly, for the first time, I’ve added photos of New Orleans social aid and pleasure clubs and second lines to the line up featuring photos by my homeboys L. Kasimu Harris and Shawn Escoffery.

SB: As you already know, I was born and raised for a short time in the UK.  I feel that each city is distinct with its own flavor. How has your experience been in Brighton as a Black American woman. How do you think the Brighton community, which very LGBTQ friendly, will receive the show?

SPL: While I’m hyper conscious of my identity as a Black woman, I’m also very conscious of my privilege as a straight, cis-gender woman. So during a recent prep trip for the biennial, I noticed some colorful street art around Brighton that said “Party Against Prejudice #Don’t Hate Gyrate.” I was told by Mariama Attah, Photoworks Programme Curator that the group was promoting queer pride, good times and anti-hate.

Dandy Lion project
Photo Credit: Delores Oblitey

Thanks to my friends, I’m constantly exploring ways that I can create more nuances in my work so that it’s not superficial. While the exhibition has already been inclusive of queer subjects and photographers, I’m hoping that with the expansion of Dandy Lion’s checklist to include images of queer and masculine of center women, Brighton’s diverse community will find even more points of entry for the exhibition. To borrow a phrase from Paris is Burning,  I think the children both “up and coming” and “legendary,” will be pleased with the show.

SB: What are your thoughts about Brighton as a town in general?

SPL: Brighton is a very welcoming community. The past few times I’ve visited, I’ve had to wear all white from head to toe because of my initiation into Yoruba priesthood. I’ve successfully completed my year long initiation but still remember how warmly I was received a few months ago.  So many complimented me on my outfits, as if it were a fashion statement. I can’t say that I’ve been to another community during this process where while feeling hyper visible, I seemed to be welcomed and fit right in.

Shantrelle Lewis in Brighton
Curator Shantrelle P. Lewis in Brighton

SB: Lastly, what do you want my fellow Brits to walk away with after coming to see the show?

SPL: For starters, it’s Black History Month in the UK. In the same year as the majority of the population voted for BREXIT, I think Dandy Lion is the perfect exhibition, to highlight the diversity of the Black community and dismantle and debunk problematic narrative of Black men and women.

I’d love for the show to not only be visited by photography lovers and contemporary art enthusiasts but it’s important for me that the exhibition be attended by young people, and senior citizens, and Black cultural organizations and rude boys and families as well. Per my usual hope for every iteration of the exhibition, I hope that people walk away with a deeper appreciation for the diversity that exists within the African Diaspora and knowing that Blackness, and masculinity are not monoliths.

SPL: Since we’re chatting, can I give a few shout outs?

SB: Thanks for making it seem like I have a choice in this matter.

SPL: (Laughs) I’d definitely like to acknowledge The Museum of Contemporary Photography who has taken this on as a traveling exhibition and who helped to take this show to entirely different level. Also I’d like to acknowledge the staff of the Photoworks in advance for all of the hard work they’ve done in making Dandy Lion’s UK premier big stuff!

Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge Sara Shamsavari and Arteh Odjidja for pushing the project as artists for so many years and all of the gentlemen they have photographed. And Chantal Miller, Michelle Escoffery, Gabrielle Smith and Paul Ryan for their support in making sure that the next couple of weeks will be a funky good time.

Dandy Lion curator Shantrelle P. Lewis and exhibiting photographers L. Kasimu Harris, Rose Callahan, Sara Shamsavari, Arteh Odjidja, Jamala Johns and Radcliffe Roye at MoCP in Chicago, April 2015.
Dandy Lion curator Shantrelle P. Lewis and exhibiting photographers L. Kasimu Harris, Rose Callahan, Sara Shamsavari, Arteh Odjidja, Jamala Johns and Radcliffe Roye at MoCP in Chicago, April 2015.

SB: Anyone else?

SPL: Nah, I think that’s it. Oh and my fiancé for all of his support.

SB: I was about to say….

SPL: (Laughs)


For more information about The Dandy Lion Project’s UK premier visit: www.bpb.org.uk. On view September 30th through October 31, 2016 at the University of Brighton Photo Galleries – 154-155 Edward Street, Brighton, UK BN2 0JG. 

Public Programming:

Friday, October 7th | 5 – 9pm

Black Dandy Film Screening, Panel Discussions and more! Featuring: Rich Black, Delores Oblitey, Samsom Soboye, Sara Shamsavari, Shantrelle P. Lewis, Michael McMillan, L. Kasimu Harris, and Dr. Ylva Habel

Location: University of Brighton, 154-155 Edward Street, Brighton, BN2 0JG

Saturday, October 8th | 10am – 5pm

Dapper Day | Photo Studio sessions, Artists Talks, Film Screenings, DJ and more!

Location: University of Brighton, 154-155 Edward Street, Brighton, UK

For all The Dandy Lion Project inquiries, contact thedandylionproject(at)gmail.com for more information.

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6 Black Owned Banks in the UK

Several members of the SHOPPE BLACK community in London and surrounding areas have reached out to us asking if we know of any Black Owned banks in the UK.

The short answer: Of course we do!

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However, we strongly advise doing your own research also in order to make the best decision with your hard earned money.

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If you are interested in moving to a Black owned bank, and we assume you are, we also recommend taking a hard look at the leadership and management teams of the banks you are considering. As with any other type of business, a Black CEO does not necessarily mean a Black owned/controlled bank.

With that being said, here’s our list:

Black Owned Banks in the UK

FBN Bank (UK) is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, with offices in the heart of the City of London. FBN was incorporated as a Limited Liability Company in March 1894, with a head office in Liverpool. They are the “London bank for Nigerians, either resident in the UK or simply visiting.” MD and CEO: Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan (FCA)

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Guaranty Trust Bank (UK) Limited is the fully owned subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, one of the leading financial services providers in Nigeria. They have business operations spanning the United Kingdom, West Africa and East Africa. Managing Director and CEO: Adekunle Adebiyi

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Ghana International Bank (GHIB) which was incorporated in 1998, took over the London operations of Ghana Commercial Bank with the latter retaining a 20% ownership of the new bank. Ownership is now shared with other Ghanaian state institutions. The Central Bank of Ghana is the major shareholder (51%) while other stakes are held by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust. Managing Director and CEO: Joe Mensah

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UBA Capital Europe Limited is a wholesale, investment bank and the London banking subsidiary of UBA Plc. It is also the first sub-Saharan bank to expand into North America when it opened its New York office in 1984 to offer banking services to Africans in Diaspora. Chairman: Tony O. Elumelu

black owned banks

Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd is a member of the Nigerian-based Zenith Bank Group. In March 2007, Zenith Bank was licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the United Kingdom to establish Zenith Bank (UK) Limited. Zenith Bank Plc also has subsidiaries and representative offices in West Africa, South Africa and The People’s Republic of China. Chairman and Co-founder: Jim Ovia

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Union Bank (UK )Plc is a subsidiary of the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, one of the oldest banks in West Africa. They have been operating in London since 1983, firstly as the London branch of their parent bank, and since October 2004 as an independently incorporated UK bank. Chief Executive Officer: Emeka Emuwa

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Black Owned Businesses in the UK

Our second list of Black owned businesses in the UK is here by popular demand! If you haven’t seen the first list, check it out. Otherwise, enjoy and support these amazing Black owned businesses in the UK!

Black Owned Businesses in the UK

My Duvets offers customized bed linen and pillowcases.

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Lela and Mosi is an exciting new character brand offering adorable Backpacks & Tees designed with the Lela and Mosi icon – Showcasing the beauty of Black girls and boys.

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Savage Curves Boutique strives to provide affordable fierce fashion for the curvy millennial woman.

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LoveGift Vegan Cafe offers home-style vegan cuisine with Caribbean influence.

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FunkynChunky sells handmade handmade bags, bow ties, bracelets and necklaces from West Africa.

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 Michelle Buabin is passionate about creating grand floral designs for occasions and individuals that need luxury floral arrangements.

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3D Parties is your one stop shop for inflatables, media services and children’s food machines.

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Shear and Shine Grooming is a barbershop that has produced the UK’s first Black-owned grooming brand for Black men.

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Xsandy’s Hair & Cosmetics are the only Black owned beauty supply stores in SE London. They offer a wide range of the best and most popular hair care products for natural, relaxed and protected hair at competitive prices.

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Pretty Girlz Rock products promote that all little girls are ‘pretty’ inside and out regardless of what they look like.

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Cake Junkies UK specializes in feeding your cravings with memorable cakes and sweet delights for all occasions.

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Ten&Lee is a niche swimwear brand inspired by the Caribbean offering a range of reversible two in one pieces.

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Freddie Onuma of Mintt Photography, offers a wide selection of photography services, from portrait, weddings, christenings, maternity, fashion and product images.

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Tan Rosie offers UK’s tastiest Hot Sauces, Jerk Seasoning and Caribbean Recipes.

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Looks Like Me is a children’s modelling agency that aims to increase inclusivity and raise the profile of underrepresented black and brown children in the media.

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Lazy Lunch is a food delivery service that makes it easy for offices in Birmingham to choose, order and arrange free delivery of nutritionally balanced, tasty food that caters for a variety of diets.

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One Stop Dreadlock  is an established natural hair salon based in North London, specialising in new and existing dreadlocks for all hair types.

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Yana Cosmetics is a premium make up brand for the ethnic market, which started by specializing in custom blended foundations for black women and has developed a full range of make up and skincare for all skin types.

Yana Johnson of Yana Cosmetics Brockley. © 2008 Ian Stratton 07860 490841

TLC Naturals offers artisan & botanical hair products formulated to Renew, Restore & Rejuvenate your hair & skin back to a state of wellness, health and beauty.

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Premae Skincare is an award winning, certified allergen-free beauty company that produces the UK’s 1st allergen certified Vegan Beauty Brand for skincare and makeup that’s perfect for eczema, blemishes & anti-ageing.

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Sonayon is a maker of hand-crafted natural toiletries, candles and fashion accessories.

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Choco Fruit is a yummy Belgian chocolate covered fruit business. They offer chocolate covered fruit dessert, covered in milk, dark and white chocolate, garnished with an array of fun mouth watering toppings.

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Herbals Direct offers all natural herbs and products. Dr. Sebi products in the UK.

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Christal Cosmetics offer a top-to-toe specialist service for Black and ethnic skin. Their treatment menu covers all your beauty needs from waxing, manicure, pedicure, express or complete spa services.

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Arteh Creative is the brainchild of Arteh Odjidja. He is a photographer and art director that has worked with everyone from Ozwald Boateng to Red Bull. Arteh experiments with fashion photography, portraiture and social documentary.

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-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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