Cause, Collaboration, Crown: World Afro Day

Michelle De Leon

This session will introduce the 2019 World Afro Day Campaign: Fix Society Not Hair. Laws are changing in America and the natural hair movement is a growing global phenomenon but how do we achieve hair equality in our schools and workplace in the UK? Our recent Hair Equality Report quantifies the evidence of widespread discrimination in UK schools and society. We believe that the time is now for us to collaborate as a community and claim our human rights and freedom for our hair. Will you be a part of the change?

Michelle De Leon successfully combines her TV career, alongside being founder of the international project, World Afro Day® established 15th September 2017. Since conquering her own hair problems, she also wanted a better life for her daughter and other children. This inspired her to create World Afro Day (WAD), a global day of change, education and celebration of Afro hair, culture and identity; which is endorsed by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The initiative has reached an estimated 10 million plus people.

Reclaiming Our Narratives, Reclaiming Our Voices

When Diversity Means More Than Just Representation

Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is a health and lifestyle journalist, who has written for, The Sun, BuzzFeed and other national publications. At the moment, she writes mainly on fitness - an area of life which is often affected by our hair choices.  As a biracial person brought up by a mixed-race dad and a Caucasian mum with zero knowledge about how to deal with non-straight hair, she's interested in the role curly locks plays in racial identity.

Lekia Lee

Lekia is a former broadcast journalist having worked both in Nigeria and UK. She founded Project Embrace to inspire young women and girls to embrace their afro textured hair but also to campaign against the lack of and mis-representation of Afro hair, and by extension black beauty and women in the media. To challenge narrow beauty standards and champion visible media diversity, she launched the Project Embrace #afrovisibility billboard campaign in 2017 starting with 2 billboards in London. The Project Embrace Billboard Campaign was nominated for the Diversity in Media Awards Best Marketing Campaign in 2017 and won the World Afro Day Social Impact Award in 2018. Lekia speaks on inclusion at various events for brands and individual companies; she has appeared on BBC Stories, PinAfrica, talkRadio, BBC 5 live radio, BBC London Radio, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Stylist and Glamour Magazine amongst many others.

Charlotte Williams

Charlotte Williams is the founder of boutique marketing agency, SevenSix. With a collective seven years in marketing, Charlotte has worked as a marketing manager for brands such as Hello Kitty, WAH Nails and as a freelance consultant. During this time, she created notable campaigns such as “Hello Kitty Gang” and worked with a number of high profile brands within the fashion and beauty industry.

Mariezain Kabba, CEO of Unconditioned Roots

Mariezain Kabba is the founder & CEO of Unconditioned Roots, a renowned international natural hair, women's empowerment and black culture platform with an organic audience of over half a million and weekly Instagram stats reaching over 30million. Mariezain has a passion for empowering the Black community, distributing knowledge and a proficiency in networking and social media. Mariezain is a mother, author, business mentor, empowerment influencer, speaker & social media marketing expert. Through her multiple business channels and highly interactive online community she has successfully been recognised by, and worked with celebrity figures and major media and beauty outlets such Netflix, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Yara Shahidi, Sanaa Lathan, The Shade Room, Huda Beauty, Sasha Cosmetics, Juvias Place, Fenty Beauty, Motions Hair, Bianca Miller, Topshop, Natalie Nunn, Farrah Gray, Spectacular Blue Smith, The Mane Choice, Aunt Jackies and many more! Mariezain aims to build a world whereby Black women, and their phenomenal features, are NEVER an afterthought by building brands that proudly represent black excellence in its entirety.