Italian Woman Buys Baby for €20,000 then Returns it for Being Mixed-Race

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A 35 year old woman, named Francesca Zorzo, has been accused of paying €20,000 (£16,800, $21,800) for a surrogate baby girl.

Zorzo has been arrested along with the Romanian surrogate mother, Nicoleta Tanase, 25, and a Morrocan man, Barrazzuk Yousef, 48, who organised the deal.

Surrogacy is illegal in Italy and can lead to heavy fines and prison time, an Italian politician has even likened it to a ‘sex crime’.

Police have been told that Zorzo deceived friends and family into thinking that she was pregnant by wearing a fake latex pregnancy belly. She had previously suffered from miscarriages and has a partner who was in prison.

On discovering that the baby was mixed, Italian reports say that she returned the baby three days later, as she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to explain the baby’s skin tone to her family and friends.

The biological father of the baby was from Mali, however Yousef posed as the father, raising suspicions at the Rome hospital.

The alarm was raised when a woman asked at a registry office how to register a baby that was born at home. Officials contacted her when she didn’t come back to register the child, but were given lots of excuses.

Investigators eventually found the one-month-old baby girl healthy and with her biological father in Rome, she has now been placed into foster care.

 

 

 

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6 Degrees of Hapa – Spreading Hapa-ness One T-Shirt at a Time

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6 Degrees of Hapa is a California-based, family business that prides itself in ‘celebrating mixed cultures and spreading a little Hapa pride’. The Hawaiian term, ‘Hapa’ means someone who is partially of East Asian, South East Asian, or Pacific Islander descent.

Famous Hapa’s include Tiger Woods (African, Chinese, Native American, Thai, European), Vanessa Hudgens, Dwayne Johnson (Samoan, African, European) and the child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon.

6 Degrees of Hapa operates as a pop-up at local Asian-American events, and an online store which you can visit here.

“The idea for 6 Degrees of Hapa came about when our family and our friends, who are also a Hapa family, started discussing how there weren’t many brands that were created for and by Hapas. Think about it–we’re a very large and diverse community with our own cultures and subcultures, so why not celebrate it?”

Committed to protecting the environment, their quirky organic cotton t-shirts are printed with eco-friendly water-based ink. Founder, Naomi designs and makes the products herself which are described as ‘fun’, ‘long-lasting’, and ‘food-related’. If you’re curious, you can read about the t-shirt printing process here.

6 Degrees of Hapa also sells sweatshirts, swimwear, child and baby clothes, jewellery, hats and even printed bandannas for your furry friends.

 

 

The Hapa community is thriving in California, according to the LA Times ‘one third of the nation’s hapa’s live in California’.

Speaking on her ambitions for the business, Naomi says, “One of my goals in starting 6 Degrees of Hapa was to create a business that gives those who identify as mixed a way to embrace their heritages without feeling a need to pick just one.”

 

The Multiracial ‘Bill of Rights’

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Dr Maria Root is a scholar and clinical psychologist who has extensively studied multiracial experiences for more than 20 years. She is also a trainer, educator and public speaker on multiracial families and identities.

The academic has even created the following bill of rights for multiracial people:

“I have the right
to identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify
to identify myself differently than how my parents identify me
to identify myself differently than how my brothers and sisters identify
to identify myself differently in different situations

I have the right
to create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial
to change my identity over my life time—and more than once
to have loyalties and identify with more than one group of people
to freely choose whom I befriend and love

I have the right
not to justify my existence in this world
not to keep the races separate within me
not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical ambiguity
not to justify my ethnic legitimacy”

Do you agree? Tell us what you think in the comments!

SheaMoisture ‘f-ed up’ in New Ad Whitewashing Historically Ethnic Hair Products

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SheaMoisture has been the holy grail of hair products for predominately black and multiracial women to embrace and tame their natural hair. The brand has been built upon women who have natural and textured Afro and curly hair, yet this audience has been alienated from their latest advert.

The advert includes two white women and a mixed woman who talk about the struggles that they have faced because of their hair.

It begins with a mixed woman with curly hair recalling how people would make fun of her hair by throwing paper in it, making her hate her hair.

Fair enough, people with curly hair get teased and it can be a struggle to accept when it’s pumped into you that straight silky hair is beautiful, and multiracial women use their products.

But it all goes downhill from there. A blonde woman with straight hair complains that she looks in the mirror and says ‘I don’t know what to do with it’, and a woman with straight ginger hair says ‘I don’t feel like I was supposed to be a red head’.

Although these things may feel like genuine problems for this audience, it trivialises the serious issues that ethnically diverse women face with their hair.

When SheaMoisture’s loyal customers are made up of women who can be sent home from school or work just for wearing their natural hair, being faced with women who perfectly fit the Western beauty standard turns it into a parody.

Not forgetting that it’s not hard to find a wide range of hair products that are catered for straight and wavy hair, but ethnic hair products are confined to an aisle or a shelf at most, that’s if they have any at all. If not we have to seek out specialised shops which can be hard to find.

Customers (now ex-customers) have been vocal about the advert by dragging the brand on Twitter and Facebook.

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To make matters worse, the company praised television personality Tariq Nasheed, for his ‘loyalty and support’ which angered their customers even more as he has made derogatory comments against Black women.

SheaMoisture released this statement about the ad on their social media pages:

“Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up. Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate.

You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point.

While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way.

We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better.

Thank you all, as always, for the honest and candid feedback. We hear you. We’re listening. We appreciate you. We count on you. And we’re always here for you. Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…”

This apology has not been received well by their disappointed customers, claiming that they still haven’t given WOC credit for making their brand a success.

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Excluding black women from their brand is a big mistake, according Nielsen African-Americans have a buying power of ‘$1 trillion’ and estimated to reach ‘$1.3 trillion’.

The cover photo on the SheaMoisture Facebook page is also drawing controversy as there are large letters covering the faces of the black/multiracial women, contributing to their erasure and making their customers feel unwanted.

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SheaMoisture is tearing their hair out over this PR disaster which is not looking to die down at any time soon, women are even posting pictures of their SheaMoisture products in the bin.

Don’t underestimate the power of the people!

 

Serena Williams Stands Up Against Ilie Nastase’s Racist and Sexist Comments

Celebrity, Race Issues

Ilie Nastase’s racial slur against Serena William’s unborn child, speculating “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?” has not gone unnoticed by the tennis star.

Serena Williams has branded Nastase a ‘racist’ and a ‘sexist’ due to this comment and his treatment of other female tennis players. Last weekend at the Fed Cup he also reduced top seven tennis player, Johanna Konta to tears by calling her a ‘f****** bitch’, and creeped on Anne Keothavong by asking for her hotel room number

Serena Williams released the following statement on her Instagram yesterday:

“It disappoints me to know that we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers.

I have said it once and I will say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers- however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right.

I am not afraid, unlike you. You see, I am no coward. “Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words…you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air, I rise.

I humbly thank the ITF for any consideration given to all my facts in this case. They will have my full support.”

Williams takes the higher ground by quoting Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ and confronts the ugly racism that society still suffers from.

Williams also posted a heart-warming caption for an Instagram photo with her bump, saying that her baby has, “given me the strength I didn’t know I had. You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait for you to join the players box next year. But most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you….”

Nastase, nicknamed ‘Mr Nasty’, has refused to apologise for his behaviour and has even launched into an angry tirade against the Press Association tennis correspondent Eleanor Crooks calling her ‘stupid’ for reporting his comments.

Nastase stubbornly defends his offensive remarks, unfazed by the consequences, he says:

“I don’t regret it and they can send me to prison if they want – I don’t care. I was just trying to promote the interest of my girl. The English player just stormed off without even asking permission to leave the court and I admit that’s when I called her a bitch. She kept trying to keep the crowd quiet – but it’s not an opera, it’s a game. I don’t need this bullsh*t. I’m 70 years old. I don’t even get paid for being team captain. I don’t give a sh*t if they fine me or don’t let me sit in the captain’s chair.”

The ITF (International Tennis Federation) has given Ilie Nastase a provisional suspension stating that  “Nastase may not participate in the Fed Cup in any capacity with immediate effect and shall be denied access to, and accreditation for, any ITF event.”

 

 

 

 

Blogger Hates on Serena Williams for Interracial Pregnancy

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Melony Hill, a writer at the Urban Twist, wrote a disturbing article saying that she was ‘disgusted’ at professional tennis player Serena Williams’ pregnancy with fiance Alex Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit who is white.

‘I can’t help but feel that way when I see dark skin, successful women marry into other cultures. I ask myself, how can they want to raise children who don’t look like them? How can they raise kids who look at them and don’t see their own reflection?’ – Melony Hill

Hill writes that she was ‘enraged that another prominent Black woman would decide to marry outside of her race’.

When Williams and Ohanian got engaged four months ago, she wrote an article with the headline: ‘We Lost Another One. Serena “Hottentot” Williams is Engaged, and He’s White’.

In this article Hill tries to argue that black women shouldn’t get into interracial relationships because of the history of slavery when white slave owners raped their black slave owners.

She even goes as far to say ‘I’m one who believes desegregation and legalizing interracial marriage destroyed the Black community’.

Discussing Serena’s unborn child, Hill writes:

‘Like Janet Jackson’s new white-looking baby I’m going to look at this little mixed race person she brings into the world and say to Myself “she doesn’t love herself.’

It’s about time that this myth is denounced, an interracial relationship in itself doesn’t have any association with self-worth. Having a white partner does not make someone anti-black.

These problematic ideas marginalise those who rightly express their freedom of being with whoever they want regardless of race. There should only be a reason for concern in an interracial relationship if there is a lack of respect for each other’s culture and ethnicity.

Interracial marriage has been legal since 1967 in the US, and has only recently started to gain wide acceptance, yet there are still people that think this way.

It’s 2017, why are we regressing rather than progressing?

This is also extremely discriminatory to multiracial people who have already had to deal with some form of rejection from their heritage. Hill is just another person putting their two cents in by saying that we shouldn’t exist and using us as a scapegoat for racial tensions.

This is a prime example of how mixed babies do not cure racism.

The blogger then argues that the main issue is that their child wouldn’t look like them, so people wouldn’t know who it belongs to. Although this is a struggle that people experience, it shouldn’t matter what the child will look like or what ignorant people think.

This isn’t the first time that someone has voiced an uninvited opinion of the tennis player’s pregnancy.

Romanian tennis player, Ilie Nastase, has got himself into hot water by making a derogatory comment on the appearance of Serena and Alex’s child. Nastase was heard saying, “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?”.

He is now being investigated by the ITF (International Tennis Federation) who have released the following statement:

‘The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind. We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.’

You would hope that by now there wouldn’t be such a worrying fascination of multiracial bodies, especially since we’re now so much more visible in society.

If you must know, chocolate and milk go great together.

Why the Mixed Woman Followed by Security is Nothing New

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Today the Daily Mail and the Sun reported that ‘Mixed race shopper’, Charlotte Ogden, 24 from Leeds had filmed a security guard following her around Aldi on the 7th April.

She said that she felt threatened by the security guard as he was so close that she could feel his breath on her neck.

When she confronted the security guard she was given a non-apology, saying that he’d been told to watch out for a ‘certain type of person’ and told by Aldi’s management that he had done nothing wrong.

‘At first, I had mistaken him for another customer and didn’t take too much notice, but I soon came to realise he was trailing me up and down every aisle…My initial discomfort turned to anger at the injustice of his behaviour, so that was when I took out my phone and started to film him’ – Charlotte Ogden

Of course, typical of tabloid newspapers the comments were full of people who had never been in the situation whingeing that ‘it has nothing to do with race’.

As a mixed woman myself, there has been many many times when I have been openly followed around in shops and stared at with eagle eyes.

For those that think that this is just paranoia, it’s not a coincidence when you are stared at and followed every time you have entered the same shop.

And for those who will say, ‘just go to another shop then’, it’s not that simple, how can we guarantee that it won’t happen in another shop? Why should we be forced out of shops because of the staff’s bad behaviour?

It is a very familiar feeling for me, and I am certain that almost every other POC has experienced this too.

The suspicious eyes, the methodical peering between the aisles, the prickling on the back of your neck when you can feel someone behind you, and eventually the quick look away or sudden flurry of activity when they realise that you’ve noticed them.

One of the worst things is when there are already people in the shop and the security or shop keeper is looking bored barely looking up, but as soon as they see you they’re on high alert.

My heart sinks when I feel those beady eyes burning into me, I’m made to feel like some kind of criminal rather than a perfectly innocent customer. And it works, sometimes I feel so under pressure that I just walk right back out.

I know I shouldn’t let them win, but I also don’t enjoy being made to feel uncomfortable for doing something as everyday as walking into a shop.

The worst case of this was when I was holidaying in Barcelona with my family and we stopped into a corner shop to buy some drinks.

Although the shop was full of people, as soon as we went to look at the drink cabinet one of the staff chased up the stairs after us and proceeded to stand behind us and stare. The man at the till was also staring over at us.

I got so agitated that I stared back and raised my eyebrows at him, and he just stared back aggressively. Anywhere we moved we had our own personal marker.

If we weren’t so desperate for hydration we would never have stayed there, our money was even heavily scrutinised when we paid like we were doing something illegal.

At the time I was baffled because all of the staff in the store were of South Asian heritage, their skin tone was not much different from our own.

I naively thought that other ethnic minorities didn’t hold racial prejudices, and it felt even more hurtful coming from people who understood what it felt like to be treated differently because of the colour of your skin.

Another time was in Macau. I was looking forward to going to the Venetian (an extravagant casino and shopping centre modelled on the city of Venice) for months and even though it was a tourist attraction, I was made to feel very unwelcome in any shop that I walked in with unfriendly eyes staring from every angle that said ‘get out’.

In the UK you either get the subtle staff who approach you and ask if you’re okay and hover around you until you feel pressured enough to leave, the open stare, or the security stalker.

In my first year of uni I was relentlessly security stalked every time I would go to buy my essentials. At an already precarious time, this just added another burden to my life knowing that I would be followed whenever I just wanted to buy a loaf of bread.

I’m glad that stories like this are finally being reported in the mainstream media as it’s something that everyone needs to be aware of!

When you feel like you’re the only person at the receiving end of it, it’s easy to try and make excuses or believe that you’re just being paranoid – and even easier for other people to do the same.

While these security guards are following POC, they are ignoring real criminals because of their racist prejudices.

It’s about time that people educate themselves to realise that you can’t distinguish a criminal just by looking at them.

Just because I have a higher level of melanin in my skin does not mean that I automatically become a thief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Side eye Sorceress’ Luvvie Ajayi Launches Rant Against Mixed Activists

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Self-proclaimed ‘side eye sorceress’ Luvvie Ajayi, also known as ‘Awesomely  Luvvie’, launched into a Facebook rant last  Sunday against ‘fauxtivism’.

The internet sensation and NY Times best-selling author of ‘I’m Judging You’, ranted against digital black-identifying activists, arguing that they ‘wear oppression like coats they refuse to take off’ and are just doing it as a way of getting attention.

The problematic post went on to say that they turn everything into a battle and that ‘When you sit in a 24-hour cycle of outrage, it’s easy to become the person who cried “INJUSTICE” wolf’. But surely we should be outraged by injustice 24 hours a day, and we face racial injustice everyday?

This sounds just like those right-wingers who accuse people of playing the race card, or call people ‘special snowflakes’ to minimise genuine issues.

Ajayi then proclaimed that activists who are identify as black ‘trading on white liberal guilt in the oppression olympics’ need to be called out. She also said that they victimize white allies who want to help, but don’t because ‘they’ve been told that the fight is not theirs’.

Oppression is very real, and it’s a huge step backwards to claim that people are competing to be the most oppressed in order to make white people feel guilty. This just provides even more excuses for those people that don’t believe in white privilege or that racism is still rife.

Obviously, making people feel guilty is not the way forward, but people shouldn’t be made to feel like they can’t share their experiences, just in case they make some people feel uncomfortable.

If that isn’t enough, here is the most ridiculous part of Ajayi’s rant:

‘…what’s interesting is, a lot of the most CAPS CAPS CAPSing “activists” out here are of mixed race descent. I just wanna tell them that they can chill. You don’t have to make up for the lack of melanin in your skin by always using your outside voice, even in situations that don’t warrant it. Tuck in your overcompensation. It’s like they’re performing Blackness based on anger, which is insulting.’ Luvvie Ajayi

Not only does Ajayi marginalise mixed people, but she a) decides that she can choose how we self-identify b) promotes the damaging idea that we will never be ‘enough’ of either race to belong to them and c) tries to argue that mixed people do not face discrimination.

On one hand Ajayi is saying that black activists exclude white people who want to join in, but at the same time she belittles mixed people for taking a stand. Contradictory to say the least.

Why should we even feel the need to ‘overcompensate’ for our apparent lack of ‘blackness’? It doesn’t matter how we identify ourselves, if we aren’t white-passing the outside world views us as black, not white. If mixed people weren’t advocating for racial justice, people would complain that we were selling out and forgetting our black heritage.

We are racially discriminated against too, and this status is a prime example. Nobody has the right to tell us who we can and can’t be, we can work that out for ourselves thanks.

Despite the backlash that Ajayi has faced, she has given an unapologetic apology, standing by her original statement and refusing to acknowledge where she was wrong.

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That is not to say that there aren’t people out there that try to cash in on activism, but is she forgetting Rachel Dolezal and Pepsi’s awful Kendall Jenner ad? The people who really profit from it are those that will never be affected by it.

UK vs US: Which Country Offers The Widest Selection of Foundation Shades?

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As a woman with a skin tone darker than beige, I know the perils of finding a foundation that actually matches my face, without making me looking like I’ve either put on fake tan or been taken ill.

Scouring up and down the makeup aisles with a wrist full of swatches, the desperation sinks in when you realise that the shades jump from sun-kissed beige to mahogany brown.

I don’t know if this is just a problem that’s unique to me as a bit of a novice to the makeup scene, or to other women in the UK, so I’ve had a look at the high street retailers, Superdrug and Boots, and well-known brands to investigate.

Maybelline

The darkest shade available in the UK for Maybelline’s ‘Superstay Better Skin’ foundation is ‘Fawn’ which is just a slightly tanned beige colour. Superdrug doesn’t stock the foundation, but Boots stocks the whole range of similar-looking shades.

As you can see, there’s not one shade for anyone darker than a slightly tanned peach. Yet, looking at Target (a US department store) they have the exact same foundation, but in SIXTEEN different shades.

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Next up is Maybelline’s Fit Me Foundation range which carries eighteen shades. This range is a lot better as it includes dark skin tones, my only issue is that there are either pale tones or dark tones, which is tricky for people like me who are in between the two. In contrast the US version offers twenty three shades, including medium shades!

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Bourjois 

Disappointingly the Bourjois ‘Healthy Mix Serum’ foundation range only carries six shades, which are all just slightly different shades of beige. The darkest shade is ‘Beige Fonce’ which leaves a huge number of people in the UK who have deeper skin tones. I couldn’t find Bourjois at a US retailer to compare it with so this must be all of the shades that they offer.

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L’Oreal 

L’Oreal’s ‘Infallible Total Cover’ foundation is stocked in seven shades in Boots, Light sand nude, Porcelain, Natural Rose, Golden Sand, Golden Beige, Amber and Cappuccino. However Superdrug only stocks six of the shades, leaving out Cappuccino – the darkest skin tone available.

The good thing about this range is that there are a couple of shades that cater to medium skin tones, which can be seen on the Superdrug page, but it’s not acceptable to leave out those with skin darker than that – they still exist! Although the packaging is different, Target offers eleven different tones but unfortunately, like Superdrug, doesn’t carry the Cappuccino shade.

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Though, L’Oreal must be applauded for their campaign for L’Oreal true match because they’ve even created a chart to show where each ethnicity lies on the colour chart. This is great for people who are unsure of which shade to buy or if it caters for their skin tone at all – and it includes everyone!

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Lets hope that other beauty companies follow the lead in making every skin tone available in their ranges in the UK. It’s so disheartening when you want to try out a new foundation which doesn’t cater for you, the UK needs to follow in America’s lead in diversifying the shades available!

 

Curls and Coils Unite – The Biggest Natural Hair festival is coming to London!

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Curly Treats is holding a unique natural hair, beauty and wellness festival in London on the 5th August 2017 at the ILEC conference centre in London.

The festival prides itself on being the largest natural hair event in the UK, with over 1000 people attending the last event. Curly Treats aims to empower and celebrate natural hair, beauty and wellness by ‘ seamlessly blending creativity, inspiration and practical application’.

MahoganyCurls, a natural hair vlogger with over 26 million views, will be making a special appearance sharing her hair and beauty advice. There’s also an exclusive opportunity to have a three course lunch with MahoganyCurls and the chance to take photos.

Another special guest is Leah Salmon, a nutritionist, life coach and best-selling author will be holding a VIP cooking workshop to share her tips on how a healthy diet can improve your hair as well as your health.

Not forgetting the younger naturals, there will be a ‘EmpowHER’ cupcake and prosecco (milkshake for the kids) lunch for mothers and daughters, giving advice on how to take care of the little one’s hair.

Curly Treats is also offering free shape ups from Shear and Shine, and a wide variety of fashion and beauty stalls to check out with some providing free samples.

If you have no idea what to do with your natural hair and need some guidance before you end up shaving it off out of frustration, this event is perfect for you!

To find out more visit their website or Facebook page.