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The Black Beauty & Hair Awards 2016

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Winner: Lisa Farrell Natural Hair Stylist Weave Stylist and Stylist of the Year.

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Winner: Lathaniel Chambers Colourist and Styling Team of the Year.

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Winner: Emmauel Esteban. Avant Garde Stylist of the Year

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Winner: Harry Casey Southern Stylist of the Year,

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Winner: Nelida Oliveria International Stylist of the Year

winner-6Winner: Michelle Thompson. Northern Stylist of the Year,

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Winner: Kevin Luchmun. Barber of the Year,

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Winner: Natasha John-Lewis. Bridal Stylist of the Year.

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Winner: Gloria Odumosu. Newcomer of the Year.

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Winner: Michelle Garande. Braid stylist of the Year.

Celebrating it’s 21st year on the events calendar, the Black Beauty and Hair Awards took place at the Hilton Hotel, Edgware Rd on Sunday night and what an interesting night it was.

I have had the pleasure of attending these awards in some of the earlier years when it was like the Oscars, Baftas, Carnival and Mobos all rolled into one. Men dressed up to show off and show out. The women prepared for weeks before the event so when they stepped onto the red carpet you knew they had arrived. Every hairstyle was a masterpiece, every outfit tailor made and unique. During the reception drinks, the base in the music was deep and the atmosphere was electric with the excitement of who would take home which of the prestigious awards up for grabs. Even at the pre dinner drinks you felt like a winner so the rest of the evening was gravy. During the awards, through the nominations, as each photographed hairstyle appeared on the huge screens, a raucous cheer with whistles, air horns and aerosol fire tributes would go off in support of fellow team members. The acceptance speeches made the Tom Cruise and Oprah interview look like a Sunday choir meeting while the bragging rights meant exactly that. . . . Bragging Rights.

Attending this year, I notice the whole event has become a lot more civil.

As opposed to previous years, no one wants to draw too much attention to themselves for fear of embarrassment. A lot of the room is communicating with someone else who isn’t at the event (via mobile phone) and the shop bought, off the peg outfits seem to have a uniformity about them. The mens as well as the womens.

The categories have been expanded, as hairstyles, technology and creativity have evolved the manageability and manipulation of black hair; but most notably, it can no longer be assumed that the black hair styling impresarios who compete for these awards will always be of Caribbean heritage. Case in point, the winner of three of the top awards;

Natural Stylist of the Year
Weave Stylist of the Year, and the coveted main award for the evening,
Black Hair and Beauty Stylist of the year Award went to East London born Lisa Farrall.

As I saw her work appear on the screen, I believed she was a clear winner due to her imaginative concepts, use of colours. Her execution and finish far exceeded her competitors so my question is . . . . . .  If we can’t win awards for doing something which is unique to us, then what can we do?

I have no problem with integration, diversity and cross-cultural exchange across communities, but surely, in 2016 we should be at the top of the tree for being able to comb and style our own hair. Wake up people! Don’t let this get away from us like so many other things have.

Double Award winner Lathaniel Chambers picked up Colourist, and Best Styling Team, while another surprise win came from 4 times nominated Harry Casey who snagged the Southern Stylist of the year award over Five the Barber, a veteran in the game.

Other winners were:

  • Michelle Thompson – Northern Stylist
  • Michelle Garande – Braid Stylist
  • Emmanuel Esteban – Avant Garde Stylist
  • Kevin Luchman – Barber of the year
  • Natasha John-Lewis – Bridal Stylist
  • Gloria Odumosu – Best Newcomer
  • Nelida Oliveira – International Stylist

Hosted by comedian Kojo, the only Steve Harvey type gaff was made by Brian Woollery of Lusters Hair Products, who was handed the wrong envelope behind stage before coming out and announcing the winner of the Weave Stylist Award before the nominations had been seen.

Well done to Ireene Shelly and her team for keeping this event going after all these years but c’mon people, it’s time to step up our game again and bring this back to the awards of old before the interest, prestige and numbers fizzle out. BB

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