Just like that, Black History Month is all over and it could not have been a better time to celebrate Black Girl Magic. During last month alone, Dina Asher-Smith became a World Champion, Allyson Felix and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defied expectations, returning from recent child births to go on to win gold medals at the World Championships, and none other than Malorie Blackman announced she’ll be publishing her autobiography in collaboration with #MerkyBooks.
So, how did Girls Talk London celebrate? 3 years ago, GTL ambassador, Shanice Mears had a passion to create a space to meet more women after moving to London, and so Girl’s, Let’s Talk (GLT) was born. A safe space for women/womxn identifying, the premise was that this would offer a safe, secure and non-judgemental space for all to come together, connect and inspire one another. Starting off in 2017 with a small audience of around 10 women, this year, it was time to create an even bigger and better event. Enlisting the help of three creatives – Nina Danjuma, Damilola Onamusi (owner of Dashe UK events) and Mireille Harper – she put on an event that was empowering, inspiring and unforgettable.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘For the Love of Black Girl Magic’, and the focus was all about honouring our black queens. The night kicked off as some 40 guests were welcomed into Vapiano’s Tottenham Court Road venue. As everyone mingled and decided on their meals, Shanice gave a small intro into Girls, Let’s Talk and why it exists, before welcoming the speakers.
First off was Sandy Siitwa, who uses her passion for female empowerment to inspire the creation of her business; SHE London Luxury Lash Collection. Having completed law school, Sandra is training as a commercial and media lawyer, which she started this year. Through her story and business ventures, Sandra seeks to inspire women to break out of societal constraints and levitate the greatness that is inside of them. Sandy kicked off the evening by talking about why her lash brand is about more than its aesthetics. Speaking about building her confidence after losing the insecurities she suffered as a young black woman.
Next up was radio Presenter and TV Host Swarzy Macaly, who won the KISS Chosen One in 2016 and now presents the KISS Weekend Breakfast Show every Saturday morning from 6-9AM. She is also the official young voice of BBC Sounds, and host of 4Music’s TV Show, The UK Music Video Chart. As well as radio and music, Swarzy has two BBC documentaries that both went live in August 2019: ‘Me VS Climate Change’ and ‘Instagramification’. Known for her quick thinking and huge energy, Swarzy has a big heart for people and so enjoys exploring conversations through hosting live events, panel discussions, and story-telling. She followed Sandy’s with an empowered speech on standing for what you believe in and maintaining your self-worth. With her vibrant nature and infectious laugh, Swarzy spoke about her rebellious adolescence, how youth clubs and faith helped her find her way, her journey into presenting and radio, and how she upholds her beliefs and values whilst navigating a corporate environment.
Finishing off the speeches was. Pamella Bisson, Director of The Weirdos & Creatives, a digital production company that offers young people the unique opportunities to develop their essential skills through media and on the job training. Pamella is a multi-skilled television expert with over 17 years’ experience in the media industry; as an educator, television executive and digital producer. The last to speak but by no means least, Pamella talked of her childhood growing up as a street child in the slums of Brazil and overcoming adversity to go on and work for some of the biggest media organisations around the world, she showed what true grit, resilience and determination is.
As the night slowly wrapped up, Shanice thanked everyone for their involvement from the founders and the sponsors, before offering her gratitude to all who came to support. Numbers, emails and Instagrams were shared before everyone headed off into the night.
We’ll leave you with Pamella’s wise words:
“You are the CEO of your life.”
A huge thank you to the team: Shanice Mears, Nina Danjuma, Damilola Onamusi and Mireille Harper.
Another big thank you to our sponsors: Vapiano UK, Nike London, Cantu UK, Red Bull UK, Wingstop UK, Skiddle UK, PopSockets UK, Bourn Beautiful Naturals UK and Katie Packer at Headline Publishing Group for the fabulous books.
Words: Mireille Harper (@mireillecharper)
Photography: Mariana dos Santos Pires (@marianap.res)
Photo Credits: @Lyraphotolab @marianap.res