Refugee Week 2019 – Lecture – Windrush Day Celebration: ‘ Black is Beautiful?’

Date and Time

Fri, 21 June 2019

13:30 – 15:00 BSTA

Location

UCLan – University of Central Lancashire

Foster building – Scholars Restaurant

Kendal Street

Preston

PR12HE

Limited places. So booking is a must!

Refreshments and an afro-caribbean food will be provided.

Booking link

African people have been in Britain for centuries and for centuries the British have complained.

The influx of immigrants from the Caribbean between the arrival of Empire Windrush and the start of the 1970s forced this country to look closely at its relationship with a people who it was happy to take from Africa to labour in the Caribbean then take from the Caribbean to labour in the UK, but not happy to reward with respect and human dignity. Decades of projects, policies and papers followed focussing on integration and equality. Unfortunately, the emphasis has always been on Africans being accepted as British not the British accepting African. There has been a huge shift in the cultural identity of the African community in this country since the Windrush generation. This cannot be attributed to natural, organic cultural growth.

Whilst Africans first became Black then Black British on their journey to acceptance, African culture and values were left behind and remain almost as reviled today as they were made to be for the facilitation slavery and colonialism.

Physical beauty is one area where African and European cultural values clash.

The importance of physical beauty is often underestimated today. It has been argued that those who do not conform to mainstream ideals of what is beautiful can experience fewer employment opportunities, fewer career progression opportunities, low self-esteem, social isolation and even poor academic results.

African people naturally fall outside of mainstream European ideals of beauty. For centuries African people have been categorised as ugly (skin too dark, hair too nappy, body too big). African communities the world over experience problems with skin bleaching, hair relaxing and unnecessary cosmetic surgery as individuals strive to distance themselves from themselves. Research into areas such as body dissatisfaction and beauty and self-esteem suggest that stronger cultural awareness can help to address these problems.

‘Black is Beautiful?’ is several questions being asked of the African community: Is black beautiful? What defines black beauty? Is colour the real issue? Is it necessary to proclaim?


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