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Black Girl Fest's festival returns to Somerset House on 4 August

Kelle Salle
31 July 2023

Black Girl Fest (BGF) was founded by Nicole Crentsil in 2017. It is the UK’s first arts and culture festival dedicated to Black women, girls and non-binary people. What started off as a singular event has now evolved into a fully fledged creative studio based in Bethnal Green, East London. Its vision is a world where the Black community is thriving and, in order to get there, it aims to spark and inspire global change across economical, educational and social spaces.

BGF operates in three key areas: content, community and conversation. It creates new and authentic content that engages its community. It recognises that a lot of content isn’t really created with Black and non-binary people in mind and are working to change this by curating events and experiences that place the Black community at the core, and produce captivating content that sparks conversation. The BGF community is socially conscious and culturally connected and seeks intergenerational spaces to share, learn and connect in real life and BGF are meeting this need by creating spaces that are dedicated to empowering the growth and development of Black and non-binary people so that they can flourish in their respective ventures.

BGF is more than a festival. Since its launch, it has built a wealth of knowledge and experience consulting with brands and organisations. It gathers data to deliver culturally engaging conversations and develop creative opportunities – its most recent partnership was with beauty brand Glossier, launching the Black Beauty Grant programme which offers business and financial support to five Black-owned beauty brands in the UK. It has also partnered with NIKE Jordan, Goldman Sachs and eBay UK +.

After a three-year hiatus (due to Covid-19 pandemic), Black Girl Fest will return this summer to a new Central London location – the iconic Somerset House. The fourth installation of the festival will centre around the theme of enJOYment and will focus on driving the overall mission of curating experiences that place the community at the core and celebrate Black women, girls and non-binary people. The two-day event will kick off on 4 August and will take a nostalgic nod to the past, the realities of the present and the hope for the future. Powered by eBay UK and Glossier with more global partners soon to be announced, the festival endeavours to celebrate the brilliance of Blackness by drawing on the lived experiences of Black British women.

Throughout the weekend, 1,000 guests will be invited to explore what joy means to them. The festival will gently guide guests through spaces, memories and the identities that spark Black joy. Some of the most valued opinion leaders and experts within the creative industry will explore joy within literature, beauty, fashion, art and technology. Guests can expect carefully curated talks, workshops and digital experiences alongside live performances, screenings and a marketplace supporting businesses owned by Black women.

Hosting the festival proceedings over the two days will be writer and social commentator Chante Joseph. Keynote speakers include activist and content creator Grace Victory and an exclusive conversation with Sabrina Elba.

Throughout the weekend, there will be a selection of panels, workshops and stations including Black Women and the Future of Fashion (panel including fashion designers Bianca Saunders, Fisayo Longe and Enam Asiama), an intimate conversation with photographer Adama Jalloh, who will be sharing reflections on community, culture and identity through photography as well as a panel discussion celebrating the BGF x Glossier Black Beauty Grantees. Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme (the founder of award-winning Adonia Medical Clinic) will be talking all things hyperpigmentation while trichologist Ebuni Ajiduah will be sharing her tips and tricks in a braiding workshop. There will also be career, finance and confidence workshops hosted by award-winning founders Tiwalola Ogunlesi, Chloe Pierre and Davinia Tomlinson plus many more.

“I’m so excited that our festival will be returning and for the very first time, taking place across two days this summer at Somerset House. Having spent the last few years pivoting the business post Covid-19, it was important for us to bring back one of the UK’s most highly favoured events which set the foundations for who we are today. Joy has always been an intrinsic part of our culture, but one that often takes a backseat in our everyday lives. This year, we hope to bring back familiar joyful moments by inviting our community to explore what joy means to them ,” says Crentsil.

For more information about Black Girl Fest, please visit its website. Click here for tickets.

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