Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle Central, wrote in national newspaper The Guardian of the ongoing need to promote multicultural beauty as part of “the normalisation of blackness”.
“The awards aim to promote equality and celebrate diverse beauty, giving consumers of black beauty products a voice that can be heard clearly,” she explains.
Organisers describe that the aim of the awards as “moving beauty forward whilst promoting equality and celebrating diverse beauty.” The ceremony will take place in November this year, and the awards are open for entries from brands big and small.
“The quality of your product rather than the size of your business is what the judging panel and the public will assess you on,” the organisers note.
Challenging reductive beauty standards
Onwurah explains that the awards are an important assertion of the urgent need to broaden perceived beauty standards, both within the fashion and beauty industries and also more widely in society.
“Black women’s hair is still not seen as simply normal. And neither is our skin,” she observes.
“Black models routinely have their skin colour lightened to make them more 'European'. Recently the popular FaceApp, which is supposed to make faces more attractive in photos, was found to automatically make them more white.”
The impact is both social and economic, adversely hitting minority ethnic groups, Onwurah says: “In the UK alone it is estimated that black and Asian women are forced to spend on average £137.52 more per year on beauty products due to lack of choice.”
Building the industry
Event organisers explain that they aim to promote any brand making efforts to cater to the needs of BAME consumers, and offer a platform to encourage awareness of these beauty and fashion players.
“We aim to be the go-to marketing and quality assessment vehicle to help both lesser-known and readily recognisable businesses gain greater brand awareness within BME client groups.”