World Afro Day Afro Day® has grown from strength to strength. This annual event which is held annually on the 15th of September was successfully launched in 2017 with a World Record, Hair Education Lesson. The first year’s event was endorsed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the London Mayor’s Office.
Fast forward to the 2018 celebration, which attracted some high-profile supporters including supermodels Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, TV stars from Real Housewives of Atlanta, plus Leicester City Football Club; who all sported Afros on social media in recognition.
Westminster Media Studies graduate Michelle De Leon, now ITV Television Producer and Co-Chair of ‘ITV Embrace’ the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network is the founder of World Afro Day, which is about change at all levels of society and raising awareness on the topic of hair discrimination. It is a global day of change, education and celebration of Afro hair, culture and identity.
This year’s achievements culminated in a new awards ceremony to celebrate Afro success in society. 200 guests attended the World Afro Day Awards which took place in the Assembly Hall of Church House Westminster on 15 September 2018. The ceremony honoured ordinary people and celebrities, who shared what Afro hair meant to them. Attendees included Levi Roots, Afua Hirsch, Dr. Zoe Williams, Miss Universe GB, Dee-Ann Rogers and actress Martina Laird. Award winners included TV Presenter David Olusoga and TV Advert of the Year, Ikea.
Founder, Michelle De Leon commented: “I'm so happy that people are embracing the change. However, there is still a long way to go when some people say: ‘hair, what's the big deal?’ Even though, being denied jobs and an education because of Afro hair, has appeared regularly in the news. Most people are still unaware of how prevalent and serious this form of discrimination is.”. She also stressed the importance of spreading a positive message about Afro hair across generations, mentioning her collaborative World Afro Day Education Programme, focusing on delivering academic creative sessions to young people about Afro hair and society.
World Afro Day will continue to educate and celebrate Afro hair, culture and identity throughout 2019, with the launch of ‘World Afro Day Foundation’, a charity that will focus on research and education, aiming to reach 10,000 schools and 10 million children globally.
Visit Instagram to view images of the awards ceremony.