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Black Women Take Up Space At Black Girl Fest In London

By Rachel George

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Black Girl Fest, the first art and culture festival for Black women in the United Kingdom, is truly for us and by us. This year’s theme is “Taking Up Space” and it’s all about breaking down barriers for more inclusivity. With Black Girl Fest, co-founders Nicole Crentsil and Paula Akpan are championing black British girls to reclaim their space within various industries.

Focusing on celebrating Black women and girls, this one-day festival boasts creativity, culture, and black girl magic with curated talks, workshops, masterclasses, live music performances, a marketplace, film screenings, and more. There was a high demand for a celebration such as this, from the start in 2017. The first event sold out to 4,000 people.

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Nicole Crentstil is a Ghanaian cultural producer and the founder of Unmasked Women, a TEDx Talk exploring black British identity through art and the empowerment of black women in the UK. She wanted to mirror the magic and excitement she felt after attending a talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Angela Davis at Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival in 2017.

“The vibe was amazing. There were so many black women around. I knew I wanted to recreate that,” she said. 

Half-Trinidadian, half-Nigerian journalist and speaker Paula Akpan is helping to highlight discrimination in society through the “I’m Tired” Project photo series. “I am a queer, black woman and I’d have loved to have seen a workshop like what we had at the festival, exploring gender, and what it is to like someone who is the same gender as you things like that – that would have been a comfort,” she said in an interview

Last year’s celebration featured panel discussions on black women in creative industries, black hair, workshops on black motherhood, and masterclasses on coding and illustration with Microsoft, Penguin Books and BET International. 


Black Girl Fest

Don’t miss out! Black Girl Fest will be held at the Business Design Centre on October 12th. Purchase tickets here.

Lending a helping hand by paying for yourself and another black girl to attend with their ‘Adult and Pay it Forward’ option.

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Rachel George

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