The First Black Girl Festival Is Happening, Get Excited

Paula Akpan and Nicole Crenstil have organised a day to celebrate black girl magic.

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When friends Paula Akpan and Nicole Crenstil left the Southbank Centre having just watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Angela Davies talk at the WOW festival, they were inspired. Having never seen the location so full of beautiful black women, they decided to create the country's first ever Black Girl festival.

With Black History Month in full swing and a palpable appetite for change, Akpan (who co-founded the I'm Tired project and is (online magazine) gal-dem's social media editor) and Crenstil (creator of Umasked Women) have created a day-long event celebrating black women past and present.

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The best bit? It's totally free.

Akpan told ELLE, 'This event is important for black British girls because we are so often erased and not considered in wider conversations about sexism and racism when we are affected by both. It's often left to us to support one another and create spaces to celebrate black womanhood and girlhood.'

Currently full to the brim, complete with waiting list, the event in Shoreditch on the 29th October, will consist of workshops, panels, a marketplace, food stalls and more, and is welcome to black, British women, as well as self-identifying (black) women.

'We have had responses such as 'how would you like it if there was a 'white man festival'?' The world is a white man festival so miss me with that one,' explains Akpan.

I’m in a good space, good place ✨😄

A post shared by Nicole Krystal Crentsil (@nkrystal_) on

Being inclusive of all black women, which includes non-binary, disabled, and more, is important to the two activists. This is why the event is free (they raised funds through crowdfunding), and their speakers offer a range of conversations about black motherhood, queerness and black hair.

Akpan told Dazed, 'This is needed because black British women are never truly celebrated for just existing in a world that places us at the bottom of the heap. It's so important to acknowledge the unique struggle that black women face in terms of misogynoir [the combination of racism and sexism levelled at black women] while living in a country where people think racism doesn't exist.'

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