Black-owned Irish businesses spanning beauty, fashion, literature, homeware and design that should be on your radar.
Over the last few months, we have been forced (I'm afraid there's no other way of phrasing it) to come to terms with racism in 2020, both across the Atlantic and here at home.
As we grapple with the issues and ways in which we can help without becoming a hindrance, there are a few actions that have cropped up again and again. Join the fight against Direct Provision, donate to Irish charities such as Irish Black Pride and MASI, attend the socially distant protests happening in Dublin and around the country, and shoulder responsibility for your own education through reading, watching and listening.
Another way to contribute is by supporting local businesses owned by Black people and people of colour. It's a simple and direct way of contributing and will help to forge a sense of community.
While this is a life-long learning curve for many of us, one in which we will misstep and falter, the worst thing we can do now is nothing at all. So whether with your voice at a protest, your words on social media, or your money online, make an impact.
Umoja Production describes itself as an Afro-centric fashion brand based in Ireland, bringing together African designers from countries including Nigeria and South Africa. Each with a distinctly African design element, the range includes a mix of men's and women's clothing and jewellery.
Founded by Mimmie Malaba, Bees of Honey was launched in February 2020, with a self-care pack that includes a bath soak, body butter, black soap and lip balm, which you can now buy individually too. The black soap, made from honey, shea butter and palm extracts has a rough texture and makes for a great exfoliant, while the bath soak is perfect for detoxifying skin and reducing inflammation.
A gorgeous little treat to send to a friend in the post.
A homeware brand specialising in throw pillows, cushion covers and wall art. All of the vibrant prints are designed by owner Lizelle Joseph, who describes her style as "playful, happy with a flashy nod to the 80’s". You might be familiar with her wares from Sustainable Fashion Dublin's virtual markets.
Natural haircare brand Golden Rootz was born in 2016 and has a wide array of shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products made with shea butter and cocoa butter, and essential oils such as peppermint, juniper berry and vanilla. Each one is designed to tackle specific issues including itchy scalp, hair in need of strengthening and hair growth stimulation and the range is Curly Girl approved. They also have a range of soaps, all handmade with natural ingredients.
If you've been looking for resources on racism, it's most likely that you've already stumbled across the writer Emma Dabiri. The London-based Nigerian-Irish author has written two books, Twisted and her latest Don't Touch My Hair, which focusses on black hair and how it pertains to gender and racial inequality, politics, economics and much more. Her books are a great place to start your own education and if you have found her resources on social media useful, you can also support her on Patreon here.
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Favi Designz is the creative outlet of UCD genetics student Favour Ogundare for her illustrating and designing talents. Favi's work is bright and bold and is available for commission or to buy as prints. As well as her own creations, she also works on brand development and logos.
Based in Kells, Co Meath, Whipped is an all-natural, sustainable and cruelty-free body butter. It can be used as an exfoliator and cleanser as well as a moisturiser, giving your skin a dewy glow. Coming in glass resealable jars that can be washed and reused, it's available in three scents: vanilla and cinnamon, milk and honey, and the original lemon essential oil.
With a focus on bold and colour prints, M.I.O. Prints is a lifestyle and fashion brand with a passion for African prints, particularly Ankara and Kente designs. As well as headwraps and bonnets, they also have a selection of robes, fans and aprons, and we're slightly obsessed with their starry pyjama sets.
Vanessa Ifediora is a Belfast-based photographer, who works on a range of different projects from weddings and fashion, to portraiture and commercial work, as well as her extensive experience in mental health advocacy. You can pick up her book Off-White Sheets on her website shop, as well as a wide selection of her photography prints.
Featured image from Umoja Production
Read more: 10 great resources on social media to educate about race, privilege and Black Lives Matter
Read more: 5 podcasts about black and POC experiences in Ireland
Read more: Racism in Ireland: Black Irish women speak out on social media about their experiences