On November 2nd a new six episode series, Black Girl Beauty, launched on VH1 YouTube channel, a platform upon which entertainment journalist, Gia Peppers, hosts and mediates discussion about Black women and their personal experiences of all things beauty and hair. Peppers prides herself on taking up spaces that empower and contribute to the collective progression of a generation.
VH1 and Gia Peppers’ collaboration is a much needed nod to the conversation black women all around the world are and ought to be having today. From the official trailer my intrigue was sparked simply because I had not seen a show like it. It’s Jada Pinkett-Smith roundtable inspired style, made it both relatable but an easy watch. It quite literally feels like watching a conversation that I have with my own sisters, mum and black women in my life which are often kept behind closed doors. But Peppers clearly believed it was time to bring those conversations out onto a public platform and I am totally here for it.
Every Saturday a new episode is released and so far there have been three. In episode one Peppers was joined by Felicia Walker, beauty blogger and Editor in Chief of ThisThatBeauty and Julee Wilson, global beauty director of Essence magazine, in which they spoke on the theme of representation and inclusion in the beauty industry, especially the effect of lack of the aforementioned on their sense of value and self. This show is embeds a real sense of support and peer support, as initiated by firstly making compliments and recognising each others beauty. They then went on to reflect on black women in history and the impact of the 1960s ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement has on their sense of self today in 2019.
Conversation navigated from self-confidence and expression, to nails, then through to embracing the kinky curls of an afro. What was particularly interesting about this episode was the focus on collaboration and how important is was for both women of colour and not of colour to have these discussions to teach one another in order for maximum progress to be made. The second episode welcomed Love & Hip-Hop Miami star, Amara La Negra and social media influencer Eloho, and the discourse turned to the controversial topic of colorism and skin-lightening. They even covered the social phenomenon of blackfishing, a term referring to the way in which someone changes their visual appearance on social media or in real life to appear as black or cultural ambiguous through using make-up, hair products and treatments and even surgery.
The third looked at the links into cultural appropriation and appreciation which is a pressing issue in pop culture today when it comes to black beauty in particular as it can lead to a profit being made off of those often marginalised whilst undermining their efforts.
Here in the UK there is a lack of these sort of spaces, yet I believe it is only a matter of time before we start discussing Black British beauty. Though this was only the series’ first three episodes, they felt strangely familiar, and arguably this highlights how necessary and real the show is.