What is your view about hair and beauty products in Nigeria?
Studies have shown that a high percentage of the hair and beauty products in our local markets are imported. They have negative health repercussions and are not suitable for the African natural hair. To help address such issues effectively, we encourage the local manufacturer of organic products to elicit more natural hair and beauty practices through strategic events like the African Hair Summit.
The American Journal of Epidemiology highlights a study carried out on black women’s health which presents the case that the use of chemical-based hair relaxers increases the risk of uterine leiomyomata (Fibroids) in black women, which could affect their reproductive health and in cases of pregnancy, the health of the unborn child. It further argues that the harsh chemicals in products like relaxers and hair dyes also has common adverse effects on African women such as hair loss, dandruff, greying of the hair, thinning and weakening of the hair, to list a few. These common incidences in black women and more recently in men and children as well, not only pose significant health risks but also compromise their basic hygiene and impact their self-confidence.
In 2019, the thrust is to propel this new hair economy, thus, intensifying benefits for Africans across the world. Furthermore, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 1 &3), our projects will be more vigorously aimed at improving health awareness, tackling poverty, further reducing unemployment, creating more businesses for Africans within the local hair industry, ranging from growing and processing of coconut oil, Shea butter oil, black soaps and other natural hair and beauty products, to developing and improving skills in hair making, skincare and other support services in the industry, while also promoting our African hair culture and heritage.
Photizo Life Foundation plans to hold her 4th edition of the African Hair Summit in June 2019 in Abuja. The summit seeks to sensitize people about the health risks linked to the black hair and beauty industry to encourage healthy hair and beauty practices, promote our African Hair heritage, grow existing organic skin and hair care businesses across the country and help support interested individuals to start-up businesses in the natural hair and beauty industry in Africa. In previous events in the last three years, we have focused on the campaign against the toxic chemicals in hair and beauty products, building a number of SME’s within the natural hair industry and promoting the beauty in African natural hair.
How do you intend to break through the monopoly in hair product?
Photizo Life Foundation is an International non- governmental organisation with a mission to save lives. This is evident in the many successes recorded as a result of our project launched in 2016. With over 1500 guests and natural hair vendors at the Summit in 2018 alone, the foundation has continuously promoted our African culture and encouraged business start- ups within the African natural hair and beauty industry, inspired many to embrace their natural hair. In local communities, we have also educated and groomed hundreds of women and young girls in the area of skills acquisition, thus helping them to further engage in the local manufacture and sale of organic products.
With major stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Culture and tourism, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), SON, Christian Aid, Embassies and various multinationals, Women’s Rights Groups (NGOs), health and business experts, schools, salon owners and hairstylists, local manufacturers of hair and beauty products who have worked with the project since inception, we likewise welcome your esteemed organisation once again to join our family of 2019 partners to encourage restored lifestyle interpretations, while leading a vitalisation of our blue collar economy built solidly around our health, our hair and our wellness.
Give us a brief history of the African Hair Summit?
The African Hair Summit is an initiative of Photizo Life Foundation. The idea was borne after I got severely burnt by texturizer. I carried out a research and found out that the black hair and beauty industry was linked to several illness such as cancer, fibroids, infertility, hair loss, to mention a few. This bothered me so much because as at that time there was no platform addressing such health related issues in the beauty industry in Africa or promoting the manufacture of healthy hair and beauty products. So, I decided to create the African hair summit platform which was officially launched in 2016 to raise awareness about these health issues, push for healthy alternatives through business empowerment programmes and also promote our African hair and cultural heritage.
What are the objectives of the summit?
The African Hair Summit is a platform created to sensitise people about the toxic chemicals in hair and beauty products, to promote the beauty in the African natural hair and to encourage the local manufacture of organic hair and beauty products. So, at the African Hair Summit, our activities include health and business workshops, natural hair and beauty products exhibition, free hair consultation, certification, hair styling, cultural presentations, African hair and fashion runway, entertainment, raffles and a lot more.
What are credentials giving someone the quality to attend the summit?
It is open to everyone. This is the 4th edition of the African Hair Summit and it is taking Place in Transcorp Hilton Abuja in June 2019. Remarkably, the summit which features health and business workshops, African hair documentaries, exhibitions of locally made hair and beauty products, African poetry, African hair runway show, free hair braiding and hair barbing corners and free hair consultation has been previewed on both local and international media platforms like Aljazeera, CNBC Africa, BBC Africa, CGTN, AIT, NTA, Channels to, mention a few. 2019 is a critical milestone in the activities of our Foundation; it coincides with the expansion of the African Hair Summit activities into other parts of Africa and the solidifying of our footprints on the global stage. And as we prepare towards the task of creating awareness on the importance of turning to natural hair and beauty practices, we are excited about the prospects of a long-term partnership with your organization to help us manage an inevitable industrial revolution that will create a paradigm shift as regards our health consciousness as a people and the urgent need to embrace healthier lifestyle choices.
What are the challenges so far?
The challenges have been about getting more publicity about this project because the whole idea is to get people aware about the health issues that are linked to black and beauty industry and to give them opportunity to make better choices as regards their health and beauty. We need a lot of media support and sponsorship because what we are doing is life-changing and without the media you cannot get your message across to the people.
What has been your driving force?
Like I said, I got severely burnt by texturiser and I know texturisers are for children. I know that a lot of people in Africa are using a lot of these texturizers and nobody is advising on the product. So, I decided to create a platform to sensitise people of the health dangers of products to the natural hair and there is nothing wrong with embracing your natural hair and skin. There is nothing wrong with being black skin; just love and embrace your colour. I feel a very strong passion; I feel like a lot of lives depend on me, I take the message everywhere, like the schools, grassroots and urban areas. It’s like an assignment, not about the money its pure passion that drives me.
Can you tell us about your most memorable childhood experience?
I was a very shy girl and also an introvert but I remember when I was very little I did something then in Nicon Noga Hotel and I was dressed like Fulani girl because I have a long beautiful and full hair and I never knew that one day I will be talking about natural hair.
What does fashion and style mean to you?
Fashion is who you are- owning yourself. People come around me and say I like your calm more than your beautiful face. I hear that a lot. Fashion is your personality, which includes things seen and unseen in you. It also drives your style; when people begin to know you, it forms your fashion personality or your style. Fashion and style is about being myself; for me, less is more. I’m not out to impress anybody; I just want to be happy in terms of my looks. A lot of people dress to impress others. But is the person you want to impress really impressed?
What is your message for women who see you as role model?
Love yourself so you can love other people; don’t ever look at me and want to be me. Aspire to be higher; you have your purpose because your journey is not my journey. There is a reason why you are here; locate it and shine. A lot of people go into very unhealthy competition, wanting to show up. It brings about stagnation, strive and tension. Take each day at a time.
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