Nikia Phoenix's Black Girl Beautiful takes Atlanta

Nikia Phoenix's Black Girl Beautiful takes Atlanta

Photo credit: Courtesy Nikia Phoenix

Model, actress and activist Nikia Phoenix is on a mission to change the way the beauty/fashion industry views black women. Fed up with a lack of diversity, Phoenix created Black Girl Beautiful, a beauty, wellness and self-care experience for women of color and she's bringing the Black Girl Beautiful experience to Atlanta this Saturday September 16. The L.A.-based South Carolina native calls it a celebration of black womanhood and a chance to discover brands that design their products with black women in mind. Event attendees can expect to check out Monarch, an art exhibit that honors the royalty of African-American womanhood; the BGB Marketplace, featuring select hair care and beauty items; a DIY beauty bar; a conversation series, featuring professionals and influencers; and more. But before she rolls out the event this weekend, Phoenix sat down with CL and opened up about Black Girl Beautiful's past, present and future.

What inspired you to create Black Girl Beautiful?

Black Girl Beautiful was inspired by my friends and my family. I get all these products from different brands, and we get together drinking ros̩ or having mimosas on the weekends and talk about which product worked for me, or this particular brand doesn't really make things for us in mind or I heard this brand was racist so I don't want to buy their product. So we sit down, and we have these conversations, dispel the rumors, talk about the truth and get down to the nitty gritty. So I thought: Why are we doing this on such an isolated level, and why aren't we doing this with more people involved? And not just online, because that's great, but in real life.

Why did you bring the event in Atlanta?

The city of Atlanta and how much it's doing for black culture right now is inspiring. I live in LA and ... unless you live in certain neighborhoods, you can go days or weeks without seeing other black people and you can go months or years without seeing affluent black people. But what I found that's very interesting is that even though you see more of us in Atlanta and more of us doing well, there's still a large percentage of us that don't know our worth. So that's one of the reasons why I wanted to bring Black Girl Beautiful to Atlanta: We genuinely needed this.

So what can people expect to do/see at the event?

We have our Black Girl Beautiful Marketplace; Souk Bohemian will be vending, as well as Heavenly Sent, a brand that Vic Styles started with her mother, and African Miranda will have Beauty by African Miranda, too. We'll also have Monarch. The idea for this art exhibition came up a few months ago, and we poured a lot of love into it. I want every person that walks through the door to see these portraits and to be amazed at our beauty and excellence. Throughout the day you'll hear from other influencers and businesswomen. But at the very end of the day you'll actually hear from me. Sometimes I stay mum and quiet because I want someone else to shine, but I think it's important to say something at this point. I'm also doing the keynote speech, which will be on the state of black womanhood. I think it's going to be powerful and amazing.

Where do you see Black Girl beautiful in 10 years?

In 10 years, Black Girl Beautiful will be this amazing community full of love. It will be nurturing, and you'll be able to see the effects of BGB because you'll see more black women represented in media. You'll see us on the cover of magazines, you'll be able to walk into stores and see products that are BGB approved. I think in 10 years, we'll be feeling uplifted knowing what our power is. I want us to be able to look at the work we do and smile and when we see another black woman on the street and someone says, "Hey black girl you're beautiful," they acknowledge the beauty in someone else.

Black Girl Beautiful takes place Saturday, Sept. 16. $15-$40. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Ambient Plus Studios, 585 Wells St. S.W. www.blackgirlbeautiful.com.


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