Beauty Is… Screening – Monday 12th May 2014

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On Monday 12th May 2014, Black History Studies screened the film Beauty Is, written and directed by community educator and guerrilla film maker Toyin Agbetu asks what is beauty? His feature length film examines what it means to be attractive when viewed through the topic of hair, skin shade, body image and character.

The film explores the risks posed by chemical straighteners and skin bleaching, it shares insights on conditions like Vitiligo and Alopecia whilst discussing the impact of biased media on children and personal relationships. Backed by a global campaign to challenge governments and the pharmaceutical industry, this is edutainment that may just change your life.

Beauty Is… a feature length film exploring the topic of beauty from a Pan African perspective through a candid collection of personal and group interviews. It uses an assortment of short films and animations through which to explore the impact of education and schooling, confidence in dating and personal relationships, under discussed conditions like Vitiligo and Alopecia and controversial topics like ‘light skin – dark skin’ preference leading to skin bleaching habits.

Beauty Is… also examines the nature of our external features such as hair, skin and body shape, and then dives deep into investigating societal pressures from both our peers and a sexist global media that feeds insecurities about body image whilst perpetuating shadism and western beauty ideals.

The documentary asks questions about the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry and reveals through experts how the harmful chemicals in some skin bleaching creams and hair straightening products work. This film offers a unique look beyond the traditional natural v processed looks argument to engage with a philosophical debate about the role of ethnicity, gender, culture and tradition in defining what beauty really means in a wonderfully diverse world of billions.

The film screening was well supported and nearly 90 people attended the screening. Janelle Oswald from the Voice Newspaper was in attendance and covered the event for her Peoples & Places section (Issue 1629, 29 May – 4 June 2014).

We received some good feedback about the film and the event which I have listed below:

I thought the documentary was excellent, informative and enlightening.

Great film and initiative, very positive environment and welcoming. It was my first time attending so overall feedback is positive.

Very informative film. I wish sisters of today would stop buying wigs and false hair, making the shop owners millions out of Black women. Black History Studies is the best thing that has happened to Black people. Keep going from strength to strength. One Love!

What a great event and a really great documentary. Should be shown in North, East and West London. What a fab organisation. Keep up all the good work.

I loved the slideshows before your event. I loved the topic and the documentary. Keep up the good work!

Excellent, this is a must see for all men, women and children. It is educational, inspirational, soul searching and liberating. Keep up the good work.

This event was uplifting, educational and thought-provoking. This film needs to be shown in secondary schools and colleges. Black History Studies has such a nice vibe- it truly feels like learning and growing with your family!

Excellent film, great interviews. Will spread the word to family and friends. BHS, thank you as always for sharing an insightful and educational film about issues in the African community.

I am a teacher and my students always think I know everything. Its events like today that remind me that there is still room to add to my vessel of knowledge. Each one, teach one.

I am not my hair — love it! It’s important to show our children our true beauty. Love what you are doing. Keep on keeping on.

Very informative, an eye-opener. Lovely to see Black people supporting each other. Keep moving onwards and upwards. One perfect love!

Needs to be shown in all schools!

Awesome film, good/excellent research into the perception of beauty from within the community and from a males perspective. Very thought provoking.

Excellent, informative and inspirational. I loved it. Timely and needs to be shown in schools.

Awesome! Thoroughly enjoyed the screening. Beautiful film- insightful.

For more information on the film, go to


About blackhistorystudies

Black History Studies is a social enterprise company which operates in the interest of the community by offering courses and events in Adult Education. We aim to empower the African and Caribbean community and enable them to develop self knowledge and identity through Black History and Culture. Black History Studies aim to provide a wide range of courses and activities which will provide people with the opportunity to pursue their interest in Black History and Black Studies. We also aim to provide high quality courses and activities that can be accessed by all within the community. Our mission is to inform, inspire and empower people through Black History and Black Studies by educating the community to educate themselves thereby creating a self-sustaining learning circle. Black History Studies is dedicated to providing you with a high quality and professional service and can offer services such as: - Bespoke services for Secondary Schools - Black History and Black Studies Presentations - Black History Course for Families - 5 week short courses on Black History - Beginners and Advanced Black Studies Courses - Weekend courses on Black History and Black Studies - Museum Tours - Film Screenings - Black History Studies Presentations for hire
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