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Bridging the Gap: A Sip & Shop Lunch Affair

November 1, 2016
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May 31, 2017

T his Sunday, March 5th, in partnership with Phatbulous Fashionista, we hosted the first of what I hope to be several, “Bridging the Gap: A Sip & Shop Lunch Affair” and it was AWESOME! I always get nervous about doing anything new but this event was pretty special and I am glad that we were able to pull it off.

First off, let me tell about the fabulousness that is Phatbulous Fashionista! Phatbulous Fashionista is a styling consulting service company founded by Ms. Tia Speat. She caters primarily to the plus-size community infusing confidence and style into the clients she serves. Check her out at for your styling needs.

We had a beautiful turnout of women with open minds and positive energies come in and learn about the rich history of the head tie which bears so many names but it is its meaning that holds so much significance.

So wait, did you know that the headtie or headwrap has been traced as far back as the 1700s but depending on who you ask it might go even further back than that. During slavery, it was used by White slave owners as a means to demean and classify those held in bondage hence the birth of the “Black Mammy” stereotype. Yet, despite the attempts to demean, the reverse was felt by Africans who wore it as a symbol of courage, pride, heritage and outright defiance. The “headtie” as Africans so fondly call it originated in Sub-Saharan Africa and bears several names: dhuku, gele, and chitambal depending on where you are in the continent. It can be viewed as the crown that makes a statement. From its shape to the colors that adorn it, all have meaning which embodies empowerment and pride in self and origin. Just a quick tidbit that I thought you should know.

Our Bridging the Gap event featured Jennifer Akese-Burney of Akese Style Lines as our expert headtie expert. With ease, she demonstrated different ways we could shape and display our crowns with front, back and side styles to choose from. Other vendors included Kayra Imports whom you can find on the Southside of Chicago and Chenna’s Caress Candles. Her candles are soy based and turn into a massaging oil as it burns. That’s pretty hot, actually!

Now, what would an event be if there wasn’t good food for the people? We had fruit, the best mini sub sandwiches you’ll ever taste, chicken wings, coupled with jollof rice and suya catered by Simi’s also in Chicago and to top it off, Tia’s addictive sangria punch. Yum, Yum!!!

Laughter and random fashion model poses were tried as what I’d refer to as neonaijasoul e.g. where Wiz Kid meets Jidenna meets Jill and Anthony, played in the background. Squeals of delight as different versions of Ankara were tried on. Our youth even joined in as we got a cultural session in from the baby of the bunch. As the night came to an end and I looked around the room, joy and contentment spread through my heart seeing our similarities highlighted and our differences not even thought of.
Stay tuned for future Bridging the Gap events as we work towards “a Celebrated Africa!”
There is so much to learn, explore and experience.
Stay Tuned for future Bridging the Gap events as we work towards "a Celebrated Africa!"


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