"It's really vital to have more capacities like this so we all learn and feel included."
An event celebrating women of colour in Ireland is taking place this weekend in Dublin.
Beyond Representation will have speakers who are champions in the area of business, arts and media and beauty.
It will showcase how successful women of colour are in Ireland and their collective narrative in the Irish cultural landscape.
Event organisers described it “as a platform for expression, celebration and connection. ‘Beyond Representation’ is an event championing women of colour who are breaking new grounds in Irish media, arts and business.”
Among the speakers are Shayna Irfan, owner of Shay’s Beauty. She will be on the beauty panel alongside Liswa McDonald and China Soribe of Umoja Production. The Afrocentric fashion brand was founded by the two young entrepreneurs. They promote African culture through their products. Their aim is to normalize African print and make it inclusive & accessible to all.
View this post on Instagram
Deborah Somorin, who you may recognise from First Dates and Cutting Edge, will also be speaking at the event. Deborah is a consultant and assistant manager in PwC Ireland. In 2018, she founded a not for profit called Empower the Family. ETF plans to open student accommodation, in Dublin, with onsite quality childcare for single parents between 18-23 attending university.
Ola Majekodunmi, Zainab Boladale and Jess Majekodunmi are the three women behind the event which takes place on the 14th of September in Huckletree.
The idea started as an idea over a brunch date between the three and will soon become a reality born from the need to see more women of colour at the forefront of their own narratives here in Ireland.
Speaking about the importance of the event, Zainab told STELLAR: “I’m a strong believer in empowerment and sometimes that means not being afraid to do the things you want to see being done.”
She added that she struggled to find role models closer to home growing up.
“Growing up, I didn’t have access to role models that looked like me and even when I did, they were either in the states or the UK so their achievements always seemed far-fetched and unattainable,” she explained.
“What the Beyond Representation team has in common is this experience and we want to change that for young girls/women in Ireland. We want them to know that just because they’re not hearing about the talented women of colour working in their field of interest doesn’t mean that they’re not there.”
She added: “Many of the women on our panels are multitaskers, building their own brands, persevering in their careers, mentoring young girls, following their passion and succeeding. That in itself calls for a celebration. That’s what Beyond Representation aims to do on Saturday.”
Ola adds that making connections with other women of colour in Ireland is important to her and integral to this event.
“As a teenager I didn’t have many WOC female friends and this was always something I wanted. It’s great to be able to have friends of all backgrounds but it’s also great to have particular friends that understand your exact experience and perspective,” she explained.
“Beyond Representation is about creating a space for WOC and celebrating our achievements and relating to one another. There aren’t many spaces like this in Ireland so it’s really vital to have more capacities like this so we all learn & feel included”.
The event sold out a month ago, and there’s a waiting list, which Zainab points out suggests that there are is a need and demand for this type of initiative in Ireland.