It’s a shady business

It’s a shady business
18:15 - 19:45 Saturday 14th September Venue: Purcell Room

Clara Amfo curates panel to discuss all things beautiful and Black. This panel will look to explore both the hardships faced by women of colour across the beauty industry, and the positivity of its future. Be prepared to feel invigorated, learn; led by the voice of our generation and joined by prolific women from across the spectrum.

Chair: Clara Amfo

Starting her radio career at KISS FM and BBC Radio 1XTRA, Clara Amfo is best known for her 10am-1pm BBC Radio 1 show. It’s world famous Live Lounge slot has seen her interview the world’s most prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell Williams to name but a few. A keen writer, Clara is also a contributing editor to British Elle magazine.

Not just to be heard, Clara has been an annual host for The BRIT Awards red carpet coverage, BAFTA as well as Glastonbury and Top Of The Pops. A lover of film, Clara has hosted the premieres for Baby Driver, Aladdin, Kingsmen, Marvel’s box office breaking Black Panther and most recently, Disney’s history making remake of The Lion King.

Clara says: “Being ‘camera ready’ is a regular requirement in my job and over the years I’ve developed a real curiosity with the beauty industry and its attitude towards black women, what we want and what’s actually made available to us. All the women on this panel have a connection to the beauty industry, both personally and professionally, so I’m really looking forward to this conversation.”

Candice Carty Williams

Candice Carty-Williams is an author and the Sunday Times bestselling author of Queenie,a book described as ‘disarmingly honest’, ‘boldly political’, and ‘truly Inclusive’.  In 2016, Candice created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, the first inclusive initiative of its kind in book publishing. As a journalist she has written for BEAT Magazine, Black Ballad, Refinery 29, Guardian, i-D, Vogue International, Sunday Times Style and more. She will probably always live in South London. 


Born Neo Jessica Joshua, East London raised Nao is redefining the music industry with her bold and experimental style. Her new project Saturn is about the process of embracing adulthood and contemplating the naivety of youth. It’s both a celebration of new possibilities and a chance to reflect.

In 2014, she released her debut EP So Good through her own label Little Tokyo. In 2015, Nao released her second EP, February 15 which made Nao’s career began to take off. By the summer she found herself playing to a packed-out crowd at Glastonbury and had landed a MOBO nomination for Best Newcomer. She was also invited to sing on Disclosure’s chart-topping album, 2015’s Caracal.

Two years later, Nao released For All We Know via Little Tokyo, but now licensed to Sony subsidiary RCA, which was honoured by a Brit nomination for Best British Female Solo Artist later that year.


Award-winning music artist Ray BLK, real name, Rita Ekwere, is a 24-year-old South Londoner via Lagos where she lived until she was four. It was after university where she studied English Literature that Ray decided that she wanted to pursue music full time. She started writing songs from her experiences of love. She released a mixtape called Miss Havisham in 2015 (named after the Dickens’ book) which led to a BBC Music Sound of 2017 win.

In the background of her success, Ray was in a relationship that set the foundation for her project, Empress. Empress is bursting with love. The name, she says, is an ode to black girls glorifying their inner “black girl magic” in an industry that doesn’t always allow for that. “I want women to see themselves as queens.” 


At just 20 years old, Mata is able to call Skepta, IAMDDB, Stormzy and Ray BLK her clients, while the products produced for her line, Mata Labs, work to ensure that people of colour have more options when it comes to makeup. Big brands have been keen to work with Mata too. She has worked with Fendi, Adidas, Glossier and Nike on a variety of campaigns. 

Funmi Futto

Funmi Fetto is Executive Editor and Beauty Director at Glamour, a columnist for the Observer newspaper and a former beauty editor at British Vogue where she also wrote a beauty column aimed at women of colour. In her 20 years’ experience as a fashion and beauty journalist, she has also written and worked for numerous publications including The Sunday Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Guardian, Elle, Marie Claire and Tatler. Funmi Fetto also consults for and has worked with a wide variety of global beauty brands and has spoken on numerous panels covering topics relating to beauty, identity, race and journalism.

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