Celebrity Heroes Call for Diversity and Education, On-Screen and Off

© Reuters/Phil Lewis/WENN.com/Cover Images

Model Winnie Harlow has called on the fashion industry to take “accountability” for change in the world.

Winnie Harlow wants people to realize that the struggle for diversity isn’t just a “trend.”

The Canadian model, who is of Jamaican ancestry, has been actively supporting the current movement for equality, having partnered with Puma to support the Trayvon Martin Foundation—the organization named after the Black teenager who was fatally shot in the U.S. in 2012.

While Winnie is committed to using her influence to bring about change, she thinks the fashion industry could do more to help.

“Diversity is an everyday thing,” she told WWD.com, “It’s not a one-off thing or a trend. I’m hopeful that these discussions are currently being held. We just need to keep the dialogue going.

“There is a lot of work to be done in terms of representation and diversity within fashion from behind-the-scenes, too, of course, in front of the camera, from the CEOs to the designers, and all the way to entry-level, whether it’s a new model or whoever is being hired. I also think that everyone in the fashion industry needs to take accountability so that real change can happen.”

Winnie revealed she has long dreamed of landing a Puma campaign because they encourage their ambassadors to get behind charitable causes that matter to them. The model said she wanted to partner with the brand to showcase “Black hair in all its glory.”

With that same goal in mind, Winnie Harlow has been named the first-ever global ambassador for haircare brand Paul Mitchell. She debuted in the brand’s 2021 campaign, shot by photographer Micaiah Carter, centered around “celebrating the power of self-expression through hair.”

“I think it’s important to show Black hair in all its glory because for so long, Black girls weren’t able to get specific hairstyles,” Winnie told People. “At one point in time, there weren’t a lot of hairstylists that knew how to handle or style Black hair.

“It’s really important to me to show that, as a Black woman, I can have all the hairstyles that any other girl can have—it just takes someone with the education and knowledge of Black hair to execute it.”

The model said her love for haircare started in childhood and recalled sweet memories of watching her mother working in a hair salon.

“I wanted to partner with a haircare brand because hair is so important to me, and the health of hair especially is really important to me,” she explained. “I loved just watching her style other people’s hair and watching them come in and leave with a big smile on their face from their hair transformation.”

She also touched upon her own hair regime and shared that she enjoys wearing wigs to protect her natural locks.

“My hair journey has been broad and across the spectrum—with extensions, weaves, wigs, and natural hair. Right now, I’m just enjoying protecting my natural hair. My priority has now become taking care of my hair. I just wash my hair, get my hair styled and braided, and then leave it for a month at a time to just let it grow and be healthy,” Winnie shared.

© REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Riz Ahmed calls for more on-screen diversity

Riz Ahmed has criticized the “shocking” lack of diversity on TV and has called for better representation of Muslims on screen.

The British-Pakistani actor recently opened up about how Muslim representation is a blind spot in our culture and called for better representation on-screen.

“It’s not surprising, but it is shocking,” the star said. “It’s a blind spot that’s all over our culture. And it costs lives. Countries get invaded, hate crimes go up, laws get passed. So off the back of that, we’re thinking, ‘What do we need to shift?’ And, actually, it’s about empowering people to tell their own story.”

© REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Cricket champion Michael Holding Wants more sports stars to speak out against racism

Michael Holding wants more sportspeople to step forward and speak out against racism.

The star athlete said it was important that public figures used their celebrity and status to convey important messages, particularly antiracism.

“If people who have a platform and who are able to reach out and get people to listen and people to understand, say nothing, then who will?” he asked. “There are sportspeople who are well known throughout the entire world. If they get up and say something, people around the world will want to hear what they have to say and will want to try to understand what they have to say.

“And that’s the reason why people with a platform, people with a name, people that are recognized all over the world, need to speak up about things that affect them and affect the world,” Holding said.

Holding, regarded as one of cricket’s authoritative commentators and regularly used by broadcasters worldwide, has spoken out extensively on racism since a passionate plea for society to change its attitudes following the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Holding has published a book called Why we Kneel, How We Rise, which covers racism in sport and has contributions from several high-profile Black athletes.

“People must recognize that it’s all folks from different denominations and from different sectors and different parts of the world have done great things,” says Holding, who made sure to highlight the discoveries, innovations, and much more that people of color have contributed throughout history.

Holding also said athletes should not confine their opinions to sporting matters.

“When they leave the arena, or the basketball courts, they have to go back into society to live a normal life. If they are affected by society, they have to speak up and use their platform.”

(Source: Reuters)

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