Rhianna Beaumont, co-founder of Culturing Success and co-creator of the #afrohijabi hashtag, has been a positive influence on social media with her message to spread awareness and acceptance towards the black Muslim community. 21Ninety recently got to chat with Rhianna Beaumont and discuss all things #afrohijabi, self-care and beauty.
21Ninety: You co-created the #afrohijabi hashtag — what does being an #afrohijabi mean to you?
Rhianna Beaumont: To me, an #afrohijabi is someone who is Muslim and of African origins or descent. This includes Caribbean countries or anyone with ‘afro’ textured hair, however, it’s not just limited to the women with ‘afro’ hair because black women come with all different types of hair textures. With afros being synonymous with blackness and black culture, my co-founder Rikki Knight and I felt that would be the best and most succinct title to go with.
21Ninety: What change do you hope to see the #afrohijabi hashtag create for the future?
RB: The ethos behind launching the #AFROHIJABI campaign was to provide the representation the black Muslim community needs. There is a serious lack of representation in the black Muslim women community as well as the black Muslim community in general. I hope that the #AFROHIJABI campaign creates conversation and also provides confidence to black Muslims, allowing them to be their unapologetic selves. We really hope to create a deeper change.
21Ninety: How has your hair journey changed and/or shaped you as a person?
RB: My hair journey has really changed me as a person, it’s been the catalyst to gaining full acceptance of self in all of my glory — faults and all.
21Ninety: Having gone through your own hair journey, how do you speak to your daughter about her hair?
RB: With my daughter, Aaliyah, I always make her feel beautiful no matter what her hair looks like — this is something I picked this up from my partner in crime, Rikki. Even when my daughter’s hair isn’t ‘neat’ by society's standards, I always tell her it is. It’s important to me that she knows she’s amazing both inside and out. I really want her to be happy with herself no matter what. She is a 4-year-old pro at putting her hair, as well as her doll’s hair, in a bun! I realized doing little things like letting her help me wash my hair and even assigning her the designated comb-finder have helped a lot with how she sees hair.
21Ninety: What are some struggles you find yourself facing as an black Muslim woman within the Muslim community and the black community? How do you overcome those struggles?
RB: I find that within both communities I’ve never really felt like I’ve had a place. Within the Afro-Caribbean and African community, I’m seen as different even though I’m not. There are also times I’m told that I look Arab or Somali, whatever that means. I think the sight of my hijab precedes my person and brings on that assumption that I’m Arab or Somali because apparently they’re the only ones who’re Muslim. It frustrates me because that lack of awareness leads to exclusion.
21Ninety: On your blog, you mentioned taking a DNA test which helped you learn more about yourself, how did the results make you feel?
RB: I felt exhilarated by the results! Being of Caribbean descent, our experience is very different compared to many other communities. We have a lot of underlying identity issues that need to be explored. For us, the issue lies in the fact that our ancestors were stripped from their native lands, the lands that housed culture, lineage, native foods, dances and so much more. We made the best out of a very bad situation and the effects of that very bad situation are being felt today in the hearts of people like myself. It’s important to remember that while it may feel as though our identity was born out of suffering, it was not. Receiving the DNA results brought me one step closer to clarity and getting to know myself a little more.
21Ninety: What has been your go-to protective style?
RB: For me it’s a low bun! This is the only protective style that works well with the way I wear my hijab but I also like jumbo braids too. One of my secrets is deep conditioning under my hijab! I wash my hair, apply the conditioner and cover my hair in plastic. If I'm going out, I’ll throw my hijab on top and I’m off for the day. It’s important to learn how to work smarter, not harder, especially considering how much more effort is needed for our crowns.
21Ninety: If you could get ready using three make-up products, which would they be?
RB: It would be the Trinny London BFF Cream. It’s an amazing tinted moisturizer that leaves me looking glowy and alive. I would also need, I repeat need, Benefit’s ‘They’re Real’ mascara. It’s the only mascara that works well at separating my lashes. Lastly I would need a lip balm, any lip balm, and have to double it up to moisturize my lips and the gaps between my fingers because we all know we get a little ashy there.
21Ninety: What is your favorite self-care ritual?
RB: My self-care rituals vary from day to day and I try to commit to at least one act of self-care daily. My self-care acts could range anywhere from some chicken nuggets and a movie curled up on the sofa to a luxury bubble bath whilst the kids are at school or even full on yoga. Whatever I choose to do I try to make it something that’s out of the ordinary for me. A bubble bath may not seem so important because we all wash, but doing that on a day or time where you normally wouldn't have the time to do so makes it an act of self-care. You’re taking time to push away the stress factors in life and making room for yourself. It’s a re-centering act to take care of yourself, to take a minute to just breathe. Sometimes doing things like baths or movies can take up a lot of time, so I try to incorporate things like burning incense or mindful podcasts into my everyday things like getting ready for work. Self-care looks different for everyone.