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Innovative LCF alumna establishes first beauty industry awards for customers from the African Diaspora

Selection of make up brushes
Selection of make up brushes

Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
18 August 2020

The Black Beauty and Fashion Awards (BBF Awards) were created by London College of Fashion (LCF) alumna Cheryl Jumbo in 2018, to give customers from the African Diaspora awareness of brands that care and cater to their needs. The next awards are taking place in October 2020, and we caught up with Cheryl to find out more.

Woman speaking behind a podium
Cheryl Jumbo talking at the House of Commons

Why were the BBF Awards established?

Cheryl graduated from the BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science course in 2007, and after a number of years working for large organisations like QVC, she set-up her own natural skincare brand, Cherry Coco. Whilst working in the lab it dawned on Cheryl that, as a British citizen working at the forefront of the UK beauty industry, she didn’t appear to have substantial representation in the products that were on sale.

Cheryl explains that the awards were conceived from a feeling of social exclusion;

I pondered over what products were available and also marketed to me, I wondered about the luxury brands that I bought my mascara from but never seemed to find a decent shade of face powder. As I did so, I decided on the spot that I would create an award that would make the difference, that would cater to my needs and understood my unassailable right to inclusion and for others like me.

The BBF Awards mission:

  • to inspire via representation
  • to support and encourage entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation
  • to celebrate excellence and reward businesses in the creation and development of products within the beauty and fashion industry
  • to inspire conscious thought and leadership in our communities

The BBF Awards are voted for by a panel of experts, to encourage social responsibility from larger organisations, as well as supporting new and young black beauty businesses to gain recognition. They are a crucial initiative, not only because it puts a spotlight on the hard work and innovation taking place within the industry year on year, but it also alleviates issues of social exclusion and provides consumers with an awareness of brands that care and cater to their needs.

Illustration of a modela walking, surrounded by bright colours
Image courtesy of

Who runs the awards?

The BBF Awards are currently run by 2 UAL alumnae; Cheryl, and Abi Idowu who is the senior events manager for the awards.

They met at the first BBF Awards, where Abi, an MA Media, Communications and Critical Practice alumna from London College of Communication (LCC), was the venue event manager;

"I witnessed first-hand the vision and dedication [that] Cheryl’s hard work created. The launch event and first awards [were] very well organised and had fantastic feedback from attendees’ and industry professionals alike.

“So when the opportunity arose to be the senior events manager for this year’s  BBF Awards I gladly took on the opportunity to be part of this impactful awards, which not only celebrate excellence but also creates opportunities for many globally whose voices aren’t always heard."

Time at UAL

Cheryl studied on Cosmetic Science at LCF and says the course played a large part in the development of the awards; “The course was impactful in helping to lay the foundation and passion for my current business endeavours. My interest in product development and evaluation has played a key role in the awards as we shine a spotlight of outstanding products produced around the world.”

For Abi, the support she received from the LCC employability team meant she developed a great network, something which helped when applying for jobs after graduation;

[LCC] paved the way [for] my career to merge the  creative and professional practices that were taught on the course... This was pivotal for me getting positions within the creative arts and events management.

The winners of this year’s BBF Awards will be announced live on Wednesday 28 October 2020. You can get free tickets to watch the awards show.

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