The first-of-its-kind Canadian awards ceremony saluted local Black talent, from the top influencer to the skincare brand of the year.
A new annual fashion and beauty awards gala has officially hit Canada and it’s here to showcase Black creatives and Black-owned businesses across the country. The event also has a huge focus on mentoring future talent through bursary programs and workshops.
On Saturday night, the Black Fashion & Beauty Gala took place at Toronto’s Grand Luxe Event Boutique. With a dress code of “The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes,” a drove of individuals showed up in bold ensembles. The brain child of Toronto-based fashion and event stylist Ann-Marie Daniel Barker, the event honoured 11 winners across different categories. (The nominees were earlier submitted and voted on by the public.)
The night started out with a red carpet photo op followed by trays of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the lobby where guests were free to mingle and network. Next, was a seated three-course dinner in the ballroom where attendees were entertained with a live performance by singer Jay Harmony, plus DJ Randee playing on the sound system. Read on for our favourite moments from the Black Fashion & Beauty Gala.
Stacey McKenzie delivered an empowering speech
Jamaican-born Canadian model, runway coach, motivational speaker and television personality Stacey McKenzie was honoured with a special BFBG Trailblazer and Lifetime Achievement award for her barrier-breaking career. Dancing on stage to “Ordinary Servant” by Vybz Kartel, McKenzie lip sang and grooved at the awards podium for a good 30 seconds, encouraging the crowd to listen to the powerful lyrics.
Then came her acceptance speech: “Listening to people say that I couldn’t do certain things based on how I looked and sounded really took its toll on me, and there were times I was going to give up and walk away. But I felt it within my spirit that I belonged in fashion. We all go through ups and downs and ugliness in life, but it’s what we take from [those experiences] and what we do with them,” she said. “Don’t give up on yourselves. Love yourself. Own yourself. Embrace yourself. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than who you are. Don’t make anyone make you feel like you can’t do something because of the colour of your skin. You are worthy. We are worthy.”
She ended by commending founder Ann-Marie. “I’ve been in the industry for 25 years, and I’ve never come across an event like this celebrating Black people — my people — within fashion and beauty. It’s important for us as a community to really work together and that is what you’re doing here, Ann-Marie. This event that you’re putting on, honouring and showcasing talent within the Black community, is really important and phenomenal. Drop this event every year. Even when it’s hard and you feel like giving up — don’t.”
Tynomi Banks nailed her presenting duties
For her on-stage moment to present the Model of the Year award, drag performer and Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 contestant Tynomi Banks was full of wit and charisma, which had the entire house laughing. “Yes, I killed it [on Drag Race]. Got voted off real early, but booked myself a Super Bowl ad right away. Booked and blessed!” she said, letting out a full-barrelled laugh. Then came her announcement of the award winner: “And the winner is Honey Benjamin. I am going to accept this award on her behalf because I look like an award. Oh, no wait, she’s here,” she said, kissing her teeth. The crowd was even treated to some voguing later on in the night.
The host came dressed in a bejewelled face covering
Mikey Mention was on hosting duty and managed two outfit changes during the ceremony, one of which included a sharp black suit paired with a full face covering adorned with rhinestones. Talk about head-turning.
Cloré Beauty Supply CEO Clara Jina Kim got super emotional during her speech
Cloré Beauty Supply, a major sponsor of the BFBG Awards, is a go-to beauty supply chain across Ontario for Black beauty products. (It’s well-known within the community for its stock of textured hair products, hair extensions, wigs and more.) When the CEO of the family-run business, Clara Jina Kim, graced the stage, it became apparent that she was overwhelmed by the significance of the evening. It prompted BFBG founder Ann-Marie Daniel Barker to stand by Kim’s side during the deliverance of her remarks.
“This is the first time [we as a company] have been able to come and speak to the community we serve,” said Kim. “Our vision is to grow the community that we are part of — to make this a franchise for the Black community. Our goal is to support those who support us with jobs, sponsorships and donations. Thank you for the opportunity to share our vision with all of you.”
Below, discover the full list of BFBG 2022 award winners.
Designer of the Year: Tiffany Cyrus of T.M.A Creations
Retailer of the Year: The O Spot by Orica Smart
Fashion Stylist of the Year: Sin.C.Lair
Model of the Year: Honey Benjamin
Makeup Brand of the Year: PABA Cosmetics
Hair Artist of the Year: DKND Signature Styles
Makeup Artist of the Year: Monique Nicholson
Skincare Brand of the Year: Simkha Biocosmetics
Esthetician of the Year: The O Spot by Orica Smart
Influencer of the Year: Kyra Milan Brown
Photographer of the Year: Samantha Clarke