We are proud to announce that Jennifer Laurent-Smart has been appointed the Cultural Lead for our Caribbean-focused projects. Within this role, Jennifer will help us devise culturally relevant events and experiences that celebrate and explore Caribbean culture. Her passion for diversity and inclusion stems across her professional life having worked in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion for over 25 years.
Although Jennifer was born in the UK, her parents hail from Grand Bay, a coastal village in the south of Dominica. She describes this place as a significant cultural centre and the inspiration behind her Madras style fashion brand, Sakafet London, which sells traditional Creole garments, headwear and a variety of accessories.
Jennifer was also featured as the lead cultural rep for Cultural Style Week campaign videos, and as a representative for the Caribbean, sharing the beauty of her cultural style. During her participation in Cultural Style Week, which was held from 21 to 27 May 2022, she spoke with great animation of the pride she feels in her heritage and the joy it brought her to express this through the clothes she wore. This contagious enthusiasm for culture makes her the perfect representative for the UK's Caribbean community.
Caribbean people form one of the largest minority populations in the UK. They represent over half a million individuals and have made important contributions across a broad spectrum of fields including academics, politics, sports, science, literature, art and music. Among those who count themselves among the Caribbean diaspora, are individuals such as celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, award-winning dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, Spice Girl Mel B, and the Formula 1 phenomenon, Lewis Hamilton. Several large UK festivals, such as Notting Hill festival, Luton Carnival and the Leeds West Indies Carnival are deeply rooted in Caribbean culture.
As we begin preparations for Black History Month in the UK which will commence in October, it is time to reflect on the important contribution the Caribbean community has made to our history, our community and our culture. We are currently working with Jennifer on a project titled 'The Evolution Of Caribbean Cultural Clothing'. An exclusive documentary screening and evening of live and engaging discussion around the history of Caribbean traditional clothing, its modern-day relevance and its importance. More details will be announced soon.