Saving every face … but mine

What a perfect time to be in Toronto

Saving every face … but mine

Founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis talks to Caribbean Toronto News

I think my 67-year old sun-blasted face is beyond help from SheaMoisture’s many facial treatments; for everyone else in Toronto, including some of Toronto’s most beautiful men and woman who walked a coral coloured carpet, SheaMoisture is the bomb. Located in downtown Toronto at 128 Peter Street it was Carnival week’s destination to celebrate the global black community with an impressive and empowering line up of speakers, artists, and community leaders.

To make a proper splash in a city that has seen it all, SheaMoisture took over a building on Peter Street, just a few blocks south of the CP24 TV station. They converted the empty store into a colourful pop-up studio, where, for the next three days, celebrities and fashion makeup experts celebrate beauty and culture, inspiring Torontonians to “Be Your Beautiful!”

The American based company has arrived in Canada big time with a mission to ethically save the hair and skin of black women with gobs and gobs of shea butter. SheaMoisture describes itself as a company committed to serving those who have been underserved in beauty. The late Sofi Tucker, who was widowed with five children at the age of 19, developed it; Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps in the village markets of Sierra Leone. She became known as a healer who nationally shared the power of shea and African black soap.

Sofi’s grandson Richelieu Dennis founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her recipes into the brand’s hair and skincare innovations. His products continue to be made with natural ingredients; their shea butter is ethically sourced in Northern Ghana as part of parent company Sundial Brands purpose-driven community commerce business model.

To kick it all off, there was an hour-long parade of beautiful people posing in front of a logo wall for the waiting media before joining the party indoors. One of the crowd favourites was Tracy Moore, the host of the daytime talk show Cityline. “I am excited about my involvement with this pop-up,” she told the Toronto Caribbean News. “For the next few days, I will get a chance to talk about things that I don’t get a chance to talk about on my show. Like what? Well, black hair for one thing!” She was slated to be at the pop-up and talk about the successes and struggles in being a black woman in the media.

Tracy Moore was joined on the carpet by fellow broadcasters Nnekia Elliott and the ebullient CP24 weather expert Patricia Jaggernauth. Other celebs that stopped to pose included: Toronto based film actor Emmanuel Kabongo, Soca Reggae Juno award-winning singer Jully Black, DJ Kelsey Williams (aka Killa Kels), Ammoye, and indie-pop singer Domanique Gran.

Throw in a Raptor or two, some well-known designers, and jaw-dropping beautiful male and female African and Caribbean models, and you have a wildly successful opening. “We came up to Toronto to do this during Caribana,” explained founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis. “It is all about diversity and celebration. What a perfect time to be in Toronto.”

“It’s exciting for us to debut the SheaMoisture pop-up in Canada and partner with influential women and organizations, who are leading conversations about beauty, culture, and identity through stories and learnings,” says Kimberly Paige, COO of Sundial Brands, manufacturer of SheaMoisture.

Of course, the trouble with four-day events is that they disappear almost as fast as they magically appeared. The SheaMoisture pop-up popped down on Friday, August 2nd.