Project Embrace, a campaign to make Afro and textured hair more visible in the media, is running ads across city-center billboards in the U.K. this week celebrating real-life black women wearing their hair in natural styles.
The ads were created pro bono by agency Quiet Storm together with branding agency Vine Creatives, which focuses on African businesses. They feature a diverse group of women, cast through an open audition: a teacher, a finance manager, a writer, a receptionist, a student and an HR partner. All are shown celebrating their Afros and declare they are "Proud to be me."
Nottingham City Council and Clear Channel donated billboards in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Lekia LÃ©e, founder of Project Embrace, created it when she realized the only black women her daughter Siirah would complement had straight hair. LÃ©e wanted to challenge and expose the negative issues around Afro hair by celebrating black girls' beauty and stopping them from growing up feeling "unpretty," which can affect their overall self-esteem.