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GOOD EVENING BRITAIN: LIVE! Join Darkwah Kyei-Darkwah, Zain Shah and Glow with Ola for a night of queer fabulousness

As one of the ten winners of The Special Event Call Out we launched in partnership with Selina last month, London’s favourite queer icons Darkwah Kyei-Darkwah, Zain Shah and Glow with Ola bring you the GOOD EVENING BRITAIN: LIVE! event, which will be taking place at Selina’s new Camden location on Monday 28 June.

If you’re looking for an evening filled with some laughs, deep conversation and total, unadulterated fabulousness, this one’s for you. Ahead of their event next week, we sat down with the trio to find out a little more about what they have planned for their queer, inclusive and interactive alternative to that talk show.

GOOD EVENING BRITAIN: LIVE! Join Darkwah Kyei-Darkwah, Zain Shah and Glow with Ola for a night of queer fabulousness

But first up, let’s rewind a bit. In case you’re not fully aware of who the curators of this event are—and the whirlwind of fun and creativity they’ll be implementing through this evening—Kyei-Darkwah is a non-binary content creator, public speaker, activist and art director. “Formerly Fashion Editor at an international LGBTQ+ publication, my work does and has always centred around uplifting the voices of the lesser represented in society,” they explained. Knowing exactly how to push queer visibility and challenge preconceived notions of masculinity in society are just two of Kyei-Darkwah’s many skills.

Next up is Shah, also known as Zaddy Zain, a London-based beauty influencer and skincare enthusiast. “As a gender non-conforming South Asian, I’m constantly thinking of new ways to combine creativity with social activism. My goal is to continue working towards expanding the narratives of brown LGBTQ+ culture, rather than reinforcing stereotypes, to help to ensure a wider range of representation,” shared Shah.

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Une publication partagée par Zain Shah (@zaddyza1n)

Last but certainly not least, meet Glow with Ola, a content creator acclaimed for their focus on “bringing the fun back into skincare.” If you think skincare and pampering your mental health can’t go hand in hand, Ola will make you think again. “As well as giving you tips on achieving luminous skin, I also focus on instilling people with the tools to overcome their personal struggles. Get ready with me while I spill the proverbial tea in a salacious storytime, or give you tips on empowerment and self-acceptance. Never afraid to tackle controversial topics, my work is peppered with humour, authentic truth, and a ridiculously long set of acrylic nails! Keep glowing!”

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Une publication partagée par Ola (@glow_with_ola)

Who would ever need to hype themselves up after spending a full evening surrounded by this posse, am I right? GOOD EVENING BRITAIN: LIVE! is a—you guessed it—live version of the homonymous IGTV-native talk show the group has been hosting on for a couple of months now. When asked why they decided to take advantage of the lift of the UK’s restrictions, Kyei-Darkwah explained, “The reason it worked when we did this on IGTV was that we were having good discussions that meant a lot to each of us. We don’t like to structure things too much. What we can assure you is that we will be our most honest, most open and most candid selves whatever the topic of conversation.”

The event will focus on honest conversations surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community. “You may have thought it but we will definitely say it and with that, also hopefully shed some light on the feelings and experiences of others who need to and should be heard more,” they added.

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Une publication partagée par DARKWAH (@hausofdarkwah)

To start the event, all three organisers will bring topics they deem important to the table, which will segue into questions from the audience around those same topics and then anything they wish to ask after. “There’s nothing like a face to face conversation. There’s nothing like reading the faces of people who have found something funny, emoting with people who have been moved by anecdotes or simply sharing a knowing and understanding look with someone,” explained Kyei-Darkwah.

If you care about being a good ally, or are just looking to learn and understand more about the world around us, GOOD EVENING BRITAIN: LIVE! promises to help you do just that. “Look, we aren’t experts either so it’s all a learning and sharing experience. And we hope to bring all sorts of people together so we can grow together as a community that crosses many intersections,” Kyei-Darkwah added.

With a limited amount of tickets remaining—at £22 for the evening’s conversation and £42.50 if you’d like to add a curated dinner at Selina’s POWERPLANT restaurant—the evening is bound to touch on some of today’s most current topics while keeping the atmosphere light and fun, because who likes a one-sided lecture? Certainly not Kyei-Darkwah, Shah, nor Ola.

And if you’re still not fully convinced GOOD EVENING BRITAIN: LIVE! is perfect for you, here’s what Kyei-Darkwah had to say, “It’s going to be an eye-opening, hilarious, caring and honest experience that will hopefully leave you wanting more while having left with a full heart and happy mind.” Sign me up, and get your tickets here.

Gender non-conforming makeup artist Zain Shah on toxic masculinity and online bullying

This year, and more specifically this month, the conversation around both online bullying and toxic masculinity has been incessant. For Anti-Bullying Week 2020, as part of the Not Just A Comment campaign, Screen Shot spoke to British South Asian, gender non-conforming makeup artist Zain Shah about the hate he receives, his fight against toxic masculinity through makeup and his advice for anyone else doing the same or struggling to shake off the haters.

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As a British South Asian, gender non-conforming makeup artist, what is your experience with online bullying like?

There’s a lot of hate, from people who don’t understand what I do. These people truly don’t want to understand and are fuelled by insecurities of their own. Being a queer POC and an individual that challenges gender stereotypes makes me a target on many different levels.

What would be your advice to anyone currently fighting toxic masculinity (be that through a celebration of their own identity or using their online presence)?

I would say thank you for speaking about a topic that so many turn a blind eye to. It’s easy to get burnt out when being a social activist, so my advice would be to protect your energy and remember to take care of yourself in the process.

When did you first realise that your interests didn’t fit society’s beauty standards? How did that impact you and your mental well-being?

Differences aren’t celebrated. I realised this as a young teen who enjoyed doing things society deems as typically ‘feminine’, and being called out for it at school; not just by students, but teachers too.

What do you do when you read some hurtful online comments about you in order to look past those?

I don’t engage with the hate. Often, these individuals are looking to get a rise out of you or to start an argument. Nobody has power over you unless you allow them to. I choose not to give value to their opinions or to give away my precious time to negativity.

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A post shared by Zain Shah (@zaddyza1n)

What would you say to people who are struggling with their culture, values and beliefs in order to help them overcome societal pressures?

I would say that while cultures and values can give us a sense of belonging, they don’t often care about the individuals’ happiness. Prioritise yourself, and choose your happiness first.

You use your platform as a way to encourage more comprehensive beauty standards. So far, what changes have you seen in your industry as well as in people’s mindsets?

I’ve seen other young South Asians step into their own power and reject society’s narrow standards of beauty. A few beauty brands are on the path of championing true diversity by moving past tokenising people of colour.

How mindful of online bullying would you say you are when posting new content online?

To be honest, I don’t factor it in anymore but I did at the start. If you’re proud of your work, nothing else matters. Stand by your art.

What boundaries have you set on your social media platforms in order to keep some aspects of your life ‘safe’ from online bullies?

As I mentioned, I don’t engage with the hateful comments and messages I receive. I also give myself frequent breaks from checking my social media, especially after I post.

If you could, what kind of life advice would you give your younger self?

You’ve got to make bad choices to learn how to make better ones. Live in the moment and enjoy every aspect of what you do. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself!

Finally, what is the best thing you would recommend people to do for Anti-Bullying Week 2020?

Check-in with yourself and address any negative behaviours and patterns you may have. After you’ve done that, start a discussion with your friends and family and call out any ‘bullying’ that you see.

Online bullying can affect everyone, including children, teens and adults. No one should go through the distress and loneliness that the brutality of hateful comments can lead to. With the help of Ditch The Label, we found it crucial to encourage others to open up about the hurtful comments they receive in order to knock down the idea that online abuse is acceptable.

You too, share on social media a picture or a video of the meanest comments you’ve received. Use the hashtag #NotJustAComment and encourage others to do the same. Reach out to anyone who you think might be suffering from bullying and donate if you can to help support the incredible work Ditch The Label is doing!