Humber College spotlighted Black industry professionals and talented creators at the Black Excellence Showcase on Thursday.
IGNITE hosted an event that took over the Learning Resource Commons for three hours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with food, music, performances and live demonstrations from different parts of the Black community.
The event provides opportunities for students to experience aspects of Black culture to interact with and learn from various experts in different industries across the GTA.
“It’s important to show and teach young people these skills,” said Aisha Loobie, natural hair stylist and founder of Crown N’ Glory.
“A lot of people didn’t know about proper hair care and a lot of the information that’s on the internet is coming from people that are not professionals,” Loobie said.
Loobie, who opened the showcase, gave a live haircare presentation and displayed her certification by sharing with the audience her process from licensing to owning her business.
“My mom did hair, so I always had a bit of an interest in that area,” Loobie said. “I eventually realized that there wasn’t really anybody I can learn from who could teach me how to do my hair type.”
She said it has always been her passion to educate herself about hair, open a salon and educate others about proper natural hair care techniques.
Students from all backgrounds stood in awe as the event proceeded. However, it was Hassan Adenola, a professional chef and founder of Chef Hassan’s Kitchen, captivated the audience with his culinary skills.
Adenola’s live cooking demonstration filled the air with an aroma which captivated the audience, his “how to” tips on how to make a quick and easy morning omelette.
Adenola said his path to becoming a chef stemmed from his love for food.
“I grew up in Nigeria and food was a big part of their culture, so when I came to Canada, I started working for a bunch of private restaurants and big companies and I just loved everything about it,” Adenola said.
He created his personal chef and catering company by using his love for food and guidance from a mentor in the catering business, Adenola said.
Teaching students different skills like cooking is very important, he said.
“One of the biggest things right now is food insecurity, groceries are going up, a lot of people are suffering,” Adenola said.
“Even just to show people how to make the simplest stuff and show them how to do it well instead of eating out or something, it’s good to know you can do it by yourself,” Adenola said.
The event allowed several students to talk, connect and receive mentorship from the presenters, take what they learned and apply it in their lives.
The student turnout helped make the showcase an overall success, said Melany Palacios-Naranjo, Master of Ceremonies and Student Advocate for IGNITE.
“They’re actively getting involved, even if it’s just for a second, they’re making the time to be a part of our team,” said Palacios-Naranjo.
“I would definitely consider anything where students can come on down and just take a look, even just to spy around what’s good, we consider it a success,” she said.
Events like this give students a voice and representation on campus, Palacios-Naranjo said.
“It gives them the freedom to express themselves and let them know that we’re here for them,” she said. “Not just academically, but also as a part of their culture as well as who they are.”