You can’t talk about pioneering makeup brands for Black women without mentioning Black Opal. Started in 1994 when there were few options for women of color, the brand has stood the test of time — 25 years of time to be exact — even undergoing a logo redesign to become what’s known today as BLK/OPL. Now the makeup giant is stepping out of the box yet again to launch its first-ever collection: Aksanti.
Shawhili for “thank you,” Aksanti encompasses two gift sets curated by international super model, philanthropist and BLK/OPL Global Brand Ambassador Noella Coursaris. Part of the brand’s 2019 Shop for a Cause campaign, 25% of the proceeds from the sales of the Aksanti collection will benefit Coursaris’s organization Malaika which empowers Congolese girls and their communities through education, health, and art initiatives. One of Coursaris’s projects includes a school for more than 300 girls in the Congo and it was those girls and the staff there that came up with the names for each of the Aksanti gift sets: Maisha and Malaika.
Meaning “life” in Swahili, the Maisha collection is all about natural radiance; hence the brown, orange, and gold tones of the Ukweli eyeshadow palette and accompanying lipstick, gloss, and illuminating stick in this set.
Source: BLK/OPL / BLK/OPL
This vibrant set means “angel” in Swahili, but was pieced together to celebrate fierce individuality and self-expression. The Uzuri eyeshadow palette encompasses shades of blue, turquoise, and teal that are perfectly complemented by two bright red options for your pout and an illuminating stick in Nude Glow.
Of course you can’t talk about these products without mentioning the beauty of its packaging. The illustrations on each compact and gift box were commissioned by French-Congolese Artist Nicholle Kobi. “This collaboration is very special to me,” Kobi said in a news release. “To know that my artwork will help generate funds to educate young girls through Malaika is an immense source of joy and pride. My goal has always been to create imagery that young girls and women of color can relate to and be inspired by. It is such a privilege to have my illustrations serve as a visual representation of BLK/OPL’s Shop For a Cause initiative.”
The Aksanti Collection will launch exclusively on blackopalbeauty.com on April 22, 2019. The Maisha and Malaika gift sets will retail for $35.00; the Uzuri and Ukweli Eyeshadow Palettes for $15.00.