Bantu is a company I created inspired by the current societal landscape. With this brand I wanted to create a space for black people to be inspired, have fun, and be free by including truth and empowering statements within the branding. It is so important for people to see themselves as beautiful, versatile , and sophisticated. I wanted to create a space where black people could see themselves that way. Bantu is a group of languages spoken in Southern and Central Africa, but it is also the name of a hair style "Bantu Knots" as this is a hair company targeted to those with natural hair i felt it was important to tie the company name back to something that truly rooted itself in its origins. The style draws inspiration from the 70s era from the color palette to the expression, everything can be drawn back to the time of blown out hair, and flared pants. 

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The " Free to be" campaign seeks to depoliticize afro textured hair, while also uplifting black people to see their hair as a multifaceted part of themselves that enhances their beauty. That their hair can be fun, cool, bold, and professional whenever they decide. 

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The "Bad A**" campaign is to empower those with kinky and coily textured hair by reclaiming and repurposing the term "bad". For years Black people have been told that they aren't enough from intelligence, to skin tone, to hair. For a long time the term "bad hair" has been used to describe kinky and coily textures of hair. I felt the need to reclaim that, to remind black people that they are beautiful, that they are "Bad A**". 

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Stephen Smith

Cincinnati, OH