South Carolina Gamecocks guard Raven Johnson companions with Black hair care model on new NIL deal

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Raven Johnson is worked up about quite a bit. The South Carolina Gamecocks guard is thrilled about her first magnificence ambassadorship and the very fact it’s with a Black magnificence model, Parfait.

“I’m so grateful that beauty brands are partnering with women athletes,” Johnson informed Andscape. “I’m so excited, not just partnering with a beauty brand like Parfait but a brand that Black women own. That means a lot to me.”

Parfait co-founder and CEO Isoken Igbinedion is a big fan of Johnson — she is all Igbinedion’s little sisters can speak about — however she’d been enthusiastic about the inequities between the alternatives for female and male athletes. She needed to set a precedent with a NIL partnership between Parfait and Johnson.

“We fundamentally believe brands have a responsibility to amplify these female voices in spaces where these inequities live and exist the most,” Igbinedion stated. “That’s why this partnership agreement is so special to us. It marks a historic first in the hair industry to help us set a new standard for how female athletes should be treated and how they can maintain and express their personal style without compromise.”

One of many coolest issues in regards to the partnership is how natural it is going to be: Johnson will be taught in regards to the merchandise as she makes use of them, and Parfait will have the ability to create merchandise that match Johnson’s life-style.

“You know how they say if you look good, you play good?” requested Johnson. “That is so true. I’m always in the mirror. My hair has to be slayed.” She stated she loves carrying lengthy hair on the court docket, particularly as soon as her wigs are in what she calls “sport mode.”

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South Carolina Gamecocks guard Raven Johnson performs in opposition to the Maryland Terrapins through the recreation at Colonial Life Enviornment on Nov. 12, 2023, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Photographs

Johnson described her hair in sport mode: “There’s a thing on the wig that has a strap on the back, and it makes the wig tighter. And you have, like, this comb in the wig that you can put under the band that you tie and it makes it like tighter. It makes it secure so that the wig won’t go anywhere. It’s good for athletes.”

That’s her game-day magnificence routine — lashes, lip gloss, wig in sport mode, and he or she’s able to get on the court docket.

“I like to get fly. I think that’s the Atlanta in me,” Johnson stated of her model. “You have to look good.” Johnson plans to put on her hair in Parfait items just like the U-part curly wigs and half-up, half-down.

South Carolina Gamecocks guard Raven Johnson is the primary faculty athlete to associate with Parfait.

Grace Sorrells

In July 2020, Igbinedion launched Parfait along with her sister Ifueko Igbinedion. The road of wigs and extensions might be custom-made to prospects’ head sizes primarily based on their pores and skin tone, utilizing synthetic intelligence. Isoken Igbinedion was impressed to make the connection between AI and Black girls’s hair care after attending a panel at AfroTech in 2019.

“At AfroTech that year, there were a bunch of different panels from industry leaders, folks like Google, Meta, Twitter. It was just so interesting seeing how they were using their platforms and their positions of power to solve a lot of the inequities that they were seeing as they were building physical products,” Igbinedion stated.

Inequities can come up from AI bias, such because the cleaning soap and water dispenser within the restroom not recognizing darker pores and skin tones and failing to activate when Black individuals put their palms underneath the sensor. Igbinedion and her sister needed to make sure the Black group was part of the revolution.

“That’s really where the genesis for Parfait was born, with this mission to create beauty experiences with technology that truly recognize and prioritize everybody,” Igbinedion stated. “We ended up with wigs and hair extensions as the first category. We want to solve problems for women because of how difficult that experience can be and because of the lack of education that a lot of our communities have not had when it comes to how we care and protect our natural hair.”

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Parfait was co-founded by sisters Isoken Igbinedion (left) and Ifueko Igbinedion (proper) in 2020.

Kwaku Alston

The identify Parfait resembles the build-as-you-go dessert, she stated. “The actual dessert, a parfait, is a very layered experience,” Igbinedion stated. “You may construct a parfait any method with any toppings, and it’s particular and distinctive for you so it’s just like the hair expertise.

“We already knew this as Black women, but Black women aren’t a monolith, right?” Igbinedion stated. “We are all very different, we come from very different backgrounds. We have different preferences. We have different hair textures. We have different experiences.”

And there are such a lot of completely different causes to put on a wig. “It could be for a protective style because you just don’t have the time to manipulate your hair safely because of the beauty of day-to-day life,” Igbinedion stated. “Or because you just had a baby and have postpartum shedding and for the first time you don’t know how to manage that experience for yourself, or you are just using it as a fashion accessory in between styles.”

Parfait creates {custom} items with the help of a selfie. Prospects take 4 selfies and permit the digital camera to scan the biometric info on their face. The selfies assist the AI course of perceive the curvatures of the hairline and the circumference of the top. It additionally captures the colour palettes of pores and skin tones, and Parfait makes use of that info to gasoline its manufacturing capabilities.

As soon as all the data is captured, Parfait custom-creates a cap distinctive to the top’s measurements. “And then we make sure the tone of the lace actually matches your skin tone and so we can continue to serve more consumers,” Igbinedion stated. “We’re going to be able to learn more about the true depths and ranges of Black faces and skin tones that may not exist in the beauty industry so that we can continue to evolve and develop products that truly fit all of our unique profiles.”

However actually, Igbinedion is worked up about Johnson’s alternative to construct her model and wealth. “[Parfait] is so excited to support her and give her opportunities that are not available to women. I know it’s starting to happen, but it’s not happening fast enough, and it’s not having at the speed it needs to. We’re excited to be one piece of this much larger movement.”

Channing Hargrove is a senior author at Andscape overlaying style. That’s simpler than admitting how strongly she identifies with the lyrics “Single Black female addicted to retail.”

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