(Image: Kali Ackford)
With an upcoming book and the launch of her new fashion brand, Big Stush, on the horizon, she sat down with Bristol Live to shed light on her latest entrepreneurial endeavor.
The conversation not only explores the nuances of Big Stush but also reflects on the impactful events of 2020 that propelled her to co-author a significant children’s book.
The aftermath of the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol Harbour more than two years ago continues to resonate. In that historic moment of June, a statue of Jen, adorned with her Black Power salute, swiftly became an emblem of anti-racism.
The statue, titled ‘A Surge of Power (Jen Reid),’ a creation by British sculptor Marc Quinn, faced prompt removal by Bristol City Council within 24 hours, as it lacked the necessary approval. Jen assures that the statue is securely stored, awaiting a future sale, with all proceeds earmarked for the Cargo Classroom initiative led by Dr. Lawrence Hoo.
Jen expresses enthusiasm about supporting Cargo Classroom and envisions the funds contributing to the creation of more lesson plans for schools.
She underscores the crucial need to teach history in its complete context, particularly for young Black children to instill a sense of belonging and pride. Initiatives like Cargo Classroom challenge the conventional framing of Black history in the UK’s mainstream curriculum, which often restricts the narrative to slavery through a Eurocentric lens.
Despite the passage of time since the events of 2020, Jen contends that not much has changed. She acknowledges the ongoing efforts of individuals chipping away at the issues and emphasizes the importance of allyship. Jen sees children as the catalysts for change, describing them as “Generation Change” and highlighting a discernible shift in their perspectives.
She emphasizes that, although change might not be immediate, the future appears promising as children actively question and speak out against injustice.
Jen, along with co-author Angela Joy and illustrator Leire Salaberria, has co-authored a children’s book that recounts the events of June 2020.
The book is set to hit shelves on June 6, 2023, offering a fictional narrative about a young girl named Jenna and her exploration of statues in the town.
With the book in the final stages of production, Jen now shifts her focus to the launch of her fashion brand, Big Stush.
This venture into accessories and sustainable clothing aligns with her long-standing desire to explore the world of fashion.
The brand, launching online on November 25, will initially feature handpicked jewelry and accessories, with plans for Jen to create her designs in the future.
The term ‘Stush,’ a Jamaican expression for looking effortlessly good, coupled with ‘Big,’ reflecting Jen and her husband’s stature, gives birth to the bold and colorful fashion brand, Big Stush.
The brand’s launch event on November 25 at Duke & Scarlett salon promises a vibrant and lively atmosphere, open to the public, with Prosecco flowing and a DJ set. Jen’s products, ranging from £12 to £24, will be available for purchase at the event, offering bold and colorful designs that redefine the concept of a statement piece.
Big Stush aims to instill confidence, encouraging everyone to ‘wear it loud and proud.’ For the latest updates, you can follow Big Stush on Facebook and Instagram.
In essence, Jen Reid’s journey encompasses not just the tangible elements of business but also a profound commitment to fostering change, representation, and pride, especially among the younger generation.
The multi-faceted impact she seeks to create transcends the boundaries of commerce, making her a significant figure in the realms of activism and entrepreneurship.
Black Wall St. MediaContributor