Hi everyone! I am Shaday Barrowes-Bayewunmi and I have alopecia universalis. I am also an artist, auntie and a poet. The point is I am more than just my alopecia!

Between the age of 11 and 15 my hair was constantly dipping in and out of my life and by the time I was 15, I had lost all my body hair and the hair on my head. Since then, I have experienced some mental health issues, trying out lots of wigs, and more than one identity crisis due to this experience.

As a Black British woman, hair is an integral facet of the black female identity and the black experience is something that I feel is not spoken about enough within the alopecia community.

In a society where women are continuously commented on how they look, dress and how they choose to speak, I think it is imperative that we empower one another and illuminate the stories that have been excluded.

Alopecia UK has been very generous in helping me to tell my story because we all have a story to tell, and I truly believe that our stories universally connect us all.

Thank you Shaday for sharing your alopecia journey with us. Are you able to tell us a little bit about your alopecia awareness project you have been working on?

This project is about educating the public on the alopecia experience and engaging with more global majority people within the community through a filmed theatre production. There is little to no representation for our community within the arts, and that needs to change, our stories deserve to be heard and represented in all spaces. 

The filmed production will focus on the experience of a black woman coming to terms with her diagnosis and learning how to manage her race and her relationship with her hair.

Alopecia UK's Alopecia Awareness Fund will help fund the resources needed to develop this filmed piece of theatre.

How do you think your project raises awareness of alopecia within our communities?

I aim to raise awareness by educating people who don't have the knowledge or access to information on alopecia (the intricacies and complexities). It's not just hair loss, there is so much more attached to it. I will be releasing a short pilot for Alopecia UK, ready for a larger piece of theatre that will be made in the future. This will explore the themes of identity, race, oppression, mental health, shame, sexiness and finally, LIBERATION. I will be using my story to begin the conversation within the arts. I will continue to tell the story as the project expands further within the community and I hope to encourage others to tell their stories.

We believe Shaday’s project and story is going to resonate with so many people within the alopecia community. Congratulations Shaday on becoming the recipient of our first Alopecia Awareness Fund award! If you have a new, innovative alopecia awareness project that you would like to get off the ground, please consider applying for our next round of funding. All the information you need to apply can be found here.