We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalya Moosa and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Natalya, what was your thought process behind starting your own business? Pre-pandemic I was enjoying life as a self-employed DJ. It took me a decade to build my music career and I was in a place where I was looking to expand my services. Then the pandemic hit!

Seemingly overnight I lost my main source of income and fell through the cracks of government support. It was a time of grief.
But that wasn’t all…

After the murder of George Floyd, the music industry and a lot of the people in it, as well as people who I considered to be close friends completely shattered my perception of safety. People from all areas of the industry including venue managers, label owners, promoters, other musicians and even individuals I’d viewed as personal mentors showed their true colours.

There was a particular incident where I received death threats and was racially and sexually abused during a live panel that was “in solidarity with Black artists” … but disappointingly the platform was completely performative and refrained from helping me with reporting the incident to the police.

I no longer felt safe within the London music community and within the industry to which I’d dedicated so much of my life.

After that, I sat thinking long and hard about how I am going to support my people to achieve freedom from racial oppression, which has always been on my mind considering that I was born into apartheid South Africa.

I’ve been wearing my hair naturally for 16 years and had worked in the Black hair industry so I’d been running free natural hair consultations as soon as the pandemic hit. I knew that a lot of Black women wouldn’t be able to go to their hairdressers and wouldn’t know what to do with their natural hair on their own.

So I turned to The Organic Afro Community, a natural hair group that I had been running for 7 years and spoke openly about the rough time we’ve been having. I told them that I am going to be showing up more for our people and doing, even more, to lift them up and also to decolonise beauty.

In order to do that I had to start monetising my services and running my natural hair business. Since making that decision I’ve become a Certified Hair Practitioner with the International Association of Trichologists.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.                                         Well, it’s been quite a journey.  I studied Secondary Education, I did a crazy triple Major in History, Society & Environmental Studies and Religion, with a Minor in English. So I’m a qualified High School teacher. I always saw education as a great way to build a brighter future, by helping young people access their potential.

So I spent a while teaching humanities at inner-city schools during the week and gigged around London on the weekends. However, it soon became clear to me that the education system was not designed with the best intentions for all of our young people. This became a source of anxiety for me as it is out of alignment with my values, so I left the profession.

What I’ve learnt along the way is that if something falls out of alignment with my values and there is no way to recover that balance, it’s usually best to move on. My mental health and overall life quality are of utmost importance, so if the work I am doing is detrimental to that, especially after a couple of red flags, I move on.

After leaving the teaching profession, I continued to build my DJ career and also worked in marketing for a Black hair company. Unfortunately, ……I was truly disappointed “in the way that its management was mismatched with the company values.”

From that moment on I promised myself I’d only work with companies that were change based and true matches to my values.

I continued DJing and was presented with the opportunity to do marketing work with small businesses that specifically were in alignment with my values. This has been truly rewarding and also has inspired me to go forward with launching my own business.

I’m so much happier now growing The Organic Afro, Djing and helping other people grow their businesses while building my own business.
The pandemic has also helped me to see that multiple income streams are important and that it’s okay to do things my way.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well – London is an amazing place to visit! So there’d be a lot to pack into the week-long trip.

We’d start off by hitting the museums and galleries at the beginning of the week. They’re so much to absorb and their free! So the British Museum, The Natural History Museum and Tate Modern would definitely be on the cards.

They’re also a great way to see different parts of the city. London has a different village in every pocket.

We’d definitely have to go to the Jazz Night at Grow in Hackney Wick and grab dinner at Natura, my favourite pizza joint in ALL of London beforehand.

Seeing Cue gardens would be on the cards as well as Dinner at The Clove Club in Shoreditch for modern Europeann cuisine, followed by mystifying mixologist cocktails at Lounge Bohemia just down the road.

Heading into the weekend, Borough or Bohemia place market would be a great shout during the day. With a warehouse party being a superb way to let off some steam or an underground music gig with a great sound system!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?                                                                                               My husband Vlad deserves a massive shoutout for always loving and supporting me, no matter how out of this world my ideas are.

Anwin for making this Shout Out possible, Alastair, The Organic Afro Community, The BBS Squad for all the support you’ve all given in your own special ways!

Website: www.theorganicafro.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/theorganicafro

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalya-moosa-83b51456/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/theorganicafro

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theorganicafro

Image Credits
@Hannah Walker

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