Mena Fombo




Mena Fombo describes herself as a British Nigerian Bristolian through and through! She is a purposeful coach, facilitator, motivational speaker, consultant and activist. One of Bristol's biggest influencers and 'doer's' on issues of equality, representation and education, Mena is the driving force behind the new international campaign “No. You Cannot Touch My Hair” which has attracted contributions from women across the UK and around the world - and is the topic of her much anticipated TEDx talk - as part of our 'Disruptive Bodies' theme.

The goal… for Black women (and men) everywhere to be able to walk down the street, enter the work place, go out socially, without the burden of strangers alike trying to grab a braid, experience touching a natural (afro) or tugging at a weave and uttering the words “can you feel this?”.

Through her own personal story and using the hair-raising experiences of other women and girls, Mena’s TEDxBristol talk is set to be a witty, yet compelling and sometimes dark exploration of the objectification of black women. It's an issue she has spent a life-time experiencing and exploring, with both a political and creative lens. As a confident, black woman, who has overcome a lifetime of adversity and personal experiences of injustice, she has carved out a role for herself as a creative activist, passionate about social change, and has works tirelessly to support the political, social and economic equality of black people and women.

Mena says: “Everyone is invited to join this social justice train, without a shared sense of cultural values nothing will improve the everyday experiences of racism and sexism for people like me. My contribution is to influence where I can step by step, hour by hour and day by day. Step one for this project is for people to stop touching black hair – without invitation or permission!” TEDxBristol can't wait to hear more from one of Bristol's homegrown and most positive and daring disruptors.

I have a voice. There was a time in my life when I was silenced, I wasn’t able to speak up, or fight against the injustice around me, but that was then and this is now – I intend on being heard, and I invite you to stand up and be heard with me.