Though the nostalgia train has been well ridden these last few years, there's no arguing with the impact of the '90s. It was the decade that gave us era-defining (though devastatingly short-lived) girl groups like Mis-Teeq and Cleopatra. We had Desmond's and The Real McCoy or could tune in to Sister, Sister and Kenan & Kel in the States. We wore our hair in box braids and finger waves, dressed in colour-blocked clothes accessorised with plastic bead necklaces, butterfly clips and rogue sparkly things. Smirking at the playful naivety of those days? Me too.
Many black British women will look back fondly on the '90s. It's the period of time I can't help but think of when someone mentions 'black girl magic', even in its more modern definition. There was an energy and joyfulness that blossomed as we came of age surrounded by a (slowly) growing social celebration of our cultural heritage. There was an innocence and freedom that, yes, my still nostalgic heart longs for now as a black British twentysomething.
Though our histories have been minimally documented, with black British women largely erased from the archives altogether, buried in the nooks and crannies of the internet are photos that harness the energy I remember. Click through to cast your mind back to the other side of the millennium. Here are some brilliant photos that capture the spirit of black British girlhood in the '90s – hot combs, rollerblades and a lot of dancing in the street.