On Sunday, November 1, 2015, professionals, leaders, veterans, aspirers, enthusiasts of the natural hair industry came together in Baltimore for what I believe will historically be the first natural hair industry convention! It was AWE-filled and I spent 9 hours and everyday since feeling very inspired. Beauts, we DO have an industry that is alive and the goal now is to sustain and grow this industry into its full potential. This is not a passing fad.
From Tulani Kinard’s powerful keynote speech to the blogger/vlogger classes to the speed business connect to the food… NHIC was everything!
I had the pleasure of meeting Tanya Wright at breakfast and immediately decided that I had to attend her class. Her class was titled “I found God in my hair”. What does that title make you think of? Apparently, she has a book with that same title.
This book contains 98 principles that Tanya discovered while on her journey of taking control of her hair. It is really interesting to me to hear the different reasons people have for going back to natural. Whatever the reasons, however, it appears that there is a common theme of control and health awareness. I got a copy of the book and when I eventually read it, I will do a book review. Tanya also just launched a hair product line called Hairiette. I will be going to the first screening of her new web series titled ‘Hairiette of Harlem’ as well. Talk about multifaceted.
As much as I would like to give you a play-by-play of how it all went down, the truth is no words on ‘paper’ can do the experience justice. The speed business connect gave me the opportunity to meet individuals that have been styling hair for over 30 years, women that are stakeholders in the industry, product formulators, and much more. I met a styling veteran who is giving back to the community by organizing workshops and programs that educate and encourage young girls to not only embrace their hair and themselves but also teaches them hair skills. How cool is that?!
I shall now leave you with a few quotes from Tulani Kinard’s keynote speech that hit me in special places.
“Many us moved from home to salon”
“We needed an industry, most importantly, we needed education” (we still need education – for ourselves and for others. Teach! Teach!! Teach!!!)
“…we have a full blown industry!”
“This is for us, created by us”
” We. Did. This!”
“Own where you are”
“Blogging… it’s a career” (I heard things from people and recently saw how much a hair blogger made from he blog in the past year. Heck, look at Linda Ikeji)
“You have to have the ability to ask for what you want”
“Tell them what happened here”
This was indeed an experience that set off some sparks in my mind. There is a lot to be said about how we have taken what was practically frowned upon and reclaimed it. Not only have we reclaimed it but we have recognized the importance of running the industry. All the local beauty stores I patronize are run by Asians. Of course, anybody can do whatever they want but how can a person who doesn’t use or understand products help you when you come into the store, unsure what product will be best for you. Most of the experiences that I heard also reiterated the health aspect of this natural hair journey. From going back to natural after major health scares to taking a step back and becoming cognizant of all the things that were going into one’s body, both by way of ingestion and topical application.
That said, I’m interested, why did you go back to natural?