Articles By Hotlanta 2011

Crazy hairstyles at Bronner Brothers

Creativity is on display at Bronner Brothers

Around every corner, there was something else spectacular and jaw-dropping—whether it be hair fashioned into a cube or a bare-chested man with long, flowing curls.

Welcome to Bronner Brothers.

Kinky curly hair turned into art at Jane Carter

Jane Carter Solution model expresses his curl pride

The show was founded in 1947 by Nathaniel H. Bronner Sr. and his brother, Arthur Bronner Sr. It is recognized as the largest beauty and trade show of its kind in the world.

Incredible hair creations were on display everywhere—from the models on stages to the people attending the show.

Bare-chested man captured attention of stylists

Models, clothed and unclothed, promoted hair products

One of the highlights of Sunday's show was the Grab Bag Competition. In this contest, contestants are only allowed to use products that they are given in a grab bag. Stylist must give his or her model a hairstyle that will complement her outfit. Styles on stage included braids, twists, updos and more.

Grab Bag contestants show off their creations

Grab Bag Contestants show off their creations

Natural hairstyles had a bigger presence at the show than ever before. In addition to the abundance of new products for people wearing their hair natural, there were many educational opportunities for stylists who work for natural hair.

Creativity with the razor was one of the highlights

Model expresses his style with his hair

Taliah Waajid, a natural hair expert, gathered a group of stylists to share her more than 25 years of experience living and working with natural hair. Many of the stylists in the room worked exclusively with natural hair, while others had seen their clientele of chemical-free clients rise steadily over the past five years.

Mizani showcases hairstyles

Mizani showcases extraordinary styles at its booth

"There's a lot more versatility when you wear your hair chemical-free," said Waajid, who launched her line of natural hair products in 1996. "When they came out, there was nothing for people who were chemical-free."

Hair color spanned the rainbow

Hair color spanned the shades of the rainbow

hairstyles of all shapes and textures

Models wore styles of all shapes and textures

Crowds at Bronner Brothers

Crowds poured into Bronner Brothers show, sporting their own unique styles

Cheerleader curls are everywhere

Curly ponytails were everywhere at the 2011 National Cheerleading & Dance Championships

Atlanta, GA -One of the nation's largest hair shows combined with the nation's largest cheerleading competition at the Georgia World Congress Center. At first glance, these two enormous groups didn't appear to have much in common.

But both groups—from the pint-sized cheerleaders to the veteran stylists—shared an obsession: hair.

Ponytails were flying as thousands of cheerleading and dance squads from around the country gathered in Atlanta 2011 National Cheerleading & Dance Championship. Some ponytails were straight, and some were curly.

Glitter accentuates cheerleaders' curls

Coaches take decision about whether to go curly or straight seriously

Whether a squad should go straight or curly—and squads must all wear the same style—could make or break their squads' chance at victory.

On one squad's web site, this weighty decision was to be left up to all parents and guardians. "We will let you know the results of those votes and whether or not your child’s team will/will not need to purchase cheer curls for competition. Families are responsible for ordering their own set of cheer curls."

Cheerleader curls are a team effort

It takes a team to create cheerleader curls

"It's whatever looks cleanest," Emily White, who coaches the Georgia Elite All Stars of Atlanta. "It's every important how the bow looks and how the bobby pin looks. And you have to keep the flyaways back. Curls just look sloppier."

Curlformers create perfect spiral curls

Curlformers are one of the tools of choice for curly cheerleaders

Obviously many other coaches disagreed, judging from the abundance of cheer curls sprouting from heads all over the convention center.

Different girls use different techniques to get their "cheer curls." There are those who use curling irons and those who use sponge rollers and those who use products like CurlFormers and those who use The Wand. And some use curly hairpieces. In many cases, the process of achieving those curls can take more than two hours and an abundance of hair spray.

Naturally curly girl uses curling iron to create cheer-ready curls

Naturally curly girl Rochelle uses a curling iron and a flat iron to create perfect cheer-ready curls

Rochelle, whose squad traveled from Buffalo, NY, for the competition, has naturally curly hair. But to get the ideal curls, she must curl it—when it's dry—using a 3/4-inch curling iron to reform the curls. Then she uses a flat iron to straighten the top. And then she plasters it with hairspray. How long does this take?

"A long time," says Rochelle.

Natural kinky curls

Natural hair was a rare appearance at the 2011 National Cheerleading & Dance Championship

How important are cheer curls? So important that an entire industry has emerged. There are companies that make curly hairpieces for cheerleaders, like Cheerswirls and Many cheerleading supply magazines now carry hair products for cheerleaders, including hair ties with fake hair attached. These pieces are great to use for competitions because they are easy to attach to the head and require little maintenance.

Kippan and Amelia from Asheville, N.C., explained the process of using the Wand to get cheer curls.

"I like twirl it and leave it for like 10 seconds and then it's like really curly," says Amelia. "Our team must have curls!"

Demonstrating how to use The Wand to get perfect curls

Asheville, N.C. cheerleader Amelia demonstrates on squad member Kippan how to use the Wand to get perfect curls

foam rollers create perfect curls

Cheerleader rocks her foam rollers before taking the stage

T-shirt says

Vendor's t-shirt says it all: "I love my natural hair."

Atlanta, GA - It was big news at Bronner Brothers, the convention. Bronner Brothers, the brand, unveiled its NuExpressions Naturals for Natural Hair product line—a 4-piece collection that consists of Scalp-Ale Shampoo Spray, BLT Twist Cream, Braid & Lock Oil Spray Oil and BLT Twist Cream For Braids, Locks & Twists.

Bronner Brothers unveils natural hair product

Bronner Brothers unveils new Naturals for Natural Hair line

If ever there was a doubt that natural hair is being taken seriously, the doubt was erased at Bronner Brothers in Atlanta, a 4-day convention that attracts more than 60,000 hairstylists, exhibitors, distributors and cosmetology professionals.

Big hair and white lips

Anything goes at Bronner Brothers

Over the past six decades, the convention has gained a reputation for its exciting, jaw-dropping extravagance. This year, for example, six of the most sought-after stylists are dueling in a boxing ring at the "Hair Battle Royale" for $20,000. Bronner Brothers is recognized as the largest beauty and trade show of its kind in the world—an Atlanta institution celebrating 64 years of family tradition, African-American pride, family unity and creative hair.

CurlyNikki poses with the fabulous Derrick J of

CurlyNikki poses with the fabulous Derrick J of "Housewives of Atlanta" fame

In past years, much of the focus was on highlighting ways to relax natural texture rather than enhance it. But this year, many of the exhibitors showcased products for natural hair. They included smaller boutique brands such as Jane Carter Solution, Shea Moisture and Black Onyx World. But brands including Design Essentials, Softsheen-Carson, Mizani and Bronner Brothers also showed off their natural hair offerings.

Mizani True Textures products for natural hair were among those spotlighted by the L'Oreal professional brand

Mizani True Textures products for natural hair were among those spotlighted by the L'Oreal professional brand

An entire series of classes at the show is focused on natural hair techniques—classes like "Dynamic Hair," "The Art of Natural Hair," "Natural Reaction" and "Innovative Styling for Natural and Locked Hair." "All Curls Are Not Created Equal," taught by natural hair guru Taliah Waajid, was designed to teach stylists how to work with clients who are free from chemicals and those who want to transition their hair to its natural curl pattern.

Natural hair companies showcased products at Bronner Brothers

Black Onyx World was among the natural haircare companies showing their products at Bronner Brothers

"When you leave this workshop, you will have everything you need to service all curly, wavy, kinky and coily textures of natural hair."

Bronner Brothers had plenty of kinky curly hair in the crowd

Natural hair styles were all over at Bronner Brothers, including this naturally curly woman

Atlanta, GA - "I am going natural because I want healthier hair. My hair wants to be curly and I want to set it free."

That was how Michele Seay ended up on a stage, surrounded by dozens of women who wanted to be a part of her Big Chop. More than two years after her last relaxer, she was ready to take the final leap.

Seay was in good hands, with texture specialist Key Martin in charge. Martin, who works at Atlanta's Beautiful Dollhouse Salon, started off by "letting her hair talk to me." She felt her hair, looking for the demarcation line between the relaxed hair and the new growth, feeling the different textures.

Then she took out her shears—the point of no return. The emotional moment brought tears from some in the audience, and the first cut brought a loud gasp and cheer as everyone showed their support. Flashbulbs went off in all directions as the crowd captured the moment.

Seay held the strands in her hand, letting them drop to her lap. Throughout the next hour, she cut off the relaxed hair and shaping the new growth. She wanted a Halle Berry look that she could wear curly or spiky.

Before she even saw her new look, Seay declared "I already love it."

Atlanta, GA—When CurlyNikki hosts a meetup, watch out!

Nikki Walton—and Baby Gia—spent a night surrounded by her hundreds of readers, who came from all over for the chance to meet the blogger and meet others with curls and kinks.

Curly and kinky hair was everywhere

Nikki, Gia and Jessica McGuinty of Jessicurl at the meetup

The event at the Livingston Bar at the Georgian Terrace Hotel went well into the night as the women talked hair, feasted on cupcakes and talked with Walton. One of the bar managers pulled us aside midway through, begging us to host another event because "I have never seen such a beautiful crowd of women."

NaturalChica rocks her natural kinks

Mae, aka NaturalChica, and another beautiful curly enjoy the CurlyNikki meetup

Walton was in town from Raleigh, N.C., to attend Bronner Brothers. It was a perfect chance to meet many women she has gotten to know on her blog.

Kinky hair was on display in Atlanta

Natural Selection blogger Cassidy Blackwell's hair was a big hit at the meetup group

curly kinky women arrive at meetup

A large group arrives at the CurlyNikki meetup

One woman traveled from Maryland with her teenage daughter for the chance to meet Walton. It was a great chance for the teenager to see the beauty and confidence that come with celebrating natural texture.

CurlyNikki and other natural women

CurlyNikki and Gia have their picture taken with some readers

Curly, kinky women crowd the LIvingston Bar

It was standing room only as hundreds of people gathered at the Livingston Bar

After the event, Walton got an email from attendees that summed up the event. "I just wanted to email you and tell you THANK YOU SO MUCH for hosting the meetup in Atlanta tonight! The turnout was amazing! There were so many BEAUTIFUL heads of natural hair in one place—it was almost a little overwhelming. Everywhere I turned I was like, "I love her hair, and her hair, and her hair... oooo, and her hair, too!!"

Amazing heads of curly, kinky and super kinky hair

Women stayed throughout the night to talk to Nikki and meet and appreciate the other natural women

kinky curly, coily, curly heads were everwhere

Arriving at the Livingston Bar for a night of curl love.

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