Thanks to Design Essentials, I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans, Louisiana for the 20th annual Essence Music Festival! I knew #teamnatural would be in attendance in a diverse and beautiful way, but I wanted to see how the festival’s activities would incorporate natural hair into its programming. Essence magazine is a staple in many Black American homes for all things lifestyle and beauty, so here are 10 times #teamnatural was represented at Essence Fest.
Wal-Mart’s Natural Hair Offerings
As one of Essence Fest’s partners, Walmart had a huge presence during the festival. Besides their own stage for performances, they also had a display of of many of your favorite brands like U R Curly, Cantu, Giovanni, SheaMoisture, and Dark & Lovely. “We want to build awareness that natural and curl-friendly products are available in Walmart and get feedback from festival goers,” said Associate Marketing Manager Dawn Norvell.
My Black Is Beautiful’s Makeovers
Another major partner of Essence Fest, MBIB hosted a makeover station, and it was always packed! From hair to makeup, they pampered attendees. The saying may say beauty is only skin deep, but when you know you look good, you definitely feel good! A little confidence never hurt, right?
Dana Blair’s Bald Head
Never have I ever considered shaving my head clean until I saw Essence Fest correspondent Dana Blair walking around the convention center. She killed it. Every day, every evening, every outfit.
Lianne La Havas’ Holy Grail Product
Fan girl moment! If you don’t listen to British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas’ soulful tunes, correct that immediately! She hung out in the press room after her Essence Fest performance and I asked her about maintaining her curly hair on tour. One word -- Skimdo. Her friend formulated a curl defining cream named Skimdo, and Lianne revealed that it gives her shiny, 7-day hair every time.
Another fan girl moment! NOLA born and bred, Grammy nominated singer Ledisi was the special guest at Design Essential’s Big Easy VIP Style Lounge. I’ve seen her waist-length locs whip back and forth during previous performances, but for this event, she opted for chunky bantu knots and a vintage scarf for a simple yet retro look. I asked her what she’d tell her younger self: “It’s okay. Just like that -- don’t worry about all the other stuff. Just have fun!”
Essence.com’s New Hair Section
It’s great to see mainstream publications welcome online communities and contribute to the wealth of info for natural hair care. NaturallyCurly.com is almost 16 years old, during a time when you’d be hard pressed to get a steady stream of information and inspiration for curls, coils, and waves. Essence.com boasts a new hair section, complete with natural hair tips from Cipriana Quann and MahoganyCurls. Disappointed that I missed the panels, but I loved seeing bloggers & vloggers take center stage.
Shea Moisture’s Everything
Pop-up shops, new product launches, BOGO sales -- I’m convinced SheaMoisture can do no wrong. I stocked up on the Superfruit Complex products and stalked Instagram for pictures of the new Jamaican Black Castor Oil line.
Eden BodyWorks’ #CelebrateMyBeauty Tour
Eden BodyWorks is 10 years old! To celebrate, they want to pamper US! NaturallyCurly.com is the official media sponsor of their #CelebrateMyBeauty tour, and the kick-off event was in New Orleans. Jasmine Lawrence was 13 when she started the company, and now the brand is bigger and better than ever. She unveiled four new products in the Coconut Shea line, and we’re excited to try them all!
Design Essentials’ Big Easy Festivities
I spent the weekend with the folks at Design Essentials and enjoyed their gifting stations and day parties. Any place where you can get your sip on and get a custom gift bag of products tailored to your specific hair concerns is alright with me. Bonus: their Naturals Honey Curlforming Custard was the only product in my stash that didn’t have glycerin so high up in the ingredients. My hair lasted through 4 days of NOLA humidity with no problems.
I felt the power of The Purple One from all the way in the Superdome press room. His afro, it glistened in the spotlight and beckoned every man, woman, and child to sing along to his extensive discography. Who can make a Superdome feel like an intimate gathering and a party at the same time?! He can.