My goals for this program are to encourage the collaborative efforts of Black female entrepreneurs and inspire people of color to no longer have a 'minority' mentality..."
Analise Harris, Curls On The Block founder

Analise Harris, a middle and high school special education teacher in Denver, Colorado, and founder of the Curls On The Block curriculum, will be coordinating The Evolution of Natural Hair for International Natural Hair Meetup Day.

This annual holiday will consist of a variety of important historical figures highlighted such as Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Madame CJ Walker, the Haitian Rebellion, Robert Smalls, Black Panther Party for Self Defense standing at the capitol, Janelle Monae, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Black Lives Matter and many more.

For the first time, Harris is partnering with Colorado Urban Naturals to include a competition of local black owned fashion boutiques and salons to focus on the needs of a naturalista. It will be comprised of five scenes to depict how people of color have overcome obstacles from rebellions, at the workplace and amongst friends. Models will rock their braids, locs, wash and go, wraps and accessories to display the styles during various eras in history.

The beginning

Harris, who identifies as a Black Puerto Rican naturalista, has grown to embrace her big curly hair from an early age. After a horrible perm experience, she was led to an impactful haircut and eventually, a journey of self-acceptance and purpose. Now, she has Curls On The Block to share her journey with other naturals.

“Curls on the Block blossomed from my Master’s capstone project," Analise says. "Creating a curriculum to empower young girls, I also realized that I had to specifically target girls who identified as Black or Latina. As a special education teacher of color, I witnessed the way young Black students were often targeted or misunderstood in the education system. I saw the detrimental impact that bias, low self-esteem, and lack of resources have on young Black kids. I had an opportunity to create after school events, after my third year of teaching, where parents and community members could participate in the discussions with young girls. Curls On The Block is now a curriculum available for elementary, middle, and high school girls.”

The mission

“The mission of Curls on the Block is to attract young women of all curls and color to embrace, explore, and empower their curls," says Analsie. The first step toward truly accepting everything you are is by embracing what you were born with. Then you can begin to identify and explore your own needs and find others with similar journeys. This creates pride--you'll share your story when you find out that you are not alone in order to empower others to continue their journey of embracing themselves.”

The impact

“My goals for this program are to encourage the collaborative efforts of Black female entrepreneurs, inspire people of color to no longer have a 'minority' mentality, to embrace their physical features at an earlier age, be a resource of information, access and support for the natural hair movement.”

Curls On The Block has had a great impact on many students the program has reached. Apart from the program, Harris makes it point to ask her students two vital questions: “What is the impact of social media on your definition of beauty and what can you do to alter the definition?”