L TO R: DESHONICA KERRIE OF DESIGN ESSENTIALS, EVELYN OF NATURALLYCURLY, KIKI OF MAHOGANYKNOTS, JESS OF MAHOGANYCURLS, AND TASHA SIMONE OF HOT 107.7
As NaturallyCurly.com's social media manager, I spend a lot of time "behind the screens." I'm glued to my laptop or iPhone, making sure we connect with heads of curls, coils, and waves around the world. And let me tell you -- it's a special moment when I finally get the chance to meet these Internet friends in real life.
Needless to say, I was pumped to fly from Texas to Alabama for the Natural Hair & Health Expo by Visions Beauty Distributors! Our friends at Design Essentials invited me to speak at Curls & Conversations, one of the panels during the expo. I would join - get this - MahoganyCurls and MahoganyKnots to chat about all things natural hair. I've watched their YouTube videos for years! Click through my slideshow to see more of my trip!
Deshonica Kerrie is a global educator for Design Essentials. She was also on the Design Essentials Curls and Conversations panel, and she provided valuable information.
"I find that our views are under the same umbrella, we just come from a chemist or science point of view. What I love is that we're trying to merge them together. Merging the decisions about what we should do with our natural hair."
Did you stop visiting your stylist once you big chopped? Deshonica thinks it's okay to do your research before trusting someone with your curls and coils.
"I always say you should interview your hairstylist. Someone that specializes in healthy hair. Make sure that your stylist is okay with education. Does she educate herself, does she do continuing education, follow natural hair trends, styles, or lifestyles?"
PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIONS BEAUTY
Kiki aka MahoganyKnots cracks me up! Her hair tutorials, mommy moments - she's effortlessly funny! We bonded over both being #TeamCrayolaHairColor:
"Think of Big Daddy Kane and a little Kid N' Play! I've been a slave to my hair for a long time and I finally decided to express myself via my hair and not care because it's hair and it will grow back! I added purple on top, and then for the hair show, I had my cousin cut some designs on the side you know. I like a little hair artistry."
You can find throwback MahoganyCurls videos on the NaturallyCurly Youtube channel -- back when she was rocking a TWA! She's got a lot of love for NaturallyCurly and the feeling is mutual! She was nice enough to tag along with the event organizers to pick me up from the airport. "I know how good it is to see a familiar face!" IF SHE AINT THE SWEETEST THING...I practically wept on the inside.
Relationships & #naturalhair!
Besides Curls and Conversations, Jess participated in the relationship panel with actor Lamman Rucker (Meet The Browns), author/blogger Demetria Lucas, and actress Tanya Wright (True Blood, Orange Is The New Black). How did your significant other react to your decision to rock your natural texture? Thousands of audience members tuned in to hear the conversation from a man and women's perspective. The consensus? People respond positively to self-confidence.
"Part of what's sexy is that they're accepting themselves. 'This is me. Love me, or leave me alone.' Take good care of yourself and love the skin you're in." - Lamman Rucker.
"We're also talking about people's relationship with themselves. Hair can be an entry point. When I nurture my hair, I am in fact nurturing myself." - Tanya Wright
I had a chance to talk with actress Tanya Wright more about her upcoming web series HAIRiette of Harlem. It's an interactive web-series -- viewers will determine the fate of the characters and guide the storyline!
"I was busy with two TV shows, a book, and directing a film. I was so busy, I thought 'If I could just get control of my hair maybe I can get control of my life.' That's where the inspiration for HAIRiette in Harlem comes from."
Episode one will be shot once the HAIRiette in Harlem fundraising campaign is over on April 10. Tanya's also developing a line of shea butter and olive oil-based hair products! Her goal is to create a holistic space for women with textured hair.
"I want to speak to the total needs of multicultural women - not just what they put on their hair, but what's going on the inside."
I had an amazing time at the Natural Hair & Health Expo! I encourage all of you to find events in your area and make real life connections with your fellow naturalistas. Did you attend the expo? Let me know how you enjoyed it!