Last year I with a disappointed heart I missed Curlvoltion. Valentina was still quite young and she would not stay with anyone. Even back then, Hubby worked seven days per week. So, the Afro Hair and Beauty Live show was the only natural hair event I attended last year. I’m not sure via what social media platform I found about Curlvoltion this year but squealed with delight when I saw that Taren Guy was carded to front the event! I immediately tagged my mate Chelsea because she first put me onto Taren via YouTube. I booked my ticket not knowing where I’d find childcare, as the kids are still particular who they will stay with. For weeks I couldn’t find anyone and literally about 3 days before the event Hubby and I got hold of his cousin and she agreed to babysit for us. I was so excited! I felt as though I was arranging a first date. I made a big deal about what I was going to wear, how I was going to style my hair and as the day drew closer I could barely sleep. I can hardly remember when I was last to excited about anything. I was on Instagram and Twitter so often my eyes ached. All the pics from the 2013 event looked really good. Everyone seemed so happy and excited. They were filled with a light. Curlvoltion 2014 not only lived up to my expectations it SUPERSEDED it!
It’s a community
What I realized is that Curlvolution was not just about hair or the event line up but each person who attended. There was such a warmth, joy and camaraderie there, more than I’ve every experienced at any other event I’ve been to since returning to my natural roots. It’s was about the bigger picture, the whole individual and what we could achieve. Starting with self and moving onto the wider community. Learn to LOVE, accept and improve. I’m not a huggy person but when I saw ladies (bloggers) I’ve been chatting to online for the last year, I could not help but want to make that personal connection. I met Dija, Cystral Afro, Gina, Keysha Davis, Akua AND I made new acquaintances too.
I said to a Christian friend the day after that it was like church but on a secular level. Being there I felt the sameness and love all around. We were all there to be filled with THE WORD. Each lady there had her only natural hair journey story. Each lady was at a different level of acceptance and love of her new natural self. The MC for the day was Action Jackson. He’s a motivational speak and author (also brother to Curlvoltion founder Bukky Fatusin). The first ice-breaker he set for us in the audience was to look at the lady on the left and say 3 things we loved about ourselves. I attended the event with a mate and met an acquaintance there. Sat between those two lovely ladies that I know but I still struggled to find something that I liked about myself and so did they. Why is that?
The Essence of the event
I was so wrapped hearing and extracting every morsel from the experience that I didn’t take notes. I can’t share with you verbatim what was said. Its so much and too BIG. However, here’s a essence of how it went. There were brief segments for vendors to do their ‘elevator pitch’ 45 seconds to tell us why we should come to their stand. I really liked that touch. For the customer it helped to narrow down what we wanted to purchase and who we wanted to speak to. Additionally, many of the vendors are entrepreneurs and I feel it was also a good way to hone their own skill at presenting their brand. I think Taren was blown away by the welcome that came from her UK curlfriends.
We came from far and wide. One natural sista came all the way from Australia on a 23 (0r was it 25) hours long flight! At one point she selected volunteers from the crowd to share what they didn’t like about their hair. Lack of volume seemed to be the consensus. In the end Taren suggested that we pick a feature so to speak, be it curl definition or volume. It became clear to me that some naturalistas may never have it all, but that’s OK. This was truly the start of the Learn Luv Your Hair (LLYH) London tour experience that Taren brought to us. We even had a mantra for the day and to take away with us. There were also demonstrations one of which was Curlformers that was fronted by Debbie Blake. Debbie is a professional hairdresser now a freelance consultant specialist whose ethos is ‘ to deliver the truth about haircare, and provide a unique, professional & enjoyable experience, that delivers results’.
After lunch was the panel discussion. On the panelists for the Learn Luv Your Hair Tour London were: Debbie Blake for Curlformers, Gina Knight of of Hairspiration blog, Vlogger Taren Guy, Felicia Leatherwood US celebrity natural hairstylist, and Emma Dabiri of Diaspora Diva blog. Firstly, all panellist shared a bit about their natural hair journey. Then the audience joined in the discussion. There was a question about bloggers integrity and the authenticity of reviews on products that were supplied to them. If memory serves me Gina stated that as a blogger she gets a lot of stuff but only reviews products she chooses to review on. Taren spoke on the business side of thing, that as a blogger what we do has value but assured as that her reviews are honest. There was a question and discussion on the natural hair journey as a mixed race lady. Why is that the white side to the family seem to be more accepting of the return to roots natural hair than the black. The consensus of feeling was that its rooted in black peoples’ history of slavery and immigration and the importance for us to fitting in to achieve.
My friend noted that the mixed race panellist all had white mothers. We both wondered if they had black mothers would their love and understanding of their hair have been more positive. I’d love to hear from my readers. In my own experience. I learnt a few natural ways to look after hair. I learnt how to plait and do basic cornrow styles. However, back in my day we didn’t have products that were easy on natural hair. Hence, the texture of my hair is much different now to when I was natural as child. Also my mum was (is) a neat freak and it annoyed her that the front of my hair was frizzy. So one day she dabbed Goldys straightener at the front of my hair to make those disobedient strands lie down. In the end I opted to have my hair relaxed in my mid teens as I was now’ in charge’ of my own hair and it was to thick for me to manage. Funny thing is now that I’m natural again the thing I crave most is VOLUME! I hope that the panel discussion will be made accessible on social media. The above is merely the essence of day.
It was a long intense, emotional, fun day out. I will gladly attend again. To join the conversation and see images for the event use the hashtags #Curlvolution2014; #LLYHLondon, LLYHTour and #TarenGuy on Twitter and Instagram. Tickets are already available for Curlvolution 2015 visit the website for more details. I have a feeling that 2015 will be bigger and even better. I can hardly wait! For images of what I saw on the day you can also visit my The Tiger Tales Facebook page.
If you attended Curlvolution this year, I’d love to hear from you. How was it for you? What ideas, notions, feelings did you take away with you?
I leave you now to the sound of Alicia Key’s It’s On Again, the anthem of Curlvoltion 2014!