My pal La’Shara Long and I at the Magic City Meetup
Is the current love for natural hair a movement or just a fad? That’s a question that many people, including yours truly, have been asking lately.
Saturday afternoon I attended the Magic City Natural Hair Meetup, a gathering of hundreds of naturalistas from the Birmingham and Atlanta area. While cruising the streets of downtown Birmingham in search for a parking space I couldn’t help but smile as I saw lines of natural hair beauties walking toward the convention center where the event was held.
The event featured vendors selling handmade jewelry and natural cosmetics, a hilarious comedian who goes by the name FunnyMaine, music, giveaways, and a panel discussion with natural hair stylists. But, honestly, I didn’t attend the event for any of those reasons.
I went in part because I was eager to mix and mingle with my fellow naturalistas. It’s strange that even though I’ve been natural for nearly a decade I didn’t start to feel a part of the natural hair community until recently.
I attended the event with one of the ladies I met through the group Birmingham Natural Beauties, which I’ve written about before. Just the week before she, some other gals from the group, and I went to an art party together. The beauty of the natural hair community is not just our cute coils and curls. The beauty of this is that while we naturalistas may initially come together because of our hair we eventually begin to form genuine friendships as we find we have even more in common.
Another thing that drew me to the event was the fact that Keisa Sharpe was the keynote speaker. Sharpe, also known as The Natural Hair Diva, has been doing great things for Birmingham’s natural hair community by organizing meetups and panel discussions and through her website, for which I’ve had the opportunity to write. She was even featured in Jet magazine earlier this year.
Sharpe’s talk was quite inspiring and I was particularly struck by a comment she made about the natural hair movement being so much bigger than our big hair. And she’s so right. Deciding to wear my hair in its naturally curly state, despite the fact that nearly everyone in my life insisted that to look my best I had to have straight hair, was about more than changing my hairstyle. As I was embracing my curls I was also embracing my quirks.
“Natural hair is not about how we look,” Sharpe said. “It’s about accepting who we are.”