The original version of this article was published in The Toledo Natural Hair Examiner.
Natural Hair Events are what bridges the gap between those who are seeking information and products for natural hair and those who create the literature and products. In the past, when someone was going natural, the best resource available was a book that could be found in libraries around the nation. Today, one can find information on going natural from books in the libraries and stores, to the numerous online resources made readily available to educate and encourage natural newbies. Then there are events that occur, often on a regular basis, to enhance the natural hair journey. There are a few types of events that take place in the Natural Hair Community:
These are gatherings that can take place in one’s home, at a coffee shop or a meeting room within a banquet hall. No matter the location, a meetup is often a small to midsized gathering 5-25 people, who come together to discuss the joys and triumphs of going natural, being natural and staying natural. The format of these meetups can be an open forum, a planned workshop or fun fellowship with eating and laughing while discussing hair issues, styles and maintenance. Sometimes these meetups are created by a group of people, but it is common for one person to organize these events since many cities are still joining in the natural hair parade.
Swaps are often small gatherings and are sometimes combined with meetups for the sole purpose of getting together to discuss products used that didn’t work well for one hair type that may work well on others, and trading them. This type of event was created when women saw it unnecessary to throw out unused portions of hair and skin products they were no longer using. Watching money being thrown in the trash was painstaking and sharing the unused product with someone else who would like to try it, was a greener way of doing things.
Product swaps are also a way of trying something before you buy it. Some people test the products right in the midst of the swap/meetup, to see if it would be something that they may want to invest in. From homemade products to pricey items, women can spend $150 on products in one month alone.
Natural Hair Shows are most often held in a hall, theatre or even a church multipurpose room. Natural Hair Shows are meant to showcase innovative styles that can be worn on natural textures and locs, by stylists that come from near and far. These shows are often blended with a competition that yields a grand prize for the winning stylist and model. This is a way to demonstrate the vast creative options without having to chemically alter the hair. Natural Hair Shows are often combined with Expos.
Expos are a often held in convention centers and large halls which can accommodate a high volume of foot traffic and easily display a number of vendor tables. Expos are a place where people who have attended meetups and swaps, can go to shop, learn, and enjoy all things natural. Buying from authors and learning from hair care experts are just a couple of ways one can participate in an Expo. Classes and workshops that may offer hands on training, are often included in Expo fees. Performances from vocalists, poets and dancers round out the activities at Expos around the world. The vendors, instructors and performers are often those who also have chemical free hair and serve as real, live examples of the beauty natural hair beholds.
Toledo, Ohio Events, Past & Present
In Toledo, Meetups were started in the earlier part of this Millenium with only 2-10 people at a time. Each year, and each gathering had different guests. Since Natural Hair for some is a fad, it is common to not see the same people at ongoing meetups. However, for those who remain in the natural hair community, meetups, swaps, shows and expos are a way to continue to encourage and inspire those on the journey in spite of the ever changing hair trends.
This June, Thekitchensalon.com, a Toledo Based Website for Natural Hair Care, sponsored a Meetup with nearly 80 attendees. The forthcoming events are:
A Natural “Family of Hair” (Family Affair) Meetup
July 22, 2011
Wildwood Metropark Whitetail Shelter
5100 W. Central Ave.
Toledo, OH 43615
POTLUCK~PRODUCT SWAP~PHOTO SHOOT
Men, Women and Children are welcome.
The Kiddie Salon Natural Hair Meetup
Fros, Friends and Fun
The Northwest Ohio Natural Hair & Beauty Expo
October 15, 2011
The Erie Street Market~Fountain Room
237 S. Erie Street Toledo, Oh 43604