CurlFest Atlanta 2019

Close your eyes. Imagine a space where black and brown individuals can collectively come together and be their most authentic and true selves. A space where you can flaunt your style and wear your hair in whatever state it’s in, where kinks, curls, and coils are embraced and not shunned. You get to dance to Beyonce’s “Before I Let Go”, then turn around and practice getting Meg’s knees of vibranium to “Freak Nasty”. If this all sounds appealing to you, then you should’ve been at Atlanta’s first CurlFest on Saturday, September 21st, 2019. CurlFest is a festival full of vendors, food trucks, free hair care products, music, activities, and so much more. It originated in New York, but has recently been brought to our vibrant and beloved city of Atlanta. Suave Professionals, Shine ’n Jam, Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils, PuffCuff, and Creme of Nature were just a few of the sponsors at CurlFest, selling and giving away products, hair tutorials, and merchandise. Atlanta locals and college students all came together and bonded over the diversity in each other’s outfits and hairstyles. No matter their age, appearance, economic status, sexuality,  or background, black men and women all over Atlanta came together and bonded over their love for their hair. 

While at CurlFest, I couldn’t help but take pictures of all the beauty surrounding me. This mother, Jasmin Kelly (@jasminsfootprints on Instagram) brought her daughter to the festival rocking matching outfits. I remember struggling to love my natural hair growing up, so seeing her daughter confidently wearing her natural puffs absolutely warmed my heart. “It’s very important to me to show our children that natural hair is beautiful no matter the curl, coil, or kink it’s in,” said Kelly. “I would say to all the black girls out there nervous about wearing their natural hair to take that leap and embrace your true beauty. Our hair is an amazing thing, don’t think that it’s not beautiful.” She also said that her favorite products to use are Cream of Nature, African Pride, and Alikay Natural. 

I also got the privilege to meet and interview Simi Muhumuza, social media influencer, strategist and writer. She is one of my inspirations because she uses her platform to encourage self-love and be a positive influence to all 53,000 of her followers (@simimoonlight on Instagram and Twitter). “I came to CurlFest because I wanted to experience all the beautiful people, hairstyles, and vendors,” said Muhumuza. The digital creator is originally from Philadelphia, but now resides in Atlanta for work. I asked her for some words of encouragement for all my Spelman and Clark sisters, and she responded:  “Don’t let anyone dictate how you view yourself. The only opinion that matters is your own. You’re allowed to change your opinion about yourself as long as it’s positive.”

 

CurlFest was one of the best experiences thus far in 2019, and I encourage everybody to go and experience it as well next year. As black women, we literally defy the laws of gravity with our hair. It was so refreshing to see our culture celebrated in a world that tries to destroy it.