Saturday’s inaugural CurlyCon LA was a warm, bubbly, and flowery oasis. On the blush-pink and pastel-blue stages, curly hair experts delved deep on a range of topics– from scalp care to hair discrimination– in front of the flower crown-adorned attendees. This vendor-filled gathering was a physical manifestation of Ava Pearl’s digital community, CurlyCulture.
Pearl’s intention for both the digital and physical spaces is to create opportunities for connection and support across multicultural communities. That said, a “girl’s girl” vibe was certainly palpable throughout the day. Guests complimented one another on a range of hairstyles: from protective and frohawks, to color-treated coils, and wash n gos.
Speaking of stand-out ‘dos, a live big chop demonstration, by curl specialist Christin Brown, took place under the outdoor canopy. Simultaneously, a panel of women beside her spoke to the self-discovery they found after parting with their tresses.
Later on, a phenomenal panel– moderated by model and actress Eva Marcille– discussed the hair microaggressions Black women face in Hollywood. Actors and performers Anjelika Washington, Chloe Arnold, Chelsea Tavares, and Daisha Graf spoke about their experiences with navigating these hostile environments. They also touched on having to show up “hair ready” to set because there are seldom textured hair-equipped hair stylists. Washington affirmed that the industry “needs to get on board, because we’re not going anywhere.”
On the topic of progress, audience members felt seen by content creator Fola Amudipe during the texturism conversation, moderated by dancer Ashley Everett. Amudipe spoke to the layered challenges of texturism, featurism, and the lack of representation even within curl communities. She encouraged the audience to interrogate where motives to manipulate our natural curl patterns and textures lie. She then connected it back to the overarching conversation about detaching from eurocentric beauty standards.
As a whole, CurlyCon was certainly a reminder of the need for more spaces like this. What stood out most from the event overall was how refreshing the transparency felt. As Everett told ESSENCE post-panel, CurlyCon was a reminder that, “finding yourself, and believing that your true authentic self is enough,” she says. Part of this includes, “learning to prioritize my hair care in a way that feels more like self-love rather than a chore.”