Seeing one of the most iconic artist of our day, rock a perfectly coiffed afro on the July 4th at the Superdome as he hypnotized the crowd with his legendary music, was in a sense was the perfect representation of 20 years of the Essence festival. A long time fan, it was the first time seeing this ground breaking artist perform live. Bucket list...check!
"We are not having our conversation on THAT stage!?" was my immediate thought when Essence's Senior Integrated Marketing Manager, Rondell Holder pointed to the humongous stage where I would be having my conversation with Hair/Beauty Editor, Deena Campbell on the new hair channel, as well as discussing hair tips on preserving your hairline. After the initial shock of where we would be speaking wore off, I had a blast speaking to women of all hair types; natural, transitioning, relaxed or those wearing weaves, reiterating the uniqueness of finding a plethora of care tips no matter what stage you are in. Speaking through personal experience it was great to share my own journey and use my past failures to help others create a successful regimen.
In the Empowerment Beauty of Confidence panel, Cynthia Bailey, Kim Kimble, Chenoa Maxwell, Tomiko Frasier Hines, Soledad O’Brien and Wendy Raquel Robinson addressed the backlash on Blue Ivy's hair as social media declared the state of her hair as "unkempt". I loved how the ladies focused on the core of the issue breaking down the key components of criticizing a child's hair in its natural form comes from a place of "ignorance" and unnecessary rhetoric, perpetuating the old stereotype that natural hair has to look a certain way to be seen as groomed, healthy or beautiful. Wendy Raquel Robinson's sentiments resonated well with my own; "It’s okay to express yourself however you feel you want to express yourself. But, I have a huge problem when children are criticized for their hair. It’s really just ignorance. We need to show by example and live out loud. Be proud and educate by showing others what we need to do."