Hair is a centerpiece of Black culture and a symbol of identity, of resistance, creative expression, and freedom; It’s woven deep into Black culture and rooted in the history of America. The World Natural Hair Show, brought to life by Natural Hair Care Stylist Taliah Waajid, returned to downtown Atlanta Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23 at the Georgia International Convention Center.

What is the World National Hair Show?

Sponsored by Walmart, the World Natural Hair Show is a cultural movement that continues to positively change society’s views of Black beauty, cultures, and lifestyle.

This year’s show focused on the concepts of self-love, confidence and community through educational workshops and panels, awards ceremonies, over 250 vendors and leaders within multicultural beauty, live music and entertainment, and meaningful conversations that uplifted and encouraged the community.

Since its first show, the event has sparked a cultural movement that has had positive ripple effects across society. The leading lifestyle event has helped redefine antiquated notions of mainstream beauty – instead celebrating non-conforming freedom, and progressive expressions of natural hair and beauty.

The themes embody the event’s larger mission and ethos. Every spring, the Natural Hair Show brings together beauty businesses and professionals, industry leaders, retail buyers, distributors and the consumers that support brands to strengthen the natural hair care industry and community.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to attend various events, workshops, panels, social engagement, exhibitioners, campaigns, and awards.

Mixed Medium artist Lauren Lacey (left) posing with her acrylic paintings with denim accents. Photos by Isaiah Singleton/The Atlanta Voice

What does Natural Hair mean to you?

The Atlanta Voice asked several people during the Natural Hair Show what their natural hair means to them.

Ava Neal, who attended the show representing Waajid’s brand, said she feels most empowered when her hair is “out, big, and untamable.”

Natural hair to Neal means strength and power.

“For me, it (natural hair) makes me feel most myself. It means Blackness, strength, deity, Goddess, God, non-ether (African hair), spirituality, energy, and beauty,” she said.

Neal also said her entire purpose in life right now is to help the Black community love and embrace their natural hair. She creates “avant garde” hairstyles to “show the world how beautiful, powerful, and how strong it is and how far you can take it when it comes to styling and creative styling.”

One of the Natural Hair Show Speakers Ebony Payno said she has been coming to the event for the last four years.

“This year, I was honored to be one of the speakers, so for me this show doesn’t only celebrate us as Black people and our culture, but also liberation,” she said. “All the things we are held down with day-to-day, it just feels so liberating to be free, to be who you are, to express yourself in its all-natural states. It’s amazing to see all the beauty walking by that I’m seeing, all the different styles, hair textures, hair types, and just flavors of all kinds, it just brings me so much joy.”

Natural hair, she said, means being authentically you.

“Natural hair to me means authenticity and being free to be who you are inside and out, and not being ashamed of it either. You’re celebrating who we are as a people, so do it unapologetically,” she said.

Arnetta Lumzy, who was getting her hair done at one of the stations, said natural hair to her means culture.

“It’s the hair you’re born with and what we teach our children who we are and where we’re from. Your hair tells more about you than where you come from,” Lumzy said. “Me being born in Chicago, it’s not going to say, ‘my hair is going to curl this way or that way’, whether my hair is straight in the front and curly in the back that may say I have more European in me in certain aspects of it and African in the back of me, so it’s really about culture to me.”

Event attendees Dariise George and D’Kira Daniels said the meaning of natural hair to them is both power and a token of beauty.

“Natural hair is power and heritage. When I wear my natural hair, I feel powerful and I feel like I’m representing my ancestors and I feel like I’m walking in their power along with my own,” George said.

“If you wear your natural hair, you are the person in the room with the utmost beauty. The Natural Hair Show is to bring Black people together and celebrate us as a community,” Daniels said.

George said she has been attending the Natural Hair Show for years and is proud to keep coming back.

The importance of coming to the Natural Hair Show, George said, is to ensure Black is beautiful.

“I think it helps to re-instill our culture into our youth as well as helping us to build a community together, as well as to make sure we remember that natural hair is beautiful and that we as Black people are beautiful.”

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