All things afrolicious, from African hair scarves to organic beauty products, filled the room as hundreds of Black women came out the Los Angeles Convention Center to celebrate the fourth annual Afrolicious Hair Expo on Sunday, Nov. 8.
Hosted by Kim Coles, the expo incorporated health, beauty, mind, body and soul. With nearly 50 vendors, Black women throughout southern California came out to see which companies are out there making products for women of color. The expo wasn’t only about the products, but also about celebrating the beauty of Black hair and all things that make Black women unique.
“I wanted to incorporate music, fashion, hair and health,” said Rhonda Ray, founder of the Afrolicious Hair Expo. “I just wanted to bring all of the natural sisters in Los Angeles and Southern California together to celebrate their natural cells, their natural hair and their natural everything.”
Along with the various vendors, the expo also incorporated education of natural haircare. During the expo there was a panel, which included singer Goapele and actress Kim Coles. The panel also included YouTubers, models and entrepreneurs who all rock their natural hair. Each woman had a different hair texture along with a different journey, which is something that Ray wanted to showcase to show that Black women are unique in our different textures, yet still all connected.
“This event was fun, enlightening and empowering. I was glad to be a part of this because today is about loving yourself and loving on other people,” said Kim Coles. “There was so much connection and sisterhood. We as women hear stories about tearing each other down and today is about lifting each other up.”
The expo also featured a pageant for young girls who are natural. This was Ray’s second year incorporating the pageant and she says that it has become the most popular aspect. Many of the panelists spoke on how as little girls they always felt like the hair that grew out of their hair was different and that they needed to change it to look like the girls on television. Ray started the pageant for the young girls with natural hair to connect with each other and to also show them that they should be confident and proud that their hair is different.
“The little kids doing the pageant was super great because now all of these little girls with natural hair see all these grown women with hair that they can relate to,” said Lawrence Ray Parker II, the CEO and founder of Lawrence Ray Concepts, a natural organic line of hair products. “It helps to change that perpetuation of negative feelings towards natural hair because these girls don’t get any of that. They just see oh, my mom has beautiful natural hair and I have beautiful natural hair and it’s just a beautiful thing.”
The event not only brought together businesses in southern California, but vendors from northern California also came out to network and connect with the natural hair movement in Los Angeles.
“It was a really good decision to come. LA is opening up as a really good market for natural hair and we know that there is a need for natural hair products,” said Althea Cummings, co-owner of Curlee Natural Haircare Products, located in Oakland. “This was awesome for our company. We got a lot of great sells and we’ve created a whole new base of clients here.”
The event lasted all day, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Afrolicious Hair Expo has continues to grow and receive more attention every year and Ray’s goal is for the expo to fill the entire bottom floor of the Convention Center. For more information on how you can get involved in next year’s expo, visit www.afrolicioushairaffair.com.