The creative beauty of Black natural hair has been on display during the last two months at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
Curated by Regina Kimbell, the multi-media exhibit reveals the history of hairstyles worn by Black women – both in America and around the world – as well as features commentary on Black culture and insight into the industry’s African American business leaders.
Kimbell, an award-winning filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer, is a Second Baptist member. With the approval of Pastor William Epps, the church’s Memorial and Historical Commission invited her to design the presentation in honor of Black History and Women’s History Months.
Her selection was a good fit since Kimbell had produced the documentary, “My Nappy ROOTS: A Journey Through Black Hairitage,” and accumulated extensive research about the history of Black hairstyles. Her film, which was created from more than 200 hours of footage, contains many historical images and rare interviews with trailblazers such as George Johnson of Johnson Products and Ed Gardner of Soft Sheen fame.
“When I was asked to curate this Black Hair Exhibit at Second Baptist, I was more than ready and prepped for the job,” said Kimbell. “My relationships with stylists, professionals and Black women in general helped me to create a unique hands-on, intergenerational exhibit and through my association with hair companies, distributors and people who love the Black hair industry, I was able to acquire many beautiful tools and memorabilia for the display.”
As an entrepreneur, Kimbell admits that God plays a huge role in her life. Describing the Lord as “front and center,” she said “God inspires my every move. My path has been non-traditional, but God has made a way for me to always find the next opportunity.”
Those opportunities have ranged from winning a Pan African Film Festival Award for Best documentary for “My Nappy Roots,” to years later witnessing a sold out screening of the film on a London stage.
“The theater of full of Black women, men and children from Europe, Africa and Jamaica, all with different accents, hairstyles, locs and we related so powerfully to the same experiences. It was a surreal moment,” said Kimbell. The experience inspired her to establish the nonprofit, Nappywood, which has produced natural hair and lifestyle exposition events in Los Angeles since 2013.
“Nappywood is a platform that empowers the community through education about health, wellness, ancestry and traditions. We are a colorful, adaptable, free-loving and spirited people and our power is in moving in the way God that would have us to find out truth,” insisted Kimbell.
“We excel when we create our own businesses, educate our own children and create economic empowerment on our terms. We should not be always taught to fit a Eurocentric mold. I am here just to reveal the beauty that is already there. Black is beautiful!”
To learn more, visit Nappywood.com.