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‘Nappywood’ Natural Hair and Lifestyle Expo
By Amen Oyiboke, Staff Writer
Published August 5, 2015

Natural hair Angelenos attended expo to learn more about natural hair and engage in cultural activities

(Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

(Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

More and more, African-American women are ditching the hair relaxers and accepting their natural hair state.

“Self confidence in wearing your styles is key. I like to encourage young Black girls to be natural. You have to accept yourself and fall in love with yourself,” said lifestyle blogger Zolee Griggs to a crowd of natural hair enthusiasts.

Griggs alongside several other beauty bloggers, celebrity hairstylists and natural hair Angelenos attended the 3rd Annual Nappywood Natural Hair & Lifestyle (LANX) Expo Weekend. The event was held August 1-2 at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles. Founded by Regina Kimbell and Gwen Allen the show has been used as a community component to empower the Black community.

“The LANX is only a thread to bring the community together to educated and empower. Not only will the workshops and summits improve their lives, but where else can you see natural hairstyles from Anquity to modern day in one day,” Regina Kimbell said.

LANX attendees received free merchandise from Miss Jessie’s during Saturday’s exposition. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

LANX attendees received free merchandise from Miss Jessie’s during Saturday’s exposition. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

This year’s theme was “natural lifestyle matters”. 30 informative classes were featured throughout the weekend discussed topics such as hair in the work environment, societal issues that affect the African American community and influencers of popular culture.

“I like encouraging girls to be who they naturally are. There is only one you in the world, so be you,” said Griggs.

Natural hair enthusiasts had the opportunity to get hair care and style tips from celebrity hairstylist from WE TV’s “L.A. Hair” Kim Kimble and Dr. Kari Williams. Celebrity “naturalistas” Tanya Wright from “Orange is the New Black”, model/actress Tomiko Fraser, and CEO of Miss Jessie’s hair products Miko Branch made appearances at the expo.

Native Nigerian masks, sculptors and paintings on display at LANX. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

Native Nigerian masks, sculptors and paintings on display at LANX. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

The expo also focused on youth involvement for this year’s participation and panel discussions. The “I love myself youth summit” was one of the most popular panels for weekend for the youth. The panel of college students, young professionals and bloggers discussed the issues faced minorities in higher education, police interactions, appearance and media.

“Dealing with colorism in class is a big thing. When you’re in college, especially a place that is predominantly white, you become the ambassador for Black people when issues of blackness arise,” panelists and college student Corey Simmons said. He addressed the issues of student interactions in learning environments that tend to have majority White students. The topic was a predecessor to the Black buying power and education about investing in the Black businesses.

Positive images of natural women and men were popular to find on t-shirts, bags jewelry during the expo. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

Positive images of natural women and men were popular to find on t-shirts, bags jewelry during the expo. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

“Just because we have Black famous people that doesn’t mean we have power around the world. We need more education and empowerment when it comes to understanding our own power,” panelist Brighton Campbell said.

Research firm Mintel recently estimated that the Black hair business is worth $774 million and relaxer sales are estimated to decrease 45 percent before 2019. The decrease may be in conjunction to the popularity of the natural hair trend becoming a movement. More and more Black women are choosing to become natural and buy products from Black owned hair companies.

“I woke up one day and said I wasn’t going to relax my hair. I can’t imagine going back [to relaxers]. Being natural is being more embraced. It’s beautiful seeing the transition that we’ve had in media,” said lifestyle blogger Linda Forrester.

Categories: Family | Lifestyle
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