QUEENS EMBRACE THEIR CROWNS

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30,000 Women Celebrated Hair and Beauty in Prospect Park

By Yaasantewa Mensah with Bernice Elizabeth Green

Sunday, July 15th may have been loaded with a number of exciting events throughout the city, but none matched the energy of this year’s 5th Annual Curl Fest event in Brooklyn.

Photo: Winston Wharton

Some 30,000 women of color – of all ages and nationalities — showcased their beautiful black hair in Prospect Park, and it seemed as though every media form showed up to cover them, their glorious crowns and this powerful movement designed, according to the Curl Fest website, “to create innovative experiences that harness the energy of the natural hair movement.”

You only need to look at the photos on this page to see that Curl Fest is an event that reminds us of the 50th Anniversary of the “Black is Beautiful” movement begun in Harlem with the pioneer Grandassa Models, presented by Elombe Brath and Kwame Brathwaite, and the movement will not relax on its mission to empower and uplift women of color.

Yet, in these so-called “post-racial” times, attempts prevail to mold the thinking of women … and men … of color to the European standards of pulchritude. In fact, the beauty industry is now capitalizing on the multimillion-dollar buying power of Black women who subjugate their own naturalness for bleaching and weaving, and Black women who go natural.

Photo: Winston Wharton

While trendwatchers look at this year’s emphasis on natural hair coloring, the publisher of Our Time Press salutes Curl Fest founders in inspiring and promoting the small, and micro, Black women business owners who’ve found a niche in the industry.

We also salute the remarkable, ingenious and beautiful queens who created this outlet and have kept it going. They include: PR Director Charisse Higgins, the media maven who’s responsible for amplifying the Curl Fest brand around the globe; Creative director and design guru Melody Henderson; Events director and strategic multicultural marketer Tracey Coleman; Strategic project manager Simone Mair; Creative marketer and community activist Gia Lowe.

Photo: Winston Wharton

Curl Fest is perhaps the most culturally significant of all of America’s beauty pageants –one where every participant embraces a crown.

For more information, visit www.curlygirlcollective.com.