My experience at the WITJ Natural Hair & Beauty Show
For me the recent article: Natural Hair For White Girls confirmed what I expected some people outside of the natural hair community thought of it - which was simply, not much. They scoff at it. But I challenge the cynics to go to an event such at the WITJ Natural Hair & Beauty Show and to not feel moved. Entering the event, this year held at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, I really did feel part of a movement, a community where women of all ages, shades and sizes were embracing afro hair and its many incarnations. Locks, fros, twist outs and afro puffs were just some of the styles adorning the heads of the international crowd and I felt a sense of pride being part of the fabric making up the scene.
One of the things I love about being natural is the way in which it can be a conversation starter between women of colour
Having interviewed Wunmi the founder of Woman In The Jungle on my former radio programme (RIP Colourful Life with Jaxx), I was aware of the hard work, passion and creativity put in to the show but I wasn't prepared for the results. From trichologists, to butters, to vitamins, to scarves, all of your beauty needs were being catered to under one roof, it was like being in #brownbeauty heaven! Like most events, it wasn't without the odd glitch here and there and timings for the talks were left a little to the imagination, but persevere and you were in for a treat!
A highlight for me was MsVaughn’s, presentation Natural Hair Styling for all stages of natural. A US blogger, MsVaughn is the go to girl for many naturals and one statement she made which I think is a great mantra for naturals was 'fierce at every phase '. Other talks included the always great - Valley Fontaine taking a look at professional hair and what it means to you and other sessions and demonstrations were also available around the event.
One of the things I love about being natural is the way in which it can be a conversation starter between women of colour... I spoke to two bloggers that had come from Paris especially for the show; I spoke to another lady whose maturity was only given away by her white hair and declaration at how pleased she was that younger generations were really owning their natural hair as this was not the case within her friendship group; I spoke to women who simply wanted to say, ‘your hair is beautiful’ and whom I approached to do the same thing… it was heartening beyond belief. In sharing compliments, tips, disaster stories and encouragement I really do feel part of a community.
For those on the cusp of embracing their natural mane, shows such as the WITJ event is a great place to get inspired and draw confidence in your locks and if you missed the show, the WITJ website is a good place to get started.
Words: Jacqueline Shepherd
Jacqueline Shepherd is a presenter “repping natural hair on TV “. She describes herself as a natural hair enthusiast and charts her #naturalhair best bits on Instagram. Catch Jacqueline hosting What’s Up, coming to Sky 1 this summer.