I can personally count on both hands how many interviews I arrive in wearing my natural curls, versus wearing my hair straight. Unfortunately, all the jobs I’ve attained, I interview for the job with straight hair. A part of me feels as I gave into society standards when I sport a straight hair-do just to land the job.Now keep in mind, I’m not speaking for every curly-haired girl; I’m solely speaking from my experience. When my mentor invited me to the CurlFest in Prospect Park, I had a flashback of my horrible experience. When she explained to me what Curlfest is about, I automatically fell in love with the concept a festival celebrating natural curls.
I call my friend the day of Curlfest telling her I was running late because I was trying to figure out what to wear. She said we would walk around Prospect Park, so I didn’t have to dress too fancy. I chose a multi color beaded tunic and paired it with a pair of old fashion Levis shorts. After I had put on my outfit, I styled my curls and did my makeup. After an hour or two, I was ready to go. Arriving at Prospect Park my face transform into a perplexed expression. Unlike most festivals I’ve attended, a sign to help direct people to the festival is nowhere in sight. My sudden confusion escape when I heard loud hip hop music and saw a group of naturalists all heading in the same direction.
Once I realize I was in the right place I took a quick glance around the park. To my surprise, the event was not only for women, but there were men and children all sprawling and dancing around. After I glance around, I call my friend. She told me to come over to the painter’s area. In the artist’s area, there were five artists putting on a live painting show. Each brush stroke felt as the artist was sprinkling a bit of magic onto the canvas. One of the paintings stood out to me the most. A hot pink and bright orange curly afro women. She is dress in a tie-dye tank top. The tank top reads, “no artificial preservatives” and I believe this particular painting piggy back to what Curlfest represents.
For me, Curlfest is a powerful movement fighting against what the pages of the magazines consider as beauty. Seeing a sea of natural hair, wearing printed garments helping to embrace their culture felt amazing. I believe showcasing people of color and providing things from our cultures such as coconut drinks and sugar canes is a huge way of saying, “Hey you, accept yourself, the way you are.” It is also great to see the media acknowledging us on the screen, such as Spike Lee’s up and coming “She Gotta Have It” will be on Netflix in November. In my opinion, the film and tv industry is doing a great job with airing more shows and movies for people of color to relate. I know my friends rave about Insecure on HBO and swear it’s their favorite show year to date.
The festival had a broad range of exposure to independent artists. The different forms of artwork, clothing, and accessories, it truly warm my heart to see. Being around such inspirational things made it hard for me not to keep uploading videos and pics onto my snap chat. Shortly after I post a few videos and photos on my Snapchat, my cousin texts me. Her text message reveals how she admires how Curlfest appreciates women of color and our roots. My cousin wishes she there was an event similar to Curlfest in Puerto Rico. I guess I have to suggest Curl Hair Collective (creators of Curlfest) into making Curlfest international.
The event is filled with a lot of goodies for adults. However, they had something for children too. The festival obtains a section with Barbie dolls. Not just any ordinary Barbie doll, but a Barbie doll that embraces the culture. I adore the politically chic Barbie doll giving an ode to the human activist Malcolm X.
My favorite part of the event is learning about all the beauty and skin care products perfect for us melanin girls. There were booths where makeup artists help teach women on how to apply makeup for our skin texture and color. Other booths were doing live braiding and decorating curls with flower crowns. There were fun, interactive activities in each kiosk such as an all-time party favorite “Limbo.”
If you will like to take a bit of Curlfest home with you enter the giveaway below: