that it is important to still seek doctor approval, nature’s
medicine was first and still is leading the way in healing
the simplest of ailments like the common cold or allergy
flare ups. With hair loss being a major issue for African
American women, the panel took the most time addressing the
stages of acknowledgement to action towards regrowing hair
that was lost, if possible.
barber Tawann Gaston was able to speak to the proper ways in
cutting hair that is thinning and in need of a flattering
shape. Gasps from many guests were heard as it was mentioned
that barbers are the first stylists trained in cutting,
trimming and shaping natural hair. This knowledge is out
there, but not typically shared when women are seeking style
options other than straighteners and extensions.
don’t require straightening to create a design for men and
women alike that they can wear both curly or straight.
Gaston, owner of the now-expanding Groomed Toledo barber and
beauty salon, is noted for his work with Robert Easter and
Bishop Rance Allen, among local celebrities. He takes his
work seriously and is meticulous, which was eloquently
displayed as he answered panel questions.
out the panel between the medical and professional approach
to natural hair health and growth were panelists who could
speak to walking in confidence in your own skin with your
own hair. Model and teacher Meeche El focuses on African
Diaspora in all that she does. Her knowledge of culture and
awareness of self has created a confidence that radiated
throughout the country club. Naturalistas gathered around
her for photos in her handmade Afro Centric garments as she
shared her love and connection with the Motherland.
to young ladies was to be who they are, naturally, embracing
their uniqueness. She stated, “It doesn’t matter if the
world accepts you, as long as you accept yourself.” These
words rung true and were echoed when TiAnna Anderson of
Anderson Innovative Marketing was asked about being black
and natural in the workplace.
is important to check your workplace handbook, it’s still
okay to be yourself, whatever your brand of beauty is. Both
ladies shared the idea that regarding oneself in high esteem
builds confidence that is not easily shaken should
discrimination arise. Anderson is a naturalista and
entrepreneur who works with local beauty business owners in
creating content that tells their stories while setting
their brand apart from others in a saturated market. Her
work with local businesses inspired her to create Ready, Set
Aim, a conference that is geared toward further equipping
women business owners with tools and skills they need to
succeed. Her expertise during the panel was a welcomed gem
for attendees even if they don’t have a business because we
all can have our own brand of beauty.
was full of professionals like teachers, human resource
managers, authors and aspiring business owners, some of
which said they will return to GCNHS next year as a business
owner and vendor. This story is one of the many reasons that
I, the founder, continue to host these types of events. The
inspiration is contagious.
vendor in the marketplace attended The Ohio Natural Hair,
Health and Beauty Expo twice before starting her own
business Natural Vibe, and she was well received by guests
as were all of the vendors. Curlfriends were networking,
sharing videos, pictures, snapping selfies and buying the
handmade and unique hair and skin products along with
amazing accessories such as Headwraps by Sharmen.
City Natural Hair Symposium was more than just shopping and
listening to speakers. There was an engaging experience that
offered education and interaction with all guests throughout
the day. The University of Toledo student organization,
Natural Hairitage operated the Young Naturalistas room where
they had deep round table discussions about Black hair,
current culture, and society’s impact on beauty standards.
addition, there was a DIY lab where naturalistas could make
their very own sugar scrub or organic hair conditioner using
everyday kitchen ingredients; and people could share their
feelings about their hair by writing them on the Black
chalkboards throughout the space. Daily Downtown host,
Brigette Burnett, attended the symposium and shared in the
joy of natural beauty, creating a stunning recap of the
event that can be seen on the Promedica jumbotron downtown.
Anointed Photography took photos and had them available for
guests on the spot, which gave them just one more memento
from the event.
Engage activities included a game card where guests could
mark off what they have done during the day from live head
wrap tutorials by Jeanette Martin or attending the talk from
author Celia Gold who penned her hair experience in a book
entitled “Hair Fairy, My Angel”. There were InFROstations
that described necessary tools for naturals and caring for
children’s hair, and one of the sponsors, Optimistic
Movement, who also created the labels for the newly
established Natural Vibes business, conducted giveaways at
their booth. The networking was real and truly a breath of
fresh air. Seeing Black men and women engaging customers,
sharing knowledge, supporting each other and loving each
other was more than one could have imagined for an event
like this. It was classy, curly and cultural wrapped
beautifully, and adorned with a bow.
so much positive energy permeating throughout the
Heatherdowns Country Club that even the owner stopped in and
was taken aback by the transformation of their venue. From
the friendly and attentive staff to the very beauty of the
green backdrop the venue provided, GCNHS was nothing short
event comments are still being made and shared, me and my
sponsoring company, The Kitchen Salon, have plans for next
year underway. Follow thenaturalexpo.com to see photos from
this year and to learn how to be a part of GCNHS next year.
Curlfriend Connection continues!