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Natural hair expo in Birmingham on September 27

WITH THE natural hair movement gaining momentum amongst women of African, Caribbean and Mixed Race heritage, a Birmingham-based blogger will host an event in the city’s Crowne Plaza on September 27 to celebrate its development.


Natural Strutting It, Beauty & Lifestyle Expo, will include discussions and debates, in addition to demonstrations, workshops, exhibitors, fashion shows and entertainment.

Founder Lorien Haye, a natural hair enthusiast, said: “It is really important that wearing our hair in its natural afro texture be seen as ‘normal’ and not a trend or a hairstyle and it’s not consistently perceived as un-kept. It would be a shame to see women forced to put chemicals in their hair just to prevent them from missing out on promotions or job opportunities because of short sighted employers.”

Haye claims she missed out on a contract extension whilst working for a well known Tyseley-based IT firm because of her decision to wear her hair curly, something she says sparked her decision to put on an event of this nature.

She said: “I had worn my hair in a variety of styles for the duration of my contract and on my last day I straightened it just for a change. The lady in charge of contract extensions told me as I left the building that she likes my hair straight and if I had worn it like that before maybe they would have kept me on.

Adding: “Celebrating our diversity is very important, it’s a stepping stone to breaking that cycle for the next generation. It’s important that children see and learn that their God given hair is beautiful. This is why events such as the Natural Strutting It Hair, Beauty & Lifestyle Expo, is so necessary for women, men and children.


Asked whether she felt competition from similar hair events held in the capital, the entrepreneur said her main goal was to highlight that the natural hair movement was not just London-centric.

“There are quite a lot more events around natural hair happening in London, but it is necessary for people outside of London to be able to benefit from such events as well,” she said.

The natural hair movement has been changing attitudes towards chemically treated hair and seeing ladies opting more for wearing their hair in its afro texture. It's driven by concerns about hair damage from chemicals, an increase in natural hair products, and a huge online community sharing styling advice and support.

For many women opting to wear their hair in its natural state, means more to them than just hair, it serves as a stepping stone for self-acceptance and a change of lifestyle. Many WOC have been chemically processing their hair from childhood.

Haye said she believed this is one of the reasons why events like Natural Strutting It are vital tool in showing young people they are beautiful without conforming to any common ideal of beauty.

“Women of colour (WOC) were led to believe by the media and communities that wearing their hair in its natural texture is not acceptable whilst Euro centric ideals of beauty is what is accepted,” she said. “Where there are no overt criticisms, negative reinforcements from the media help to make WOC feel that their hair is troublesome and in need of taming. There are countless adverts corroborating this along with other popular hair brands encouraging women with afro, curly texture to get rid of their natural curls through some means of processing.”


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