Last weekend was the MOST epic of weekends in natural hair things, as Kinky Hair Unlocked and the World Natural Hair Show took over Atlanta! As a special guest of 4CHairChick at Kinky Hair Unlocked, I was able to meet a number of everyone’s favorite hair bloggers, stylist, and product makers, and have the tea on whether people’s hair looks as good in real life, or if they’re really shy, or if they just had an attitude!
Let me start off with the folks I’d already met and know and are the coolest. Sabrina of Natural Partners in Crime is my NYC blogger boo who ALWAYS is looking out for other bloggers, and will pass on opportunities and advice, or event tickets. She’s also HILARIOUS! She was tagging along with Romance of Hey Curlie, who I’d never met before and didn’t really know on Instagram until that week, but her energy was so friendly, and she was so small and petite I couldn’t help but find her adorable! Abena of Embrace Natural Beauty is another NYC area blogger, but every time i see her, her hair looks exactly the same – it’s mind-blowing! She does wash and gos, but still I’m always impressed with the consistency of her hair perfection. Scarlett of Wondercurl was in the building, and she introduced me to Constance, the woman behind the Instagram superpage, TeamNatural_. Finally, my extra main boo who apparently is already thinking about how to get sponsors for my unplanned wedding, NapturalNicole, was all over the place being a busy bee all weekend, but brought her infectious smile everywhere with her!
Now for the semi-famous YouTubers: Jouelzy and PRoy. Jouelzy spoke at Kinky Hair Unlocked, and since we stayed at the same hotel, we ended up getting dinner together along with some other ladies. Jouelzy is EXACTLY the same way she is online as she is in person – unabashedly honest and funny. Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprising, she’s also really private while being really open at the same time, so no I don’t now know any secrets about her life. PRoy had a LINE of folks waiting to take pics with her at the WNHS, but still gave me a hug and remembered when we met at an event at Carol’s Daughter 2 years ago. P also has her selfie angles ON LOCK and put me to shame trying to match her fierceness. One day I won’t be basic…
At the World Natural Hair Show, I also bumped into Ngozi/Nalia1908/MyBeautiFro Hair who is a Nigerian hair vlogger that reps for fine haired naturals with long hair! I’ve always loved her because she has the same name as my mom, but I must admit I’m taken aback when Nigerians have such strong MidWest accents! Ghanain vlogger Akushika Gone Natural has the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen in my life, Yolanda Renee of EtcBlogMag and Jonna Scott-Blakes of Naturally Glam are the cutest petite sister girl bloggers, Melissa Chanel and I were hair color and red lip twins (plus she just moved uptown so we’re going to try to kick it this summer), SheRea of My Thrifted Closet was fab at the Loux Experience, and The Hubbin (Naptural Nicole’s natural hair obsessed husband) was nice when he wasn’t photobombing my pics! I forgot to take pictures of them but Kriss of NaturalMe4C was soooo adorable. She was a bit overwhelmed by everything since it was her first time at a natural hair event, so I don’t think she was prepared for the people who ran up to her like omg I can’t believe it’s you! You can’t blame her though, she’s from Delaware and that’s a pretty quiet state, events wise. Kiki of Mahogany Knots, who is also one of my friend in my head because I’ve been rocking with you since 2010 bloggers, pulled the whole, I know you too thing which made me smile so wide inside I’m surprised my shirt didn’t rip apart.
This is a little known fact but one of my FAVORITE YouTubers is Toni Daley (pictured all the way at the top). Even back in the day, she never was touting miracle products, her videos weren’t over-produced, and the appearances of her boo were adorable. Plus she has always been committed to supporting small and women owned businesses (like I try to do as well), so she’s definitely been one of those friends in my head. When I saw her vending at the WNHS, I had to contain my star struck face and went up and smiled and waiting for her to finish chatting with someone so I could say hi. To my surprise, once her convo wrapped up she threw her arms around me and said it was great to meet me! These were her exact words: “omg, I love you!” I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement and I didn’t even get to say how awesome I thought she was because we were just hugging and squealing and taking selfies! Super sweetheart, and I can’t wait to drum up ways to work with her more and maybe get her on the site!
As for the stylists, I FINALLY got to meet celebrity hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, who I’ve been trying to meet since college (seriously, I tried to organize an event with her as a speaker but student events funding was like nah, we don’t care enough about black women’s hair at Harvard right now). She is SO sweet and humble, and encouraged me to pursue some of the random dreams that I have. I have a feeling, especially after we spend some more time together in Nigeria at the Nigerian Natural Hair & Beauty Show in a few weeks, that she’s going to deposit some great wisdom into my life. I also bumped into stylists Diane C. Bailey (of SheaMoisture) and Angela, owner of the N Natural Hair Institute and one of the braids behind the Naturalista Hair Show I attended last year. I need to have one of them do my hair one of these days!
Not photographed, but I got to meet the CEOs behind a few awesome brands that I’ve reviewed or that have supported the blog in the past, such as Chris-Tia Donaldson of Thank God I’m Natural (who’s a fellow Harvard alum), Jhenell of Camille Rose Naturals, Obia of Obia Natural Hair, and Jeannell of CocoCurls. I didn’t get to spend much time talking to them since they were on their hustle grind, but I’m going to be in Nigeria with Obia so I’ll definitely have more stories!
Now for the pettiness – If you want to think that I’m perfect and have not an ounce of meanness in my body, skip the next few paragraphs! My parents raised me with manners so whenever I meet somebody new, especially if I already follow them on social media, I introduce myself. I introduced myself to one brand owner and the convo went like this.
Me: Hi _____, my name is Ijeoma, it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Person: Oh ok… [30 seconds later]. Am I supposed to know you? Are you a blogger or something?
Me: Well, I do have a blog, but I was just generally introducing myself.
Person: Ok. *turns away*
Girlllllll. First of all, even if I wasn’t a blogger, shouldn’t you want to connect with a potential consumer of your product? What if I was a fan and wanted to ask you questions about something? What if I hadn’t heard of your brand before and you just missed out on the opportunity to gain a new customer? Does someone need to be IG/YT famous for you to say hi to them?
Anywaydoe, I promptly unfollowed the brand on Instagram, because that’s the pettiest thing I could think of that was still classy lol. And as I mentioned above, there are TOO many brands with very personable and kind owners that I quite frankly don’t have to waste my time on the mean girls.
The second brand that turned me off was one that I’ve seen a few times at events and the founder continues to look at me like we’ve never met so – unfollowed! One blogger whose efforts at branding are overdone and annoying (which probably explains your low social media numbers boo boo) was walking around like she was Beyonce… girl #BYE. Also unfollowed. Of course I’m classy enough to not be sharing names, but in case you’re wondering why some product never shows up on the blog, it might just be because their owner is stank and Ijeoma doesn’t have time for that. Jesus loves them though!
Notoriously absent from the World Natural Hair Show was Carol’s Daughter. Now idk what CD is doing with their brand ever since they were bought out by L’Oreal but it’s been interesting to see them lose ground among naturals, myself included. I haven’t touched my former holy grail product, the Healthy Hair Butter, in forever and a day because quite frankly I just forgot about them. I’ve heard some people whisper that Shea Moisture doesn’t care about naturals/black women anymore, but second to Taliah Waajid, they had the fiercest and biggest display/setup at the hair show so I’d argue that they very much still care about their original market. Carol’s Daughter on the other hand… and its sad to admit it since they were the first brand to have faith in me and helped launch the blog, but I’m just not really feeling their commitment to the natural hair community.