Photo by Daniel Randall.

Natural Beauties Share Why CURLFEST 2018 Is More Than Just a Hair Festival

Here's what they had to say.

There's something about being surrounded by black people celebrating natural hair that makes CURLFEST so many things at once—a beauty festival, a family picnic, a bloggers hub, and an outdoor party to remember.

The Curly Girl Collective describes CURLFEST as a "Mecca of afros, twist-outs, curls (and beards) set to a soundtrack of positive energy." That's exactly what it looked like this past Saturday when thousands of people strolled into Prospect Park, Brooklyn as afrobeats, soca, dancehall, and hip hop jams blasted throughout the day. Hair was moisturized to perfection and complemented with great style—from floral jumpsuits to more casual t-shirts with slogans like, "Black Mixed with Black" and "Somewhere Between Oprah and Cardi B."

We asked some of the festival-goers to share what the festival meant to them and why they chose the people they came with to celebrate with them.

Here's what they had to say, with photography by Daniel Randall.

Renetta + Renee

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"We are twins, so everywhere she goes I go. You know how Issa Rae says she's rooting for everyone black? We are rooting for everyone natural."

Channy + His Daughter

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"I came with my daughter because she is a beautiful black girl."


Photo by Daniel Randall.

"It's beautiful being surrounded by black beauty that isn't your usual experience. Black people are beautiful in all shades. I love it here."

Christina, Danii, Beverly + Valencia

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"We came out with our girls at CURLFEST because we actually met last year at a Deva Curl event right before CURLFEST and we became instant friends; we chilled. So this year we are back, and we clicking and just having a good ass time."

Tinu + Des

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"I feel right at home. Nigerian flag waving on the stage. Nigerian music blasting from the speakers. It's like an outdoor Lagos club right in Brooklyn." —Tinu

Alexiz + Devri

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"This [festival] is the spice that I need, spice in the pot that I needed. It's always the highlight of my year. We just moved to New York a year ago, and I wanted to break her into CURLFEST." —Devri

Janene, Lexi + Janelle

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"This is honestly where I come to be with my sisters, and to make new ones. For me CURLFEST has less to do with curly hair, but embracing each other's hair stories." —Janelle

Charnette + Nic

Photo by Daniel Randall.

"I came with her cause she's my sister. I love seeing everyone here united. I'm in my element." —Charnette

Photo: Lex Ash (@thelexash). Courtesy of Simi.

Interview: Simi Is Taking Risks

Nigerian star Simi talks about the successes & risks of this year, her thoughts on the #EndSARS protests, and how her husband, Adekunle Gold, inspired Restless II.

Simi is restless. It has nothing to do with the year she has had, in fact, she reaffirmed her status as one of Nigeria's most successful musicians with a single music drop, "Duduke," which enjoyed widespread appeal as the nation went into lockdown earlier in the year.

The 32-year-old singer's restlessness is a reflection of the organised chaos that has defined her recording process this year as she combined the rigours of being an expectant mother with an examination of her place in the wider world. It, more accurately, reflects her re-negotiation of the parameters of her stardom.

"I've never really been a big fan of the spotlight," she whispers silently early in our Zoom conversation. "I know that it comes with the territory, but when I got my big break and more people started to recognise me, I realised that I had to edit myself, my life, and most of the things that I'd do or say because I wanted to be careful to keep a part of me for myself."

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