On March 10, 2018, thousands of natural haired men and women gathered at the BJCC North Hall in Birmingham, AL to take in the intoxicating aroma of black pride. There were vendors, and photo ops, and celebrities, OH MY! As the natural hair community from all over descended upon the Magic City, we welcomed it with open arms. It was especially a memorable occasion for me as I had the opportunity to serve as a VIP blogger for the event. Let me tell you, there was so much going on that I could hardly stay focused. Lol! They had something for everyone from a candy station for the kiddos to a men’s lounge for the brothas who wanted to get away from all the women shopping and talking. Y’all know how we do. Spending money and flapping our gums is our specialty. After settling in from such a dynamic natural hair event that now has 7 years in the book, I had to take time to highlight some of my favorite moments. Here are my top 5 moments of The 2018 Natural Hair & Health Expo.
Butters & Scrubs
I was on a mission to find two things and two things only; body butter and body scrub. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a personal pampering fanatic. I love all things that nourish the skin, hair, body, soul, and spirit. As a makeup artist and aspiring esthetician, skin care is something I religiously preach to my clients. The skin on our bodies is just as important as the skin on our faces, so we must put time and effort into both.
As I scoured the vendors in search of the perfect body butter and scrub. I was impressed by many, but two stole my heart in particular. The first being a local company by the name of Angela’s Kiss of Shea Natural Hair, Bath & Body Products founded by Angela Barnes Carter. Now, Angela and I are no strangers to one another as I was introduced to her products years ago. However, sometimes what is close to our hearts escapes our minds, but let me just say that my memory was immediately jogged and my heart elated as the reminiscent aromas and soothing nature of her products enraptured my senses. After a nice chat with this “whipologist”, I purchased her Lavender Vanilla Body Butter and Body Scrub. These products are so amazing, you won’t even want to insult your skin by putting clothes on after.
This leads me to the next jewel I found by a men’s grooming company called Respected Roots out of Atlanta, GA. Co-Creators Jason L. Hawkins and Jaret Patterson saw the need for a reasonably priced yet effective product that could naturally produce results of a healthier beard. I know what you are thinking, but Marliceia, you don’t have a beard. Stay with me here lovies. You are right, I do not have a beard; however, I do have skin that loves to be nourished and moisturized, which leads me to their amazing Unisex Body Butter. Y’all, I absolutely had to have this butter after testing it. My skin was given an instant sheen and the scent was to die for; not too strong, but just enough to be intoxicating.
Speaking of products that smell amazing, I had to smell the men’s original scented beard butter, then they told me about the beard co-wash which is the compliment to the butter, so I snagged my honey some and he used it the next day and loved it. I used my body butter the same night and let me tell you, my skin was SUPER moisturized hours later, even after getting undressed, I could still feel how the products soaked into my skin and nourished it.
My product search was successful and expectations superseded with a little something old and a little something new.
We all love to meet celebrities whether we want to admit it or not. Unfortunately, I did not personally get a chance to interact with any of them, but I did get to capture photos and listen to on stage discussions.
The Youtube Sensations Kendra and Kelsey Murrell, known as “The
Glamtwinz”, was a hit at NHHE 2018. I have personally followed them for years. I love their makeup tutorials, product hauls, day in the life vlogs, and hair tips. They have definitely been inspirations in my journey as a natural and a makeup artist. Be sure to check them out on YouTube. You will not be disappointed.
I also had the pleasure of sitting in on the on-stage interview with Timon K. Durrett, who plays Davis West on the hit show Queen Sugar and Rotimi, who plays Dre on the critically acclaimed show Power. Let me say that I am an avid Queen Sugar watcher and am just about to drink the Kool-aid that I’ve been missing out on with Power. It was very enlightening to hear their take on how they feel about the way black men are portrayed in Hollywood and the role they are playing to break down some of those barriers and color lines. Rotimi then blessed the ladies with a fun and flirty musical performance and boy did he have the place rocking. A good time was indeed had by all.
Hail to the Queen
Did you all see my promotions on Facebook for NHHE 2018? If you did, you may have noticed I kept tagging pageant contestant Jessica Alexander who is a dear friend and business associate of mine. Well, it gave me great joy for my girl to get crowned as The Miss Natural Hair Queen 2018. If you don’t know this mogul in the making, you need to. Jessica is not only the former Miss Black Alabama 2014, she is a businesswoman who empowers women to evolve into the leaders they are destined to be by way of her organization Operation Evolve. She also is a new author and had her first book signing back in January for her book Boss Up. I am so proud of this queen and it is truly an honor to call her friend.
Swag Bag Swag
Now, what’s a VIP without freebies? I’ll tell you “regular”, lol. Just kidding! Anyway, let’s just say that they did not disappoint with the swag bags. My swag bag featured products from Creme of Nature, Mielle Organics, RICH, a Jill Scott Hallmark Card, a Detangling Brush, and Satin Head Wrap. We are talking full-size products guys. These are not just samples as you can see. I’m super excited to try these products out and I’ll come back and give you all a review.
The giving didn’t stop there though. Creme of Nature showed out and gave everyone a swag bag of goodies. I just love free stuff. My next wash day is going to be amazing with so many new products to try, so stay tuned.
There is nothing more delectable than food cooked with soul and love. While in the VIP lounge we were afforded the opportunity to experience the mouthwatering cuisine of Tasteful Touch Catering, LLC. This New Orleans based company is located here in Birmingham and is near and dear to me based on the merit of New Orleans, LA truly bing my 2nd home. As a graduate of the prestigious Dillard University, I am no stranger to my taste buds being tantalized by the heart and soul of Nawlins cuisine. Tasteful Touch did not disappoint. The roasted rosemary chicken was tender and succulent, the mascarpone mashed potatoes were creamy and flavor-filled, and the seasoned green beans were perfection. In a nutshell, it was amazing.
Bonded Blogging Buddies
I have to say out of all of the wonderful things I experienced, a huge thank you is due to my blogging buddy Jasmine T. Duff of Season 26 Blog. If it were not for her, I would not have been given the chance to pursue this wonderful opportunity. Check out her blog and recap of the expo as well as the other enlightening and edifying things she has to say. After all, buddies who blog together build together and we are showing what it means for black women to truly work together.
Until Next Time Lovies…Be Bold, Be Beautiful, and most of all BE YOU!!!