The beginning of the 21st century marked a new era for another natural hair movement in the African American community. Adrienne Brown, Alexis Felder, Farrah Riley and Kiki Stephens used their love for their natural manes, put their heads together and created Curly Girls Rock, an organization that celebrates and educates others about self-expression, specifically with natural hair.
“Curly Girls Rock means being comfortable in your skin and in your hair,” Alexis says. “We want to promote a sense of self-acceptance and self-love in the natural hair community.”
After co-hosting other hair events, the ladies produced their first Curly Girls Rock event last spring in Atlanta, where Adrienne said over 500 guests attended from all over the continent to hear about and purchase products from hair stylists, color specialists and beauty vendors in the natural hair care industry.
Attendees also learned more about the founders who have their own natural hair blogs. The ladies said they were impressed with the response to the event that was held during the biggest weekend of hair shows in the mecca of all things hair in the country. Alexis said the guests varied in ages and many of them attended the event by themselves, which served as a networking, social and educational opportunity for the attendees.
“Our drive comes from hosting events and sharing being natural with others,” Farrah comments. “It’s something we enjoy doing and talking about.”
Alexis and the other Curly Girls Rock founders experienced their own journeys with their hair. She has been natural for eight years, while Farrah started rocking it naturally 10 years ago, and Adrienne started over a year ago.
Alexis says, unfortunately, many young people today are not taught to be themselves or individuals, and some still have issues with hair texture. Adrienne adds that longer and looser curls are still considered more acceptable in society. She admits she received weird looks when she originally decided to sport her hair naturally, while Farrah’s kinky and curly ‘do wasn’t accepted initially at work two years ago where she was the only black person.
“I do feel that things are progressing in today’s society,” Farrah comments. “Natural hair is becoming more acceptable, and people are starting to embrace it. However, I still think corporate America has a long way to go. New experiences and new beginnings may change my mind in the near future.”
“We’re [African Americans] our harshest critics and are less accepting of our counterparts for who we are,” Adrienne comments.
Farrah says the ladies plan to host future Curly Girls Rock events across in the United States and hope to bring their organization to other countries.
“We want people to know it’s a struggle, but you’re not in the struggle by yourself,” Farrah comments. “It’s about loving yourself for who you are. You have to look in the mirror and be happy with who you are and what you see.”