I've got really screwy hair. LOVE IT.
— Scroll down to download our Naturals In The City presentation as a pdf —
I know, I know, I’m late, I’M SO LATE. Recovering from the meet-up is taking longer than expected and all I’ve been able to do for most of the last few days is tweet from bed. Anyhoodle, here it is:
I’d like to say one big, fat THANK YOU!!! to every single woman and man who made the time to attend. Each one of you has kept me glowing–yes, glowing–for the last few days :-)
We did have a late start–so sorry about that, y’all!–but we had a full-to-bursting house of naturals, non-naturals, and transitioners of all ages, from all professions, from all lifestyles. The corporate world and the entertainment world never looked so good together. We had well over 100 attend–we stopped counting once we got really busy–and you could feel the place bursting with all the positive energy and eagerness. I looked up at one point during my presentation and was bowled over by how full the room had gotten and by how many people were listening from the hallway. Tres cool to meet so many naturalistas in Lagos! We even had a few male guests in the house. Who says men don’t care about hair?
I’ll have photos for you tomorrow and as they come in. (Sorry, y’all; struggling here.) Natural Nigerian and our newfound naturalista BFF Omozo of O’Naturals already posted their meet-up coverage with photos. For now, I’ll give you a quick rundown.
Blogger Natural Nigerian, nutrition consultant Sherese Ijewere, blogger NatMane, and I each gave presentations on various topics–from hair science to hair health to natural products to hair demos–and we got a lot of questions during each. (Image consultant Ifeoma Williams had an event conflict, so she wasn’t able to participate.) We didn’t get to cover all the topics we’d planned because there were so many questions and discussions (and because of the late start), but we covered most of the day’s agenda, which was great.
Natural Nigerian gave us the hair science lowdown with “My Hair: Getting To Know It,” while Sherese fed our minds with “Fabulous Hair–From the Inside Out.” I tackled products you find in nature and your kitchen with “The Kitchen Beautician,” then I let “Finding Stuff in Lagos” open up the floor for everyone to talk about finding the aforementioned products in Lagos. NatMane was one hot tamale with “Battling The Salon Forces Of Evil” and showed us her skills with “Heart Your Hair (Demo).” We didn’t get to my other topics “Help: My Boss Doesn’t Like My Kinks!” and “Let’s Talk Regimens,” or to all of NN’s “Bad Hair Practices,” but we will at the next meet-up.
Download the presentation below for the full agenda.
Though the overwhelming majority of attendees were naturalistas, it’s so encouraging that we had so many non-naturals interested in healthy hair and healthy hair. We even had a few non-natural mothers who asked for tips on caring for their natural daughters’ hair. We may be natural, but we don’t practice hair discrimination :-)
The most significant aspect of the meet-up for me was all the love going around; in a rat-race city like Lagos, women who were clearly different from each other were sharing their experiences freely and helping each other and laughing and honestly enjoying each other’s company without any pretense–this truly is a beautiful sight. I’m also happy that we all learned from each other; presenters weren’t the only ones answering the many questions and I can tell you that I picked up some useful shopping tips. Thank you, ladies! After the presentations, we all got to talk to each other and share our hair journeys, so most people lingered for a while and some didn’t leave until past 8:00pm!
Lovely all-natural hair and body products were out for sale during the meet-up by vendors, including this Screwy Haired Girl. I sold my hair butter for the first time! More on that (and on acquiring a tub of my hair magic) in another post. A raffle draw picked the winner of our basket of goodies that comprised products from each of our vendors. The good response means that product sales will be part of the next meet-up.
Our Core Dream Team
I was fortunate to be part of a team that worked so well together. There was so much to get done, but I haven’t often worked in a group like ours: no one lost their heads, no one was competing with anyone else, we genuinely like each other as individuals, and (most importantly) we all shared the same vision and goals for the meet-up. You ladies are fabulous!
We also had the invaluable assistance of a few fantastic women without whom our event couldn’t have been such a success. I obviously can’t put all their names on the interwebs, but I do want to show my personal gratitude for their immense help: Sherese’s friend who introduced her to us (and the best chance meeting ever), NN’s friend who lent a hand whenever we needed it, Ugoma Adegoke, owner of The Life House and Zebra Living, who was brilliant at every stage, and the BGLH ladies and everyone who helped publicize this event on their blogs. Thank you, ladies, for everything!
Now for some intense bragging: my son was STUNNINGLY AWESOME. I didn’t realize how much he was doing until I started getting so many compliments about how he was just so helpful, articulate, such a salesman/marketing exec, so polite, such a leader, so suave–yes o, someone said suave!–mature, such a gentleman, so well-behaved…the list goes on, yo. Whoa. I was seriously floored by all the comments. Yeah, he’s 12, never EVER been shy, and loves being around people, but I was totally not expecting all the praise. Thank Jah I can’t blush :-) But all of that left me with one question:
Why can’t he behave like that at home? After getting more praise on his behalf over the phone tonight, I said to him, “You behave so well when we’re out, but you don’t behave yourself at home.” His response: “I know, right?” Wha? Kid needs a spanking.
The meet-up was a resounding success. We achieved our primary goal of getting naturalistas (and non-naturalistas) to start thinking more about knowledge–about hair, hair care, and technique–rather than focusing on products and the salon, as well as to provide a space for naturals to gather and support one another. We now have firm plans to hold one meet-up every quarter. We’ve already had a post-event meeting to see what our strengths and weaknesses were and we’re still getting really useful feedback from attendees. Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, we’d like to tackle more and really open it up to be more interactive.
If you registered at the meet-up, you’ll get a quick survey via email. We hope you’ll fill it out, so that we can improve future meet-ups.
Wanna see our slides? Download the presentation here (via MediaFire): Naturals in the City 11.19.11 (pdf)
That’s it for now. Hope to see you at the next Naturals In The City!