Originally published 3/10/2017 at 06:00a.m., updated 3/9/2017 at 12:57p.m.
They say it’s a “curl thing.” Two McDaniel College students, Kylah Chadwick and Khadijah Poston, have organized a natural hair curl conference at the school on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
Already popular for their YouTube channel called “CollegeSistahs TV,” the duo founded “Curl Friends,” a new student organization at McDaniel College to celebrate and spread awareness about
“Khadijah and I are both major supporters of the natural hair movement. There is not a day that goes by where we don’t have a conversation about our natural hair whether it’s giving each other tips or having a conversation about the latest news about natural hair,” Chadwick said. “Therefore, we felt that it was important to bring something new to our campus to support the other naturals that are out there like us. So, we started to plan this event, while sharing our vision with different people on campus, and it started to all come together.”
Poston says the conference will address their notion that the recent natural hair movement that has swept the nation isn’t just a coincidence.
“I just think over the past several decades, people have slowly started getting away from seeing straight hair as a necessity and a norm,” Poston said. “We’re just glad we can provide the
tools and knowledge to the people at McDaniel who may not be as knowledgeable about black hair in general.”
Sponsored by McDaniel’s English Department and the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, the conference will include natural hair discussions with popular YouTube bloggers; classes; and
Natural hair swag bags with free natural product samples and a raffle will also help highlight the conference, which is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Additionally, natural hair psychologist Afiya Mbilshaka, a professor at Howard University, has committed to attend the conference, the students said.
“I often see stories and articles about women with natural hair who have a difficult time in the workplace,” Chadwick said. “Personally, I am fortunate not to have had any negative experiences when it comes to my natural hair and my work. However, it is unfortunate that something like hair can have an effect on someone’s work life.”
Poston says that it wasn’t until recently that she decided to go natural and she has been pleased with the response. “Since I haven’t necessarily been in the professional workforce yet myself, I haven’t encountered too many negative experiences. I mostly just get compliments on my hair,” she said, arguing against the thought that women who wear their hair natural are making a
statement of some form.
“It shows how natural hair can be multidimensional. It’s important to understand that deciding to wear your natural hair is a choice,” Chadwick said.
“Now, whether natural hair is a statement or not is mainly predicated on the person you are talking to. Some people wear their hair natural because it is the hair that is growing out of their scalp so they wouldn’t consider it a statement,” she said. “Others wear their natural hair to show off the pride of their culture and would consider this a statement of black pride. Personally, I feel as though my natural hair is not a statement. It’s the hair that God gave me. However at the same time, I am aware that to the world, my natural hair can be considered a statement because I am going against society.”
“So, I walk this line of wanting to celebrate my natural hair and everything that comes along with it, and also wanting people to realize that me wearing my natural hair shouldn’t be considered a big phenomenon, because this only perpetuates the belief that natural hair shouldn’t be the norm,” Chadwick continued.
Poston says she views those wearing their hair natural as their way of embracing the hair that God has given them. “It’s what naturally grows out of your head so, I don’t think wearing your hair naturally is a statement. It’s similar to someone wearing a weave or relaxed hair, those aren’t statements, it’s just what they like and what works for them,” she said.
For more information about the conference or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-a-curlthing- mcdaniel-colleges-1st-naturalhair- conference-tickets 29408957985.