On April 12 and 13, the “Calling all Textures” event brought the campus community together by celebrating all hair textures. The two-day event that mainly targeted minorities also garnered attention from white students. Created, sponsored, and held by sophomore Bonner students Badia Weeks, Kelsey Blake, and Aaliyah Stephens, the “Calling all Textures” event had an amazing turnout and created a space for the community to learn and talk about all hair textures.
The Big Hair Panel and Expo, the first event out of the two nights, had a great turnout. Students, professors, and even the hosts’ family members came to celebrate beauty and self-worth. The Panel included vendors from Philadelphia and other nearby areas who have their own hair, beauty, or cosmetic lines. There was also a vendor who promoted his shoe line, Legacy. Tanisha Singleton Thompson— founder of Beauty’s Ultimate Gift: Healthy Hair Flair, and licensed cosmetologist and beauty consultant—commented on the event: “I enjoyed inter- acting with all the students and teaching them new techniques and skills for their hair. I really appreciated them being comfortable with sharing the challenges that are faced with natural hair such as styling, keeping it moisturized, and maintaining their curls.”
Thompson taught students about different kinds of hair and beauty products, such as the energy booster Adoratherapy, and Bass brushes for styling hair. Another vendor, Sparkle Hill, a makeup artist and the owner of a matte cosmetic collection, said that “the event was extremely fun and informative and I would love to participate again [if it becomes an annual thing].”
“The event went very well,” Weeks said. “Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and it brought a lot of people together. I saw a lot of unity and uplifting one another, which is something that was really needed on this campus.” Blake added, “I’m very proud of its turnout. There was a good mix of classes and races. It was a very supportive crowd.”
The second event, the Hair Fashion Show was also a success. Twenty-two participants acted as runway models, representing various cultures and places, such as Africa, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino/ Hispania. Participants modeled Dashiki print, a type of African gown, traditional Mexican floral patterned dresses, and the colors of their flags.
Although the two-day events were targeted primarily to people of color, a vast number of white people showed up to support the event. “I was really surprised,” Weeks said. “At first, I didn’t know how the campus would respond to the hair events… if the community would interact. I knew white Bonner students would attend because this was a Bonner idea. Seeing a large white crowd in the audience gave me a better perspective on whites. Some are willing to learn other cultures and experiences.” Blake was also glad white people attended, as that was part of her main goal. “It was cool to see them see us in our element,” she said. “The point of them being there was for them to critically think about our struggle, how we deal with hair.” There were several white students who purchased hair products, and many of them asked questions to be more educated on hair overall.
Weeks, Blake, and Stephens admit that working on the event was a little stressful, but it was more than worth it to create a space “where for a day or two the community comes together and is united.” They even hope to bring the event back next year.